Most days, I don’t think enough. I just kind of put the car in drive and let it take me places. Or if I’m in the kitchen, and I see a Cheerio on the floor, I instinctively bend to pick it up. Sometimes I eat it. Sometimes I put it in the freezer, without knowing why I have opened the freezer. Three days later, I will open the freezer and wonder who put a Cheerio in there. Further, if I am attempting to dress myself, I don’t reference a Garanimals-like chart or follow some sort of law of coordination. Generally, I open the closet door and spy something. Apelike, I mutter “Blue.” After laboriously searching for the armholes, I put it on. If it turns out to be wool sweater, and it’s 80 degrees outside, I then wonder throughout the day why I’m hot. Finally, I think we all know that if I have a sense that a three-headed parasite may have taken up shop in my innards, my response is to wonder why Chuck Wolery’s gameshow hosting career took such a dive after Love Connection left the air.
Indeed, there’s an elfin autopilot in my yawning blue sky of a brain who does a fair amount of random navigation for me.
Yet other times, I clearly think too much. I can spend long minutes trying to ferret out where my six-year-old learned to read the word “prehensile,” when she has just learned to decipher the word “Wendy’s” on a billboard. Hours have been devoted to trying to figure out both where Waldo is and where in the world that phantom Carmen Santiago has gone to now. I have been known to take two hours of my time to berate authoress Jody Picoult in my head for being such a terrible writer yet having convinced a large reading public that she’s profound. And I have been known to agonize for thousands of seconds over just the correct, um, how you say it?–oh, yes, “word” in a blog post.
But today I experienced a moment where my tendency to unthink and to overthink came together in a harmonic convergence. The little autopilot in my head strapped himself in and forced the plane down one of my brain’s intellectual runways, and before I knew it, I had spewed out some kneejerk verbiage that was unadulteratedly dumb. Like, DUM.
So I was at work, standing in line, waiting for my turn at the Xerox machine. As I loitered, I made painful smalltalk with the person who was using the machine. I began to ask him, “Is there any colored paper in here?” when my tongue stopped, frozen by the possibility that my word choice could be construed as racist, at which point my lips veered another direction and queried, “Is there any paper of color in here?”
Sure, this moment is no big deal, either way. But I found myself backing away, suddenly free of the need to make 50 copies of “How to Use Evidence When Creating An Argument,” worried more that I’d find myself asking Groom for “that afghan of color” before the week is out.
I mean, Sweet Lindsay Lohan in a Vodka Bottle, why did I feel the need to be PC about *paper*? Even when the Origami Laws of the 1930’s were in effect, the fuschia sheets were still allowed to ride in the front of the bus.
You may be stacked in separate reams, Goldenrod and Peach, but you’ve always been equal in my paper-loving heart.