A few nights ago, as I walked through the house turning out lights in preparation for going to bed, I was anticipating reading a book I had just started when I noticed a song running through my mind:
“Calling out around the world
Are you ready for a brand new beat?”
I thought, “That’s strange!” I hadn’t heard that song for years. And then I walked into my bedroom and saw the title of the book I was planning to read: Ready for a Brand New Beat, How Dancing in the Street became the Anthem for a Changing America by Mark Kurlansky. It seems my mind has a mind of its own!
(This is a fascinating book, by the way. Did you know that 44 artists covered this song by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, including David Bowie and Mick Jagger? Do you remember that 1964, the year the song was a blockbuster hit, was also a blockbuster year? Not only is it the year I graduated from college (!), it is also the year the Rolling Stones and the Beatles took America by storm. It is the year the KKK burned down the Mount Zion Church, one of 20 churches burned that summer and three young civil rights workers were killed. It is the year that Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison. and the Civil Rights Act was signed. Race riots tore apart cities in New Jersey as well as Philadelphia and Harlem and Bedsford Stuyvesant in New York. The Warren Commission report said that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Congress gave President Johnson the right to go to war with North Viet Nam. And Ready for a Brand New Beat became the symbol of the times.)
But I digress. This blog is about the state of my mind – which, unfortunately, often goes off on tangents.
Not only does my mind choose, unbidden, appropriate music for me, but it also chooses to nap at the most inappropriate times. I am more and more at a loss for words; names, nouns, whole phrases disappear from my consciousness in the middle of a conversation. When this happens, I picture an ancient white metal file cabinet and hear the creaking sound of a drawer opening. A dozen files are picked through and thrown to the floor in the search for the word I am missing (which is probably why I won’t be able to find the next missing word.) And then suddenly the right file opens and the word pops into my mind. But the person I was talking to is long gone and the conversation has finished without my contribution.
My mind also misplaces objects and then my body cooperates by losing it. When something is missing at work, my administrative assistant (used to this by now) calmly takes my hand and says, “Let’s pray about it.” But this week as I hurried back up the steps to find something I had forgotten for a meeting, I said my own irreverent prayer, “God, I need this right now!” I had already looked in a few places including the waste basket, but I was prompted to look again. I pulled out a stack of papers and there, right in the middle, was the one I was looking for.
At home, my mind often misplaces my glasses, usually when I am late for work. My husband is enlisted in the search and grudgingly complies. (He can’t seem to grasp the concept that if I don’t have my glasses, I can’t see well enough to find my glasses.) But he usually finds them in just the right place, like under my recliner or on top of the refrigerator or in the basket with all the unread library books.
And then there are the things that my mind puts in the freezer instead of in the cupboard – like bowls and baking powder.
And the time my mind agreed with the Weed Man technician who writes nasty little notes on the invoice when he services our lawn, like “NEEDS DEEP WATERING.” The last time that happened my mind left the sprinkler on all night!