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Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Brain

Photo by Daniele Oberti
Remember that Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson, with the kid who raised his hand and asked the teacher if he could be excused from class because his brain was full?
That’s me.
Summer vacation started a week ago Friday at 12:26 p.m., and my brain waved a white flag with the desperation of a mouse dipped in tuna juice serving cocktail shrimp at a cat convention. I’ve been holding too much together for too long, and I’m too done. I’ve got nothing left.
Exhibit A: Guess who I didn’t call last Sunday on Father’s Day? My father. I didn’t forget about Father’s Day. I helped my kids celebrate their dad all day long. THEIR DAD, who is my husband. But it wasn’t Husband’s Day. It was FATHER’S DAY. I love my father. And I went to bed that night with nary a phone call, not an email, not even an, “Oh crap! I forgot.” Nope. Not till Dad called me Monday afternoon did it dawn on me what a sucky little ingrate he has for a daughter.
I’m sorry, Dad. My birthday’s coming up. You have my permission to blow it off. I won’t say a word.
Summer Brain. That’s got to be it.
Earlier this week my daughter and I failed to attend her dentist appointment. I just breezed right by it, sitting on the couch with an iced tea in one hand and a novel in the other. I never do that. I’m Lady Prompt with Bells On. When the doctor’s office tells me to arrive fifteen minutes early to fill out paperwork, I get there fifteen minutes earlier than that, with the papers downloaded from the website, filled out and notarized, insurance and ID cards in hand. I am on top of everything all the time. Best compliment I ever got was when I overheard a friend tell someone, “If Maria said she’ll do it, you know it’ll get done. You can completely count on her.”
Summer Brain.
I suspect my mind has actually mutinied. My cell phone’s calendar program used to send me alerts half an hour before appointments. But it stopped doing that this week. I don’t know if my phone has joined in on the Rebellion of Irresponsibility, or if one of my other split-personalities changed the app’s settings in order to sabotage me. Us.
(Everyone hears the voices sometimes, right?)
People fall asleep at the wheel when they have cheated themselves of so much rest that their bodies and minds can no longer function. I believe this is what’s happened here. I have spent the last nine months juggling five schedules, three volunteer positions, twenty-one meals a week, thirty-seven field trip forms (I counted), ninety-six weekly school folders, and enough emergent crises to make Patton curl up in a fetal position, suck his thumb, and weep.
This is my brain at the beginning of the school year:
Photo by Zach Zupancic
This is my brain by the end of the school year:
Photo by YuMaNuMa
I am well and fully fried, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
So if you need something from me, don’t hold your breath. Questions like, “What’s for dinner?” and “Have you seen my bike helmet?” make me shake and speak in tongues while my eye twitches as though the San Andreas fault line runs between the bridge of my nose and my jaw. I’ll sort through the mail when it overflows the box and the mailman starts stuffing it between the doors. And if my voice mailbox says it’s full, then take the hint and stop calling me. Even if I’m there, I’m not there.
Summer Brain. It’s a thing, and I have it. If anyone is aware of a support group for this, let me know.
Like I could actually get myself anywhere on time. Good one, Maria. You’re hilarious.
Oh crap. I think I left one of the kids at the park… yesterday.
      I knew it was too quiet around here.


  1. Great writing! Loved it. The boxes representing your brain were perfect (not that I'm saying that's what your brain actually looks like). Ummm, I think I'm digging myself deeper and deeper. Always look forward to reading your Blog.

    1. Thanks, Leona! And yes, I'm pretty sure my brain looks a lot like the second picture right now.