Just Let the Zombies Have It
Let ‘em have my brain. It’s malfunctioning and possibly plotting against me anyway.
I don’t understand the mysteries of the human brain. Like a lot of other mysterious things out there, I’m mostly okay with not understanding. If I knew too much about brains I might be frightened by all of the intricacies and the immense possibility for disaster.
More than once, however, I’ve been taken aback by the sheer volume of useless information I retain. And the stunning contrast to how poorly I retain current, necessary facts. It happened again this week, so now I’m considering unraveling a bit of the mystery behind my mind(lessness).
My latest run-in with useless trivia occurred Monday night. I was going about household business: getting kids to bed; starting a load of laundry; avoiding the dinner dishes, hoping that if I waited long enough Mark would appear and tackle them for me. (Which he did. I win!)
Once Mark was stationed at the sink, washing away, I started telling him about my day. This is a bad habit of mine; I pick inopportune times to get chatty. At this particular moment I was in the laundry room, with my back to Mark, who was many feet away (How many? I don’t know that kind of stuff. It was more than four feet, less than a football field.). My guess: he heard an eighth of what I said.
That information is not too germane to the story, come to think of it. The pertinent stuff starts… now.
Just as I say something wildly inappropriate for young ears, something likely about sex, or drugs, or the parent-teacher conference we attended earlier that day, I turn around, nearly knocking over H. He’s our almost five-year-old who moves like a ninja after 7:30 p.m. Prior to bedtime, that child has two volumes: Loud and H For the Love of God Can You Take It Down a Notch My Ears Are Bleeding. But when the clock strikes 7:30, he becomes spirit-like, floating about the house in deathly silence.
I narrowly miss stepping on him. I gasp, so he gasps, and for a moment we just stand there, looking stunned. When we finally speak, it turns out he’s had a bad dream. And because I love him so much, I decide not to point out that his story seems unlikely, as he has not yet been asleep. If I did take that route, he would just badger me with, “Yes, I WAS asleep, and how do you know I wasn’t asleep? Were you in my room? How were you in there without me seeing you? I did fall asleep, Mom, I did. Really. And it upsets my feelings that you don’t believe me.”
To avoid that, I hug him, tell him he’s safe and suggest that he return to his room and try to sleep, wink-wink, again. I then continue the pick-up, put away, stash in a cabinet dance that I do every day. But now I stay quiet, saving my grown-up talk for later, when I’m certain all the small ears are asleep.
After a few minutes, I become aware that I’m alternately humming and singing the words, “Just when you think you’re all by yourself, you’re not.”
It doesn’t take a therapist to know why those words occurred to me. In case you’re having a rough day and can’t make the connection: I thought Mark and I were alone, so I was running my mouth without utilizing my internal editor. After the fact, my subconscious bubbled to the surface a song about being alone.
But here’s the thing. I expect most people’s subconscious would have rustled up Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now.
Right? That is such an obvious choice.
The tune that comes to my mind, though? It’s the Kate & Allie theme song. I was unaware that the Kate & Allie theme song maintained a residence in my brain.
I did watch that show. In fact, I loved it so much that:
A) I decided if I ever got divorced that I would search out an identical living arrangement. How wrong is that? I was planning for a divorce at age 10.
B) I wanted to change my last name to Saint-Something. I thought Susan Saint James was the coolest name. I still think it’s cool. I may see what Mark thinks about legally adding a Saint to our name.
But adoration for the show aside, I was baffled by the resurfacing of its theme song. Where do I store crap like this? Why can I serenade you with a mash up of The Facts of Life, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Alice, The Fresh Prince of Bellaire and – apparently – Kate & Allie?
Why, when I am in constant danger of forgetting this week’s appointments, can I bore you to tears with 80′s sitcom trivia?
This begs a pretty big question about the inner workings of our brains. It makes me wonder about how we store information. Why do some things remain three decades later, while other things can’t stick around for even a few days?
I’m going to look into this. If you have some knowledge in this area, please let me know. Assuming I don’t forget all about this the minute I hit the “publish” button, I vow to meet you back here next week with some answers.
:: What kinds of useless information to have floating around in your head?
:: Do you make grocery lists and forget to take them to the store?
:: Have you ever wished your name was a bit cooler, more memorable? Would it be really weird for me to add a Saint now?