Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Good Thinking

Good Thinking
By Allison Adams 03-17-13 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 03-17-13

As we begin to age, I think it’s only natural to occasionally worry that our minds are beginning to go.

It’s a frightening thing when you realize that your elevator takes longer to get all the way up to the top floor, if you get my drift.

We all know that the mind is a tool that needs to be sharpened.

I, for one, take sharpening very seriously.

I faithfully work the crossword and I watch Jeopardy every day, except on Sunday.

In recent months some things have happened that make me think I may be over-doing it a little.

Let me explain…

The other day, a friend called and asked me if I’d had a chance to copy a recipe she’d and send it to her, like she had requested I do a week or so earlier.

“Well, of course I did!” I said, emphatically. 

I was dumbfounded that she hadn’t received it because I distinctly remembered doing it.  Distinctly.

“I emailed it to you”, I said to her. 

“I didn’t get it”, she insisted.

Naturally, I assumed it had just vanished into thin air, as electronic mail is sometimes prone to do.

But when I went digging through my “Messages Sent” file on my computer, I found no trace of it.

That’s when I knew that this was another instance where I distinctly remembered doing something – distinctly – and … I may have even started to do it, and got distracted, but in my mind since I started to do it I really did it, but in truth I didn’t really do it all. 

Clear as mud?

I sought counseling from my husband because his thinker is impeccable. 

(I know this because he tells me so.) 

Anyhoo, I clearly explained the whole sordid mess and he said …

“So, you forgot to do it.”

“No.  No.  I didn’t forget to do it.  I thought I did it.  But it turned out I didn’t really do it.”

“You just thought you did it.”

“Precisely.  In some cases I think about what I need to do and I get started doing something that may take, say, five or six steps from start to finish to complete – and I might make it through the second step, but then I’ll notice a pretty bird outside my window and that’s the end of that.”

“So you’re very easily distracted and you don’t finish your task.”

“But I feel like I’ve finished the task, because I thought it out – you know?”

“Are you saying you hallucinated?”

“I most certainly am not.  I’m saying that I visualized myself doing it – whatever the task was.”

“And your visualization was so real that you couldn’t distinguish between fantasy and reality?”

“Well when you put it that way it makes me sound like I hallucinated.”

“I think I just said that.”

“I prefer to describe myself as an overactive thinker.  I think I’ve been sharpening my tool a little too often.  I might need to lay off the crossword puzzles.”

“Oh, yeah.  That’ll help.”

“You know, I think that often I concentrate so hard on what I need to do that I put myself in that zone.  You know that zone?” 

“The Twilight Zone?”

“No – The Zone.  The zone where highly aware people like me go when we have the propensity to concentrate on something with great intensity.”

“Until you get distracted by a pretty little birdie outside your window.”


“Your mental phenomenon explains why I had to dig a clean undershirt out of the dryer again this morning.”

“I thought I folded that load of whites.”

“Is this why we got a late notice from the water company?”

“I thought I mailed that check.”

“Did you even write that check?”

“I thought about writing that check.”

“How do you explain the fact that after you let our magazine subscription lapse, we now receive two copies of Garden & Gun every month?”

“I overcorrected.  Obviously.”

“Are you going to write a column about this?”

“I think I will, but we won’t know for sure if I really did until the newspaper comes out on Tuesday.”

“Are you going to the grocery store soon?”

“In my mind, I’m already there.”

“I’ll go ahead and call for Chinese take-out.”

“Good thinking.”