What a terrible thing to have lost one’s mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is.
– Dan Quayle
Last week, I crossed an unwelcome Rubicon of sorts when I lost one of the kids’ library books. My best guess is that I absentmindedly shuffled it in with a pile of papers that went out with the recycling.
Now, for those folks who adhere to a zen, Pete The Cat-type philosophy of life, this is not a big deal – things come, things go, it’s all good.
For me, an anal-retentive-Type-A of the first order, it was mortifying. I have never in my life lost a library book before (I don’t even like returning them late), so for me this was a sign that I’m really losing my grip on things. I also felt like I let myself down in some vague, unspecified way, much the way I felt when I got my very first cavity in my 20s.
The good news, however, is that the urban myth I had heard at some point in my childhood and remembered ever since – that lost library books are phenomenally expensive to replace – turns out to be just that, a myth. Our bill was a whopping $3.99.
(Though kudos are in order for the grown-up who initially planted that seed in my tender brain long ago, leading me to treat library books like gold ever since…until now, that is.)
The librarian was amused when I told her that mom-brain had set in. My guess is that a) she has no kids, or b) her kids are old enough that some of those lost brain cells have started to regenerate.
My working theory is that everyone has just so much they can juggle at one time before they start to lose it. Given that I’m keeping my kids alive and well, my professional life humming, and my marriage solid (if not super-energized – occasionally we’re up past 9 pm!), there’s really not a lot of room for much else. Should you ever drop by for tea, you’ll notice that I’m not investing a lot of time in my vacuuming; that big fluffy thing in the corner is not Brodie, but a world-class dust bunny.
Even my subconscious is completely out of whack. A few nights back, I had a very vivid dream that they were planning to build an Oscar Mayer theme park behind our house. Dream Eric was angry, but not at all surprised: “Have you looked at a property map lately? That whole area is just open acreage prime for development.” In the dream, apparently, the fact that there was a chain of theme parks devoted to highly processed luncheon meat was not at all surprising.
(It was also not surprising, in the dream, that there were vast undeveloped acres behind our house. In real life, our house abuts a road and a landlocked submarine – but that’s a post for another day.)
The next day, real-life Eric was amused and appalled in equal measure. “Only you would manage to make a crazy dream like that revolve around food in some way. Were you excited to take a ride on the Bologna Cups?”
I had actually been thinking more about a roller coaster up Mustard Mountain, but a spin on the Bologna Cups sounded pretty fun, too. I may be losing my mind, but at least I’m still me.