Sunday, June 27, 2010

Busy brain

Yesterday a friend took Snuggler and Little Guy to an event elsewhere in the city for most of the day. Dancer had a sleepover, followed by a ballet class, and wasn't expected home until about 2:30. Suddenly, unexpectedly, I had a decent-size block of time to myself.

After about two hours of working intensely, I decided to do some errands. Here is what was on my shopping list:
  1. Plaster of Paris. Little Guy wants to start a business making sidewalk chalk to sell at the playground.
  2. Masking tape, for the whole-wall marble run Little Guy is building from salvaged toilet paper tubes. 
  3. A birthday present for a 6-year old boy.
  4. Liquid glycerin. I'd promised the kids a few gallons of bubble liquid, so we could experiment with 3-D shapes with our Zome Tools. (This kit makes an awesome birthday present, though it's hard to find in stores.) I couldn't find liquid glycerin, so I bought suppositories and dissolved them in hot water before mixing in the Dawn and cold water. It worked.
  5. Grout, for some falling-off bathroom tiles. Again.
  6. Odds and ends from the drug store for Dancer's upcoming journey to sleepaway camp.
Once my errands were completed -- alone! without complaints! -- I realized I still had half an hour before anyone was due to arrive home. This never happens. Never. I went into a Starbucks, and guiltily spent nearly $4 on a Frappucino. I didn't have a book. I didn't have a laptop. I didn't have anyone to talk to or tend to. And what do you think happened?

Did I think about all the things I haven't had time to think about? No.

Did I pray about the things I haven't had time to pray about? No.

Did I relax and let the tension pour off of me? No. I sat and listened to my brain, and it sounded for all the world like channel surfing. I'd have half a thought, and then half another one, and half of a third. No one idea stayed put long enough to be pursued. It was the mental equivalent of a game the kids and I play on the subway: Twenty Nonsequiturs. Get me outta here!

Abandoning my precious seat in the air conditioning, I went outside and walked quickly, sticky in the heat. I arrived home to find Dancer already here. I sat down to do some more work, and felt myself pushing away one kind of mental noise after another. But at least I knew it wasn't someone else's fault. It wasn't that the kids were interrupting (though they often do). It wasn't that the phone was ringing (though it often does). I didn't have to go somewhere, or do something, or get more chores done. It was simply my overstimulated brain.

Somehow, I found that rather comforting.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like my brain on bedtime. It's always a serious effort to get it to stop chasing its own tail.