1.21.2011

From Trap to Sieve

I have always prided myself in having a good memory.  I could remember obscure details and useless facts better than most people I knew.  This talent served me well in school.  I could remember not just facts, but generally where they had been located on the page I read them, making open book tests much easier.  Such as, that was in a footnote, so I only need to look at the bottom of the pages.

It turned out that this talent was also useful in law school, as I could remember facts from cases really well.  When I had worked as a legal assistant and accompanied by boss to trial, I could pull relevant exhibits before he requested them, because I knew what was in them all and roughly what they had been numbered.

My boss told me that he had once been that way, but it had changed after taking the bar exam.  This was a refrain I heard from multiple practicing attorneys.  I would listen and nod, but internally I believed myself immune.  They just didn't know how really great my recall was.

Well, lo and behold, after the massive brain dump that is the bar exam, I noticed that I started having problems thinking of specific words.  They were words I knew and should have been able to easily recall, but I would grope for them.  I felt like an idiot.  I also found myself mixing up words when I would speak.  I began to call my cats by the wrong name.  It was bizarre, but mostly a nuisance.

Then came pregnancy.  The memory seemed to get worse.  Phil's cousin Marsha described this to me as the "brain/uterine shunt."  All the brain cells go to the baby, never to return.  Sure enough, more things began to slip past me.  Well, I thought to myself, I'm only pregnant 9 months, then I can recover.

As it turns out, this is not the case.  I now suffer from baby brain.  And, of course, this condition is exacerbated by being tired--the perpetual state of being for parents.  Just this morning, the concept of "guest room" was beyond me as I tried to tell Phil where his laundry was currently located.

So, having watched my brain turn to mush, and my memory slip from trap to sieve, I now understand why adults, particularly parents, always seemed to repeat themselves, tell the same story over and over, misstate or use the wrong word, or have trouble recalling simple words.  I will never again make fun of my parents when they call me by one of my siblings' names or look horrified when an attorney misspeaks during oral argument.  Now that I have joined their ranks.

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