23 July 2008

It is functional. Barely.

Lately, my mind is a lemon. Sour, puckery and inanimate. Also, it is akin to a lemon in the automotive sense. It's not working right, and I think there might have been something wrong with it from the get go because it's constantly giving me trouble.

Because my brain is not working right, I have wanted to go to bed for the evening since 3:30 this afternoon. I've had more than an adequate amount of sleep and I wasn't particularly tired. But my brain was telling me that it had had enough for the day and it was time for lights out. I made it a quesadilla and turned on the television, but it still wasn't enough. I strained to stay awake because the post it note that said, "Dad. Birthday. Choir practice. Call @ dinnertime," had been staring at me for almost a week, and I thought I could at least stay up for an obligatory phone call. After the call, I took a walk around the neighborhood. Instead of my usual walk adgenda* I went out for the sole purpose of staying up to a reasonable hour.

It's been an exhausting week. Not because I've done anything. I haven't. It just so happens that simple things, like brushing my teeth, render me useless for the rest of the day. To complicate matters, I have no attention span, problems concentrating and virtually no short-term memory. As one might imagine, this makes it hard to just about anything that requires more than about 15 seconds of my time.

My attempts at reading (usually one of my favorite pastimes) is a good example of my malfunctioning gray matter. I've read the first three sentences of the book Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart at least 30 times. It takes me more than 2 minutes to finish reading them because I get distracted by punctuation marks, or the way a letter looks on a page, or a nagging ache in my left pinky toe. Even though I've read this fragment dozens of times over, I cannot for the life of me tell you what it said. It just does not stick.

At least I can write off my brain troubles as melancholia. Too much black bile. And my brain candy is circulating at "sub-theraputic serum levels" until my doctor gets back from vacation. This is fine with me, because I secretly enjoy the look on peoples' faces when I tell them I am on a break from reality. I think this look is best described as a mixture of confusion and envy.

I cannot, however, justify the behavior of my four year old laptop. Sure, I've dropped my Shakespeare anthology on it a few times. But I thought that just jostled loose the y key and up/down arrows. Nothing major, right? Maybe not.

For months now I've been putting up with a computer that is having issues that seem to parallel my own brain issues in a disconcerting way. I asked one person who said, "Oh, it sounds like the power supply." I spoke to some Seattle-based friends who are tech savvy enough to have a homemade computer that they refer to as a "box" and they thought my woes were more likely to do with my hard drive. I have a sneaking suspision they are correct.

First, my battery would not charge. No big deal. I might not be as mobile, but I don't have to worry about running out of juice (just accidentally yanking the cord loose). But the real issue is that I have a fan that turns on and will not turn off. While this fan is running, everything moves at a snail's pace and I cannot do anything. I never know when the fan will go on. It could be a couple of hours, it could be a few seconds. (Speaking of the devil!) I do know that once it goes on, it will come back on in rapidly decreasing intervals.

I deal with this by putting the computer to sleep for a bit, then turning it back on and resuming what I was doing. This is because it always happens when I'm in the middle of something. Like writing a blog post. Or replying to the "Are you dead yet?" emails from my family. Or watching a video of my friend's trip to the park with her baby.

This problem means that that 5:15 video of friend and kiddo takes 17:34 to watch. And that's only counting the time when the computer is actually on and running properly. I am not sure whether this is a testament to my patience or to my lack of sanity.

In any case, the problem seems too close for comfort to my brain problems. And unlike the good book that I have to stop reading because it seems too close to my reality**, I can't just put it to rest until I feel better. I fear that this is a problem that can only be remedied by chucking the old an replacing it with a new model.

I just hope that's not the answer for my brain troubles.

*Typical walk agenda includes one or more of the following: admire houses, find a nice place to read, pet kitties, spend money.
** The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Destined to be one of my favorites for all time, if I can ever finish the bloody thing.


Cuttlefish said...

Let me know when you finish "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle". I read it and I'm not sure what to make of the impression it left on me. I'd love to pick your brain and compare notes. I have every confidence that the "lemon" you call your brain actually isn't as dysfunctional as you suggest and any nugget of thought that comes out of it will be as refreshing and sought after as a lemon juice bar on a sunny CA summer day =)

k. crow said...

I'll keep you posted if I can successfully sleuth out to whom I owe a "thanks for your vote of confidence." I love talking about books.