I often take a while to answer questions. Even when I’m asked questions in person, and the question is a simple as, “So how long did it take you to get here?” You know, a question that has an easy answer but requires a second of thought, as opposed to “How ya doin?” I often go into this long pause for no reason at all. For example, when I first started working at a pet store, when I was eighteen, one of my parents’ friends was in the store and he asked me, “So how do you like working here?” And I just stood there looking at him. I absolutely adored working there, but I wasn’t answering him. The tiny gears in my head were shifting, slowly, to tell me that I’d just been asked a question, and that there was an answer, and the answer had to go from a feeling into words and into my mouth and into an answer. All the while, my boss was standing right next to me, looking at me. That meaningless pause turned into a seemingly pregnant pause, for no reason at all. When the words finally came out, it was a moment that had subtext that I had composed entirely without meaning to. (I’m sure you can only imagine what that’s like for me when I’m in a relationship).
I was watching this episode of Grey’s Anatomy recently that offered me a little insight into that function of the brain. Those one-hour dramas are often far better depictions of reality than any reality show (except for The Amazing Race. Awesome reality show). See, this guy had the connections between his left brain and right brain surgically severed in an effort to reduce his seizures, and in recovery he couldn’t remember the names of things and people. He knew the people, knew everything about them, and knew that he knew their names. But, as the doctor explained, the info has to travel over to the left side of the brain before it can be processed into words and then into speech. His brain was going to have to re-learn the paths.
I am left-handed, which means that in theory, my right brain is ruling. And I’m more left-handed than most people. I’m left sided. I sometimes don’t even do my hair on one side of my head, which is textbook-typical of a severely right-brained person. The side that doesn’t use words. Once the words are formed, it already doesn’t make sense to me for there having been any delay. It always feels like I did it by some kind of choice.
And I really don’t think we should come with instructions. I don’t like it when people have all these complicated things we must know about them. We all have to learn basic things about interacting with each other because, if anything, it’s just polite.
Soooo, ummmmmmmmmm……..I might not be able to get to the answer your question right away, but, if you want to, I’ll take you with me on a colorful scenic route.