Saturday, November 13, 2004


Occasionally I go into a "fugue state". It has nothing to do with growing older, because I have been that way all of my life. That's why, when I put something on the stove to brown, it is very apt to turn out black, as I blissfully peruse a newspaper or drift into thought. It also explains why I miss the driveways I am aiming for, sailing right by them as I commune with myself.

I do silly things. Sometimes I try to dial a number on the television remote. Or I try to unlock my house with the Keyless Lock from my car. That is because my mind is never settled upon the mundane things in life, but is engaged in figuring out the intricacies of human existence. While others concentrate on frying a porkchop, I am pondering the possibility of aliens in outer space or wondering why ladybugs have dots on their backs.

I think I inherited this quality from my father, who once got out of bed at six in the evening, showered, shaved and went to work. This thing is, his job started in the A.M. He also used to shave with toothpaste instead of shaving cream, little things like that that he grumbled and mumbled about, but were just a part of his being.

One time I remember, while driving my car, I was reflecting on some human situation or other, when I suddenly looked around me and realized I was lost. Not only that, I couldn't remember where I was supposed to be going. It took me several seconds to recall my errand and to recognize the buildings and street corners in the area. Every one of us has the experience of walking into a room, then standing there wondering what on earth we came into the room to do. But, in my case, this experience is just one of many.

For one thing, I cannot remember names. I not only cannot remember names, but I can't remember the people attached to the names. I recognize the faces, but that's it. Anything else is lost to me.

Now, when you are in a mall and someone says, "Hi, Herma. How are you? How are the kids?", it is very difficult to say, "I don't remember you at all." It could very well turn out to be a relative. So, as a result, I have conversed with people for a half-hour, never letting on that I haven't a clue as to their identity. I keep hoping they will drop some hint that will give me a name to attach to the face, but this seldom happens. Usually, they walk away and I am left to utter a weak "Good to see you again" and to realize that I will not sleep that night as I ponder the problem of just who in tarnation that could have been.

It's not that I am absent minded, even though I could be described as such, it is just that life has loaded me down with so many details I cannot possibly handle them all. Just getting into a car and driving away may be easy for some, but for me it takes on the proportions of an expedition to the Antarctic. I have to remember my purse, my coat, the letters I want to post, the dog, the bill I want to pay, the bottles I want to return, the registration that came in the mail. My mind is cluttered with humdrum little duties that I must handle, while instead, it keeps soaring into territory best confined to symposiums and auditoriums, such as "Should Gays Marry?" or "Where did Ash Borers come from?"

You can't handle boring trivia and silly minutia when your mind is pondering questions relevant to the survival of animal and plant life on this planet and when the human race is teetering on the brink unless you think matters through. That's why I am always amazed to meet people who are actually organized. They balance their checkbooks, total those figures, file papers...not in a scattered, impossible to locate fashion like I do, but in neat piles, and they actually enjoy all this. They are very strange people, indeed.

Think of it! There are actually people who send off those Warranty Papers on appliances, and jot down such things as the registration number on washing machines and toasters, as well as saving sales slips. There are people who can FIND their car's registration. The one and only time a policeman ever stopped me in the past ten years, I went through such a flurry of paper to find my registration, even he gave up and said, "Oh, forget it!"

It's not that I don't try to be organized. I have the soul of a bookkeeper in the body of a slob. I jot down telephone numbers and important information on envelopes, then almost always lose the envelopes. I write down phone numbers, but fail to mention just whose number it is. I put things away in special places where I will be sure to find them, then promptly forget where that special place is...and have to ransack the house to locate the item I am seeking. While I am doing this, I usually do not find what I am looking for, but I do find what I was ransacking the house to find last week. It never fails.

Nothing helps a cluttered mind like mine. I buy notebooks and jot down appointments and details, then lose the notebook. I can't find my calendar. I live in a state of mindless confusion, walking a paper trail filled with mountainous piles of various debris, old bills, new bills, letters, notes, memos, bank statements, documents, pictures, posters, etc. I have thought that I may have to move every few years before the papers suck the oxygen out of the place and smother me completely.

Folks like me need a secretary.... or a keeper, I am not sure which. If I could just stop crumpling receipts into my coat pocket along with a wad of Kleenex and one glove (I always lose the other one), I would be happy. It is difficult to constantly try to think through the problems of humanity when I can't even find the receipt for that loaf of bread.

Blogger Becky said...

With so much on your mind, I feel obligated to help you take one thing off from it.

Ponder no more! I will tell you why ladybugs have spots!

Like many insects that are brightly colored, the ladybug tastes bad to predators. Since the ladybug feeds on aphids that are usually found on the tops of leaves, they can be easily spotted by would-be predators. Surely a few lady bugs have lost their lives as birds or dragonflies taste them, but they've done so in order to assure that their relatives can happily munch on aphids without threat of predation.

Typically Red, Black, and Yellow are colors that warn predators that an insect is poisonous or foul tasting, by being red with black spots, as you've probably put together by now, the ladybugs have a pretty good defense system.

The spots also help us identify them, each species of ladybug has a different number of spots, in Michigan we usually see the 7 spotted ladybug, though in recent years the Asian ladybugs have been taking over and yes, they bite.

There, now you can ease your mind just a little, I wish I could help, but you're on your own with the alien question!

9:57 PM  

Post a Comment