Monday, August 01, 2005

If I only had a brain...

If I only had a brain...
BELIEVE IT or not I am quite an intelligent woman. I have a plethora (see I even know how you use the word plethora) of letters after my name and somewhere in my house there is a nice little bundle of certificates proclaiming to all and sundry that I am a smart cookie.

I have always been academically minded. I was determined from a young age that I go to university and, after realising my degree qualified me to do absolutely nothing bar sign on the dole, I made it back to university to study for a Masters which would qualify me to sit here at this desk and write about all the goings on in this fair city.
I even got a First with my dissertation on the ethics of genetic research and my thesis on the portrayal of women in the modern media graces the library shelves of the University of Ulster to this day.
I'm not telling you all this to show off- merely to illustrate that once upon a time I had a brain. For now, it would appear that it has shrunken to a mere shadow of its former self.
I know they say pregnancy decreases your brain capacity- but I had expected some 18 months down the line to have rid myself of my baby brain tendencies and for normal service to have resumed.
Sadly, that is far from the case. My life is one perpetual gaff of forgetting important dates, misplacing important phone numbers and letting time run away with me so that invariably, I only remember that important appointment an hour after it was due to start.
This week has been exceptional. I found myself yesterday morning rushing to the shop beside the "Journal" to pour through their selection of birthday cards having forgotten it was my brother's birthday.
This may not seem like the worst crime in the world; but for me it was huge because I had always been the kind of person who bought birthday cards at the start of each month and had them all signed, sealed and ready to be delivered long before the big day arrived.
Now, however, you will generally find me staring at the last dog-eared card in shop (complete with dodgy picture of an old man fishing) in desperation as the clock edges closer towards party time.
Making a holy show of myself seems to have become my favourite past time. This week, in the course of being a professional journalist, I managed to delete an important email. Luckily with the help of some Internet research and a couple of quick prayers to St. Anthony I was able to track down the relevant information again.
There I was, armed with the relevant phone numbers, ready for a big interview and for some reason, I got caught up in another story and missed my time slot.
I'm only glad my unlucky interviewee couldn't see my face blazing as I mumbled my apologies down the phone.

Mad for post-its
Of course, most of the time I can handle my new found stupidity quite well. My desk often resembles an explosion in a Post-It factory with reminders stuck to every surface, and my daily diary is book-marked to within an inch of its life.
Birthdays, generally speaking (obviously there are exceptions), can be brought to my attention with the aid of a reminder programmed into my mobile phone and our fridge at home is a magnet-crazy bulletin board of appointment letters, rotas and self penned reminders.
But once upon a time I didn't need such things. I was the Queen of multi-tasking and my brain was veritable filo-fax of useful information- now it spends a good half hour trying to remember that the Bay City Rollers sang "Bye Bye Baby".
I can, of course, take extreme comfort in the fact that where the intellectual ramblings of Marx and DeBeauvoir once lived, now the words (and actions- they are very important don't you know!) of at least 100 nursery rhymes reside.
In fairness, I don't really do too much to help myself. My younger sister is what you would call a brainiac. She would, in fact, label herself a science geek (she even knows how to swear in Latin).
She permanently has her nose stuck in some heavy tome about the future genetics of the human race or some high brow novel about feminism or world politics.
She reads for pleasure the kind of books I only read under duress as part of my university course and instead of kicking her heels up in front of "Wife Swap" or "Holiday Showdown", she'll happily watch Panorama until worrying thoughts about old people are coming out of her ears.
She can still hold a rational conversation AND she too is a mammy which, I guess, kind of dismisses my theory that my own new found stupidity is related my child-bearing experience. She never seems to have those blips where her brain goes into melt-down and she spends 10 minutes trying to think of the word she wanted to say.
But I'm not a fan of highly intellectual reading and documentaries. I get enough of the news each day at work to want to bring it into my relaxation time as well. I'm happy as Larry with the latest chick lit adventure or a nice Romantic Comedy on DVD.
That is taxing enough for my wee brain to handle. All I can do is thank God they don't do a 10 yearly review to see if you are still worthy of the letters after your name. In years to come, when I'm in my dotage, the evidence will still be there for all to see that I was once actually quite not the dumbest girl on the block.

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