Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We had eight US university students helping out at the Papiers project today. They were as cute as a boxful of baby bunnies. But more articulate and with more sophisticated social skills. Would have been even nicer if they spoke some French, but you can’t have everything (unless you are talking hotdog garnishes). That meant that my day had to be spent babysitting, as they needed my translation skills to communicate with the project women. They were quite useful though, helping get lots of cards and bookmarks decorated. The women have been so busy with special orders lately, they haven’t had much time to restock the shelves.
Tomorrow, we will be sent eight more students, to replace today’s group. Which I am really not happy about. Not because of the fact that we have to start again from zero, explaining what the project is and what their jobs will be for the day, but because I’ll have to learn eight new names. Oh the humanity.
I am, you see, name-impaired. JP will vouch for this, he claims he has never seen someone forget names and faces as fast as I can. And it’s not like I don’t make an effort! I do. One technique I use is mnemonic devices. But that often doesn’t work, or even worse, it backfires. For example, I met a woman named Sally and thought “Ok, It’s Sally - like in the Peanuts cartoons. I’ll just imagine her eating peanuts with Snoopy and that will help me remember her name. “ Classic mnemonic trick, when carried out by a normal human. I, on the other hand, ran into her two days later and proudly said “Hi Lucy! How are you?” Typical of how it turns out for me. Today, I managed to call Mark “Mike” and Kirstin became “Caroline”. I probably shouldn’t be allowed out in public.

But actually, it’s not my fault. I have this theory. My brain has a faulty sorting mechanism. It throws out useful stuff, like people’s names, and keeps junk. I envision it as a tiny, insane old lady rampaging around among my neurons, muttering to herself. She is very irritable and unreasonable. The Crazy Lady throws out perfectly good items, like common Spanish vocabulary words, and yet she seems to think there is plenty of space for the lyrics of every ABBA song ever recorded.
I promise this is true: I was in a restaurant in Spain once and wanted a spoon. I could not for the life of me remember the Spanish word for spoon. All I could think of was the word for “poison”, which does not even bear a passing resemblance to the word for “spoon” and is far less useful in daily life. So, there I was. I was capable of asking for a nice big glass of cold poison (Deseo algo veneno frio, por favor!) , but the Crazy Lady had obviously thrown out every Spanish word related to eating implements.
She also dumped all info pertaining to JP’s pants (mentioned in yesterday’s post).
So, that’s my excuse: I am being sabotaged by a tiny insane person living in my brain.
It’s a crazy world.
(That’s a line from an ABBA song, BTW)

2 comments:

babzee said...

While confined in the salon where Molly was getting a fabulous haircut, I read an article in a women's magazine on http://www.prosopagnosia.com/, or face-blindness. I suffer from a degree of this as well, and names equally elude me. At least I am not in the league of the lady in the article, who couldn't recognize her own children from minute to minute, or the one who called the cops on her husband because he was wearing a new suit and she thought he was an intruder. But in milder cases like yours and mine, we take certain solace in the idea that this weakened aspect of our brains (and personalities) means there is strength in other parts, probably the creative components. If I'd used "Sally" from Peanuts as a memory-link, I'd wind up calling the poor woman "Dilbert" or possibly "Stacy", who is Dilbert creator Scott Adam's business partner in a restaurant in California that I read about 5 years ago. Or "Beetle Bailey".

BurkinaMom said...

So, I'm not an idiot, but actually have a handicap/disease that has it's own website!