I often wonder if maybe I might be aphasic. Writing, this isn’t an issue. The words come to my fingers and I know how to self edit, but it’s the speaking, where my brain and my mouth seem fresh off a heated argument and all that remains is the chilly politeness that makes others uncomfortable. It makes me sounds a flakey when I speak and there are long pauses when I try to either find the word or phrase something properly, or worse still – try to remember the point I’m trying to make.
Once, when I was wee and no one really cared what I said, I used to talk very fast, so fast that people would make me repeat things. I taught myself to slow down. Unfortunately, my brain didn’t think I was talking to *it* , and while it runs ahead, frolicking and skipping topics, my mouth is back on a side road wondering if it’s possible to even get a GPS signal. When you ask me a question that should be simple, and I take longer than necessary to answer, if you could see the options that whiz by my mouth before I pluck one from the synapses and pray it’s not offensive and pray harder that it’s relevant, you’d probably stop talking to me.
Anyway, the point (my fingers sometimes lose the signal too, but at least they can keep up by a few miles)…
I went to the receptionist this morning to ask for some canned keyboard air, and even now I don’t know what it’s called. As the year winds down there is cleaning to be done, files safely digitally archived can be shredded, binders can be emptied, and I can get the crumbs out of the keyboard before they launch a rocket into orbit. I track her down to my old “office”, the training room where I spent all of my temping and the beginning of my direct work, as my own searches for the magical Antarctic Air were fruitless. I leaned in the door, opened my mouth – and completely forgot what I wanted to ask her. She has a new hair style and the hat she’s been wearing is very sharp. There was a box of supplies and in it was scotch tape, something I know they lock up this time of year as it tends to go home with people for gift-wrapping. She was turning on a computer and typed in commands. I though about all of these things in 1.2 seconds and buried deep under that pile of useless information was the query about the air. I rolled my eyes to the ceiling, sure the answer would be there, looking like I was trying to catch flies in the darkened room and she looked at me the way people who know me look at me when they know I want to say something and it will be a while before I get it out. Finally my brain came jogging back, handed my mouth a note and ran off.
“Do you have any of that keyboard – spray – you know – pschhhhhhh,” and with my hands I made a back and forth aerosol motion. If it has a name, my brain won’t tell me. If I looked like an idiot, I hoped I also looked too cute for it not to count against me.
With a wave that was as dismissive as it was directional, she said, “sure, there’s some on my desk.” She was probably grateful I wasn’t asking for tape because I would have never found the word for it while looking directly at it. I thanked her and quickly ducked out. There is power in being an Admin Assistant. Anyone who says different is just jealous.
So I promise you when I speak, I’m not slow or trying to be creepy when I stare. I was coasting in the draft of my brain when it suddenly hit the gas. Please bear with me.