A Typical Conversation:
Person A: “So yeah, whose idea was it to make it “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”? Why not make Harrison Ford the celebrity?”
Person B: “Who knows? Oh, I’ll be right back.”
Person A: “Sure.”
(SOME TIME LATER)
Person B: “OK, I’m back.”
Person A: “Sweet! Um…uh…what were we talking about again?”
Person B: “I don’t know, you tell me.”
Person A: “Oh my god, this is going to bother me. Like, it’s right on the tip of my tongue. Brain, whyyyyyyy now???”
We’ve all had this happen to us before. We have little brain farts and we forget what we were just talking about moments ago. Sometimes, at least for me, it happens right in the middle of a sentence I’m saying. It’s a frustrating experience.
Scientists have actually studied “brain farts”. The actual scientific term for them is “maladaptive brain activity changes”. That’s for those who want to sound intelligent. Anyways, the reason they called them that is because they believed lapses in memory are caused by the brain taking a break in order to conserve energy. In theory, this makes sense because the brain actually consumes up to 20% of the body’s energy, more than any other organ. It could use the break.
It’s probably the same idea as when one starts to daydream. Our brain is probably taking a break because we’ve spent so much time and energy focusing on the task at hand. When we perform a repetitive action over and over, it literally becomes mind-numbing and we start focusing on other things. Really, our brain is just resting; it’s not really “being lazy” unless you’re aware of it. Sometimes, you tune out and you don’t even know it until something snaps you back to reality. Like if you were sitting in the classroom listening to your boring professor drone on and on while reading directly off of the handout, and you begin to think about something else. Then someone next to you drops her notebook and you snap out of your daze. We’ve all been there. Brain farts and daydreams are just a way to help you spend less energy. They’re annoying, but in a helpful kind of way.
But speaking of daydreaming, why is there a term for “daydreaming”, but no term for “nightdreaming”? Like, a red squiggly line is popping up under the word “nightdreaming” as I type this because it’s not technically a word. Also, is it daydreaming if you’re daydreaming at night time? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that you were nightdreaming? But then what would dictate when it would be correct to call it “nightdreaming”? 7:00 p.m.? 8:00 p.m.? After midnight? Whenever it gets dark?
Oh forget it. What were we talking about before we got sidetracked? Oh, right! Brain farts.
This is where backtracking comes in handy again. When I forget where I left off in a conversation, I think back through the whole conversation. By retracing my steps, I can probably see the transitions leading up to where we were and jog my memory. Also, repeating my physical actions works too. Like, if I were pacing the room before I forgot what I was doing, I would pace back and forth again to see if that jogs my memory. No need to really resort to something as drastic as Guy Pearce in Memento, what with all of his tattoos.
Speaking of Memento, I think I should watch that movie again. It’s pretty awesome and kind of brilliant. Fun fact: If you rearrange the film into chronological order, it’s like watching a completely different film, and plot holes form from the gaps in between the memory lapses. It’s pretty trippy.
Now where’s my copy of Memento?