Tuesday, December 15, 2009

how my brain works

I was thinking this morning, as I couldn't quite figure out what side of the street my car was parked on, that there are certain ways my brain doesn't work. I'm serious about this. It's not a matter of working through, concentrating harder, breaking things into smaller, more manageable pieces to solve a problem (although I'm not great at that either), in some circumstances there's a wall. Or, even less, there's nothing.

I've been parking my car on the street in NYC for more than 2 years and for the life of me can't grasp which days I need to be on which side. A quick summary for those of you not tied into this alternate side life: you can't just park your car on the street and leave it indefinitely. That would be a very long driveway with little movement. The city likes to both give out parking tickets, which are $65 a pop and have clean streets as well. So, they clean on alternate days. Mondays and Thursdays they clean the north side, Tuesday and Thursdays the south. The street, in my neighborhood, has to be clear from 9-10:30. Wednesdays are free, you can stay put with no worries. It would seem, from those last couple of sentences, that I'd have a firm grasp of the parking rules. But no, I actually had to get out of my car to check a sign, increasing the crevices between my eyes as I squinted down the block.

I've thought about making a cheat sheet and carrying it in my bag, but am not quite sure how to effectively set it up so I'll know what it means. The thing that throws me off, every time, is that side streets in the city are one way, so while the north/south part remains constant, you're either moving east or west. I can't get around that to own the reality. And so, especially if I wasn't the last person to park the car, I never have a firm grasp what side it's on or where it needs to be.

I'm finding this same phenomenon with Iz and her math homework. I'm lost. I read a problem and can't begin to figure out how to solve it. I've got nothing. Except the phone numbers of who to call for help.

My brain works remarkably well in other ways. I've got ideas for projects left and right. I can multi-task with abandon. I can juggle an insane amount and know exactly what's going on with the multitude of stuff I manage. I can recall ridiculous facts that are both efficient from a work stand point and entertaining at a party. I'm really good at details, although these days I'm not remembering names. Honestly, I'm not really trying. With 2 kids in different schools, parents, teachers, administration, siblings, I realistically know I can't keep up and I'm ok with that. There are times, that are a bit scary, when I know I know a word, a movie, an actor, a place, but can't name it. I chalk that up to getting older, but fear dementia in a big way. Or even a small way. Losing my mind is a terrifying thought. There's some serious emotional instability in my family so those fears aren't completely far-fetched.

I've read that playing bridge is good for maintaining mental acuity, but I'm not a game person. Reading the paper, staying on top of current events helps, but to be honest, it's all so depressing these days, I'd rather remain relatively un-informed. I could take classes, challenge myself with new subjects, but I'm just holding on to what I've got now.

So, I'm accepting where I am, who I am, how my brain does and doesn't work and letting it be. Only when I can afford a garage, get a math tutor for Iz, and people wear name tags all the time will things change for the better.

1 comment:

Brian O'Mara-Croft said...

On any given day, my mind shuts off for hours at a time...you're not alone!