Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No, I was wrong this is meta

I don't know if I've talked about this before. Probably.

Pony Express has this little conversation starter about what the inside of one's head is like. It all started at a store on Canal Street. I can't remember the name of it, Canal Plastics maybe? No that wasn't it. Anyway, it was this store with stuff in it, just bins and bins and shelves and buckets of things. Plastic jiggers, metal doohickeys and the occasional wooden thingamajig. These bits and bobs were not alphabetized, they were not organized by color, they had not been neatly arranged in size order. It was a big store full of stuff flung everywhere but full of magic and wonder with everything you need in there to save the world. Pony Express walked in there one day and realized all of a sudden that being in this store was what it would be like to be inside the brain of our friend, Garboil. And she's right. Scary, in the coolest of ways.

After that she started thinking about what the inside of her brain was like and asking people about the insides of theirs. She gives a great description of the harried little man who runs the desk full of scrap paper that is her brain. I don't want to ruin it for you, if you meet her ask her yourself.

When she first asked me my initial reaction was, "View Master." I do this thing, like when I'm trying to remember how to get some place where I can see certain photos, certain parts of the journey but I'm often missing crucial transitions. Even as I said it I knew that wasn't quite right. It was close but it wasn't everything. It accounted for the directions and it accounted for my love of lists (number the points, don't miss anything) and whatnot but it wasn't quite right.

Fast forward about three years and the answer came to me (like a click from the View Master) today. This may not make sense to anyone who doesn't know my mom but the very fact of the knowledge that it was wrong and the three year gap and the zap of information proves that I am my mother.

I was standing halfway between my desk and the fax machine holding a bunch of papers and trying to decide whether to wait for the fax or go ask the receptionist something and I remembered something that one of my bosses needed to know so I told him. This sort of thing happens sometimes. There's all this stuff that goes on in an office, people mention stuff and you start balls rolling and there are deadlines or other people that need to get back to you so you wait and then all of a sudden some piece of information will surface. I'll hear in my head, "Did you check the certified mail?" "Where is that lunch?" "Are we out of petty cash?" It's scary because I suck at writing everything down and I don't have a foolproof method of tracking information so nothing falls through the cracks. My brain, however, often saves me at the last possible moment. My brain has been known on occasion to pull a Superman and turn the earth backwards to turn back time so I can fix something before it goes wrong. I don't know how it does this, or I didn't until today, and that scares me a little. I mean, it's memory essentially and memory eventually loses its elasticity.

Today, though, as this important piece of information popped up just when it was needed and wanted without my trying to recall it, I got the picture in my head of what my brain looks like.

My brain is a personal assistant.

She's a late 20s - early 30s spinster type. She's very blonde, about 5 feet tall and she wears fashionable but extremely conservative suits. When I saw her at first she was wearing a sort of baby/cornflower blue tweedy sort of suit. Of course she has glasses, black rimmed, almost cat's eyes and they hang from a chain around her neck. She's always carrying things with her - steno pad, files, pen, pencil, car vouchers, phone messages - and she's standing at my elbow waiting for the exact moment when I need some piece of information. About 30 seconds before I need the information, and probably 40 seconds before I think to ask for it, she lifts whatever it is out of her armload of things and hands it to me. If it's serious, she taps me on the shoulder and looks disapprovingly over her glasses. Occasionally she screws up. You can see a couple of hairs escaping her tight chignon when that happens and she apologizes profusely but usually she knows what she's doing.

She thinks she's better than me. She's kind of a controlling bitch. Sometimes she holds on to shit that she's decided I don't need to know yet. Sometimes I think I might have used some of that information earlier. A lot earlier. But you know, then she saves my ass by reminding me to call a car service about 5 minutes before my boss asks me to and I know I can't fire her. It's a tough market, I'm not going to find anyone as good as her.

What's the inside of your brain like?


  1. Wow. That is so cool. So meta, so well-described. I hope no desperate for a college admission essay high school seniors read your blog, because poaching that would get them into University of Choice in a heartbeat. I am in awe. You may have made my day, but it is still early.

    Crap, now I have to think about the inside of MY brain and the bar is way to high.

  2. too high

    Too many of you English types read this for me to let that go.

  3. It's not about writing skills it's about imagination, of which you have PLENTY.

  4. Anonymous11:47 AM

    Coming to you, as always, from suburban hell, where the inside of a man's brain is mirrored in the inside of his garage. In my case: An over-stuffed wreck. Lots of things with wheels and blades. Toys, toys, toys. A box of firestartes for the fireplace. An axe. Scarecrow for the garden. Another for halloween. There is a crack in the window, and it's drafty. An ever-so slight smell of gasoline. Piles of my word verification--"mubwx" Nothing to worry about.~,:^)

  5. I think the question of what the inside of your head looks like is a tremendous question for college essay writing as it cuts right to where a person exists. I love this! I think I will meditate on it and try to figure out what could be seen if my mind was projected on a screen.

    I suspect there would be scraps of paper and yellow stickies on an overcrowded bulletin board, piles of books, cds, movies, and a photo of my mother that yells at me to get on with it.

    This exercise is a perfect vehicle into self-therapy!