Sometimes when I sit introspectively and review the conversations of the day in my head, I think, “Why didn’t I acknowledge when Sally told me that she was in love with Jack? I just sat there and then changed subjects. Why the heck did I do that? And now I’m remembering that she looked at me funny when I didn’t acknowledge that. WTF?” So I think it all stems from some dormant brain problem that is slowly surfacing as I get further into my thirties. I sometimes think that I shouldn’t have gone into photography as a career. All I really have to do all day is look at pretty pictures or ugly pictures and make them prettier or throw them away. It’s maybe the equivalent of that job that Laverne and Shirley had at the bottling factory, watching bottles float by on a conveyor belt and sometimes sticking a glove on one of the bottles so that you don’t shoot your coworkers.
So in order to slow down the mental self-immolation that is to come, I do little mental games with myself in the hopes that if I keep challenging my brain, it will be the equivalent of working out everyday and eventually my brain will be cut with 4% body fat, so to speak. So what I do is, I play tricks on myself. For example, I deliberately don’t change one or two of my clocks when Daylight Savings Time comes. That way, every time I look those clocks, I think, “Don’t forget to subtract one hour!” I also deliberately put my contacts in the wrong side of the case so that when I see the big green R, I know that it’s the left contact. Of course, the trick is to be inconsistent; i.e. only put your contacts in the wrong cup sometimes. And I’ve changed most of my clocks over, just not all of them. The challenge is to remember which clocks! Sometimes I get bold and deliberately leave my keys in the middle of the living room rug, leaving myself a mental Post-It. Unfortunately, if I haven’t manically checked my calendar for the next day and wake up an hour past when I am supposed to for some location photo shoot, the adhesive on my mental Post-Its melts away and I’m left running around the house looking for my keys, or even more amusing, I leave the house without my keys because I’ve already picked up everything from that spot where my keys, wallet, other keys, knife and ID badge are always stored. It’s super-fun to walk into work, go to swipe in and find that my ID badge is at home face-palming.
The other day, I had an amusing breakdown in the mental process when I left my cellphone on the rear wing on my car because I remembered that I had to check my oil. Part of the mental breakdown process is that if I unexpectedly remember anything, than something else has to go. There is, after all, only space for two thoughts at a time in my head and the first was taken up by, “Don’t drive away with the fuel hose still plugged into the side of the car.” Other amusing problems are when I re-read an email I’m writing to a friend and I see that every paragraph starts with, “Anyway, …” That leads me to change out the word anyway with a word that is equally inconsequential and full of segue-ness, instead of rewriting the structure of the whole dang thing. My friends reading this are probably now understanding why I sometimes write, “Then it so happens,” and, “In conclusion.”