Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Weather and My Brain

It’s Wednesday morning, 11:04 am – naptime. I’m listening to Brahms and Leisure Cruise and drinking coffee. The house is completely quiet and I have my bedroom window open – it’s plus 3! With a 30% chance of rain! 

I love it. 

People always complain when weather is the topic of conversation, don’t they? 

“All we ever talk about is the weather; I hate small talk.” 

“She mentions the weather all the time. We know it’s cloudy, we have windows.” 

“I live in Scotland; I do not care what the weather’s like in Saskatchewan.” 

But the thing is: if I’m telling you it’s cloudy, rainy, and above zero, what I’m actually telling you is that I feel very comfortable, cozy, happy, optimistic, content, like today is going to be good and fun and magical, like anything sad is only sad in a movie-type, romantic way, not in a reality-type, tragic way, and like my head is clear enough to write stuff down instead of sitting here stewing over a blank page.  

That’s not small talk at all, now is it?  

You don’t even want to know what it means when I tell you that it’s -40 and snowing. 

Anyway, I can tell you stuff that isn’t weather related, if you want. I’ll tell you a story about my brain. 
Last week, Dr. Coffee (a cool little coffee shop downtown with a play area for kids) celebrated World Poetry Day by offering a Pay With a Poem option. I went with Robyn, and used a little poem I’d written about an empty coffee cup. 

It’s funny; as I was walking out the door that morning, I had a moment of nothing-induced panic. This is not unusual – my brain likes to get all worked up over silly things. What if, I thought, some TV station wants to talk about this Poetry Day thing on the news tonight? What if they come to Dr. Coffee right when we’re there and ask us to read our poems for the camera?

I hate public speaking, so I started worrying about that, and about my poem and about my unwashed hair and about how my voice sounds on TV – all stuff that most people don’t generally worry about when they’re going for coffee with a friend. But welcome to my brain. This is how my brain works. It makes up a hypothetical situation, presents it to itself as something that is ABSOLUTELY GOING TO HAPPEN, and then starts losing its mind over it. My friends are always tell me to stop doing this, but I can’t. Partially because these hypothetical situations keep coming true.

I arrived at Dr. Coffee, said my poem to the barista, and sat down with Robyn. We’d been there for maybe 10 minutes when the CBC news crew pulled up. They came in and talked to the barista for a minute and she pointed at us and they came over and asked us to read our poems for the camera. My suspicions were confirmed: everything I worry about in life WILL happen.  

I’m starting to wonder if I have a special kind of brain that remembers the future instead of the past (please hum the Twilight Zone theme song to yourself here). 

Thankfully, Robyn had enough calm and confidence for both of us, and I had to admit, afterward, that it was fun and not actually all that scary. This is, possibly, also a good thing to keep in mind when worrying over hypothetical-but-will-probably-happen situations. We listened to ourselves reading our poems in their entirety on The Afternoon Edition later that day and texted each other excitedly and it was like that scene in That Thing You Do when The Oneders first hear their song on the radio and freak out. It was exactly like that.