Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sky: Wear and Tear

More signs of wear and tear on those well-trodden nerve highways up there…

Up there? Where?

In my brain of course…

OK, take this phrase:

“Not unlikely east of the Green Mountains.” 

Part of a basic Vermont weather forecast, right?

Well, I can actually remember a time not long ago when I understood this phrase in a different way than I do now. Before, it was just a simple, descriptive comment that made perfect sense, no big deal. Now, I find myself unfolding my personal mental map almost every time I hear it. I orient the map, pointing east the correct way, and work out the “uns” and “nots.” Then I’m able to see the meaning behind the phrase and move along.

I don’t know the neuro-scientific explanation for my internal map project, but it really does feel like my carefully constructed ways of moving and arranging  information efficiently inside my brain now need some major re-grooving.

The good news is I’ve been mostly successful, though often slower so far, at deciphering this strange language. “East of the Greens” now takes under 3 seconds. Not bad.

Bad news is (again) that this is as good as it will get from here on. Sadly, it becomes easier and easier to imagine a time when I won’t be able to make sense of it at all.

And, when that time comes, I just hope that no one suggests that I hop in the car!!

How about:

“There is nothing that is not out of the ordinary about this.”

Anybody else have any good ones?


  1. Sky, you explain your internal map project so well. I hope some neurologists can read it and use it as a model as I expect other people experience processing in much the same way. But people should actually NOT be speaking in such convoluted ways. This makes me think of a speech the dean of Harvard's Grad School of Ed made recently. He was talking about essential questions we all should ask to help us understand each other better. One question comes from a scenario of a parent talking to a teenager. The parent is droning along, the teenager is half listening then suddenly the parent says something of interest and the teenager responds, "Wait, what?" The dean's point is that this question could help all of us, even when we feel we are paying attention. It tells the speaker we need more information or we need it explained in a different way. So if I hear someone say something as convoluted as "There is nothing that is not out of the ordinary about this." and I want to hear more I can say, "Wait, what?" MY

    1. MY, I totally agree that there is way too much high falutin puffery out there, Most of it is about showing off, or trying to impress/intimidate. You've got a promising strategy there to cut through the ego and get to the gist of what people are trying to say. I can't wait to try it! When Alzheimers comes into the conversation there can be a whole new twist because people with AD may process information at a slower speed...or, may not. In any case "Wait, what?" can be a good tool to adjust the pace of the conversation so that it will work for both people. It's kind of amazing when people sense they are not being understood, will pick up the pace and talk FASTER!