I used to believe that I spoke and had thought processes like other people. I would ruminate something, I would say it out loud, the other person would reply and there you have it! Conversation. So imagine, to my chagrin, when suddenly my friends and (most) family members could not understand me. They would tilt their head to one side and stare at me, quite perplexed. It was like I was speaking a foreign language. I would then continue to explain my thought process, step by step, and then they would open their mouths slightly and melodiously say, “ohhhhhh,” whilst nodding their heads. What had happened to my talent for great conversation?
As I said before, I can hold conversations with anybody of any age, any gender, on any topic. So it befuddled me when it appeared that I was babbling incoherently. It occurred to me one day that there were certain people who completely understood me and what I was saying. My sister was top of the list. My mother too. My dad, most of the time. My niece, however, gave me THAT look one day. I gave her a questioning look back. She calmly asked, whilst politely puzzled: “What does Baba (grandma in Croatian) have to do with a glass of water?” At first, this bewildered me. Then the AH-HA moment hit! Get ready for this doozy.
First, let me ask if you have ever seen the show Gilmore Girls? I LOVE watching this show! Why? The amount of fast-talking conversation is incredible. They jump from topic to topic in seconds flat. Basically, they talk like I do. There is no desire to scrimp on words and get to the point quickly. It’s about conversation and language and using all kinds of words and comparisons and leaping from one idea to the next. That was what my AH-HA was about. I was speaking quickly, and as I spoke a new idea would pop into my head. However, I might not say anything aloud about it, but then my next thought would be spoken out loud leaving a possible gap in the logical conclusion. Get it? No? Ok, here is the train of thought explanation of the “Baba and the glass of water story”:
Me out loud: Baba is in so much pain with her hip, but she just won’t let anyone help her. She has to do it all by herself because she doesn’t want to bother anyone.
Niece out loud: I know, even when I invite them over for lunch she says it’s too much work for me and that I have so many other responsibilities so why don’t we just come over to her place for a meal.
Me in my head: She has always been like that. So stubborn. That’s why we never learned to cook because she had to do everything. Even her brother-in-law told me that she won’t even have a glass of water in his home, but she expects them to come to her place for elaborate meals.
Me out loud: Not even a glass of water!
Niece: *dumbfounded look
Ok…now you are caught up with how my brain works. There are the inner thoughts that are constantly in motion. It’s like there are trigger words people say to me and my mind grabs it like a football and starts running for the end zone. With every yard I pass, a new thought gets attached to it. By the time I get to the end zone I have left the football field and ended up on the soccer field. See what I mean?
I decided to do some quick research about this special phenomenon of mine. With my Google prowess I typed: the difference between male and female thought patterns. DING! There is quite a variance between the gender brain functions and thought patterns. I will summarize it quickly if you don’t feel like reading about it. Scientists study four primary areas of the brain: processing, chemistry, structure, and activity. With processing, it appears that males use more gray matter than white matter and with females it’s the opposite. The gray areas are localized and lead to those gents having more of a tunnel vision so they focus on one thing until complete. The ladies, with their white brain, basically have their brain networking with the gray parts. Thus, women are able to multi-task fantastically. Both are good in their own ways. The rest of the article was interesting, but being a multi-tasker, let’s get back to the story.
I then explained to my niece how my brain works…as you now also know. I still continue to speak in this way. One day at my parent’s place my mother was telling me and my sister about this lady in the village. The story continued about some surgery. Then it went to some doctor. Then something about pills. Then how awful THAT man is. She was shaking her head in anger and the rest of us just looked at each other. My father asked, “What man?” My sister and I burst out laughing. We were prodigies! After a few precise questions we finally figured out who she had been talking about. Her whole story had involved words like “her” “that lady” “that neighbour” and “him”. Once names were attached to the pronouns we had the final answer. Way more fun than Jeopardy, but just as challenging!
Fast forward a few months. I was visiting my niece again. I was regaling her with some fantastic story and when I stopped she smiled and slyly said, “I actually followed that train of thought almost all the way to the end.” Kudos to her! I am bequeathing her with the gift of pursuing that runaway train…of thought!