My brain’s switched itself off, I scramble for words.
All the while, he and his wife stare back at me, eagerly awaiting a reply.
“Oil” I gush, proud to have thought of something, still knowing a better, more correct response hangs between the strands of my puzzled mind but it would be hours before the words “coal” and “timber” write themselves in. My neighbour and his wife long since returned to their home, believing my parents heat their home entirely on oil.
Brain mush I call it. It happens when I’m bad, when every cell is busy pumping oxygen around my rusted body, keeping it alive the way a crocodile ensures he lives throughout periods of intense heat.
Thinking shuts down, simple questions become mountains to crawl on one knee, words run astray and I’m left with just me.
On days such as these, I stay away from my garden bench, hiding out in my back yard but once in a while I’m caught out, tripped up by a passing neighbour and my need to amble between the plants on my front lawn.
On days such as these, I stand and nod at flowing sentences, smiling my replies and then BAM I’m asked something that requires thinking, requires constructing a coherent answer and few words, if any, will enter my head. My distracted mind focused instead on the persons good sense of style or by the way in which they wear a hat or how they comb their hair.
Returning to the unanswered question, I fumble and fall over words, saying something, anything, even if it ends up a blatant lie.
The official term is Brain Fog, one of the many annoying and inconsiderate symptoms my friend, Myalgic Encephalomyelits likes to throw at me, especially in public. A symptom that turns friendly conversations into laborious grammar lessons, a symptom which leaves baffled neighbours wondering what exactly this Myalgic Encephalomyelits is.