As I get older I find that I am playing charades a lot more with people during my conversations. I don’t know if my mouth is working faster than my brain and it just can’t keep up with the flow of words spewing out of my motor-mouth or if my brain has had a temporary (albeit more frequent than I would like to admit) brain cramp. My mother-in-law, Kathleen who is 82 years old and has the same problem suspects a brain tumor – but she tends to think the worst and has passed on her hypochondria and paranoia to our son, Bob (See Bats and Zombies). So – for now, I’m going to dismiss the brain tumor theory – and let Kathleen gloat and say “I told you so!” if she is proved right in the future.
It wasn’t that long ago that I could just talk non-stop (and there are lots of people who will testify that I am like a giant water cooler – constantly burbling) at any gathering – never stumbling over words – always having just the right phrase to pull out of my brain. My family has often lamented that I never go hoarse and I never shut up — I always have something to say — and I’m generally right – no brag – just fact. Plus — when you are Queen – you are always right – especially if you expect to eat and sleep in my castle!
Anyway — back to the problem at hand — family gatherings have turned into a giant charades game with the younger members trying to fill in the blanks for the older members. There are days when it is just my husband, myself and my mother-in-law — which is like the blind leading the blind — and my husband just starts throwing out random words to fill in the blanks which only makes things worse because your brain can’t even take a moment to THINK about what it wants to say. My husband thinks he doesn’t have this little malady — but it should be noted that when he has it, he doesn’t even give the right clues. For instance — one time he couldn’t remember the name of a lady he worked with — so he told his her first name started with a ‘Z’ — we threw out every name we could think of to help — Zora, Zia and even through in a pasta name — Ziti. All of the sudden, his eyes flashed and he said — “Darlene! Her name is Darlene!” We reminded him Z and D are two different letters and we need the right clues to play the game. He sheepishly admitted that Z was the letter which started her last name — again — we can’t play if we don’t have the right clues!
When the entire family is involved, we could have up to 4 generations in the room – ages ranging from 82 down to 2 years old. The younger kids aren’t much help — although they have come to believe this is the family game and that all families communicate like this. My children think it is hilarious because they (like their father) like to throw out random thoughts out to confuse the issue. This is especially helpful to them when I am angry at one of them and can’t find the words to express that anger — takes away from the whole mood of the moment! However, I know that will have the last laugh on this one – since it seems to be something that comes with age – and they will get to play this game sooner than they think!
I have found it interesting that I don’t have to play charades when I’m writing – so my fingers are obviously more in sync with my brain than my mouth – or it could be that people don’t see how often I sit in silence waiting for the right word to come to me — or how many times I have to backspace over a word in order to write the correct one (in this sentence alone, I backspaced 4 times and sat in silence twice!). Thank God for the person who invented spell check and grammar check!
So maybe the key is to start typing and texting to my children — which is what they do to each other all the time anyway! I don’t think I can do that — much too impersonal — plus, I think my children should be exposed to the joys of growing older so they know what to expect. And — I had to play all of those silly games with them when they were little, they owe it to me to play charades with me now!