The Art of Losing Your Mind

Wednesday is my least favorite day of the week. You have successfully traversed two days of the workweek, but there are still two whole days looming ahead. Like most Wednesdays, today was marked by a normal headache exacerbated by virtue of starting work really early in the morning on poor-quality sleep for the third day in a row. Effectively, I function on half the normal brain power I usually have on this wretched day in the middle of the week. I have demonstrated this spectacularly in the past, like telling a co-worker about her surprise farewell cake in front of the whole lab. Revealing which central character died in a popular show when a co-worker had explicitly told me he had not seen that particular episode - this happened without any provocation, or even the slightest inquisition from said co-worker. I just couldn't contain all my slippery thoughts and they tumbled out in a really careless manner, after which I had to cover my face to hide the embarrassment and horror at what I had done. Other elaborate displays of a case of "Wednesday Mindlessness" include graceless tumbles in the office, talking with a guest in the lab and preternaturally losing my grip on a cup of lukewarm tea, which proceeded to splash all over the carpet in an elaborate display of mud-colored fountains, calling a male coworker (Baggy) by a female coworker's (Gabi) name multiple times in the same meeting, and others...

What unfolded today was worse than my usual Wednesday Mindlessness, however. It was several rungs above (or should I say below, hmm...see I  can't think straight today) my pregnancy brain mishaps, and following that, the mommy brain incidents. Now you might think after you're done with reading this blog post that this wasn't so dramatic. It wasn't even that funny. But you have to understand, in the two moments I am going to relate here, I felt like: 
a. In Moment 1 - like I had been put under the Imperius curse
b. In Moment 2 - like I had used Hermione's time-turner and come face-to-face with myself, and as you know, even the most powerful wizards can lose their mind if they meddle with time. 
(If you don't know what I am talking about, tsk, tsk, I am SO disappointed in you. Please do yourself a favor and start reading Harry Potter RIGHT NOW!)

Moment 1: I have arrived in the office and not immediately gone for my customary cup of coffee. My head feels like it had a forceful impact with something cold and metallic and has been wrapped in an ice-pack. It feels full, heavy, and like something's sloshing in there sickeningly. My nose feels similarly under the weather. This is not a cold - it is a case of allergies. This is a bad day. Around 8 AM, I drag myself to the break room and start brewing my coffee. Rebecca, my best friend (and manager) follows me and starts brewing her tea. A coworker walks in and starts talking to me about a project we are working on. I try to articulate a response, which sounds very clear and straight-forward as I am thinking about it (albeit a bit bumpy due to the choppy tide in my head). I open my mouth and say "Usman." Rebecca snickers. My co-worker looks at me like I have gone crazy. "What?" I have the following realizations in this order: my husband has put me under the Imperius curse; no, he probably hasn't because I wouldn't be cognizant of this if he had; dammit, Harry Potter isn't real; I really meant to say my boss Sean's name; how do I get out of this situation, will it sound weird if I follow-up now with my original train of thought; oh, screw it, I am doing it. This took maybe 5 or 6 seconds, during which time my co-worker was staring at me with a mixture of concern and surprise. Here's how I salvaged the situation: "Excuse me, but I haven't had my first cup of coffee yet and my allergies are killing me, I am really not even present, part of me thinks I am still sleeping." Awkward laughter. "What I meant to say is, Sean asked us to do such and such by such and such date." Whatever. Life goes on. 

Moment 2:  Around 2 PM, my body is once again screaming for caffeine. The 3 cups of coffee all day have not been enough, but my head feels much better because Rebecca gave me an anti-histamine to take in the morning. I walk to my co-worker (who is also an awesome poet) Sara's desk and we chat for 10 minutes about an upcoming talk we have to give to a guest. Ironically, our conversation circles around not being able to recall exactly what we're supposed to tell this guest. Neither of us remembers the details because we didn't write them down, which clearly was a mistake. We try to retrace our steps to the time when the meeting was first set up and draw up a rough plan to tackle the topics we will be covering. Easy breezy - I am so glad I have Sara to do imaginary things with, like retracing my steps to three weeks ago when we first talked about this particular guest's visit. "I really need a cup of coffee now," I say and go to the break room. I brew a cup of Newman's Own and add my usual cream and two packets of fake sugar (I know, it's not even coffee by the time I am done with it), take a huge gulp, and jauntily walk back to my desk to prepare for my next meeting. I walk into the office with my coffee cup and see a full steaming cup of coffee already on my desk. What the what? I stare at the cup in my hand and back at the cup on the desk. What in the world is going on? I taste the cup on the desk. Yep, it's mine. An inch of cream and two packets of fake sugar. I have no memory of making that cup. Fleetingly, I think of time travel in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but am too awake to actually dwell on it. I take both cups to Sara's desk. In a stricken voice, I say to her, "I have to share something with you. I think I am losing my mind." I tell her what I have just done - made two cups of coffee, not having any memory of making the first cup. She bursts out laughing. Correction. She cackles delightfully. It is too funny for her. She says, "Yes, you are really losing your mind, but I can relate to it!" And then follows up with, "Are you getting enough sleep?" As I am lamenting the loss of my senses, I suddenly remember making the first cup. I went to the break room, came back to my office, had a few sips of my coffee, and even told Rebecca about a conversation I had with someone while making coffee. I then went to Sara's desk to talk about the upcoming talk I had on my to-do list. Then, forgetting all about the cup on my desk, I went to the break room again and brewed another cup of coffee, after which I felt for a moment like I had made bad use of Professor McGonagall's time turner, and subsequently like I was headed for a psychotic break. Yes, I don't dramatize and exaggerate a situation at all. 

It is almost 9 PM now and I have recounted this bad case of Wednesday Mindlessness for you so that I can look back to this on future Wednesdays and pacify myself, "See, so what if you fell on your face, or told someone their favorite character in a book will die at the end, you are still having a better day than that accursed Wednesday." But I also find myself wishing that I had been under the Imperius curse, or I had meddled with time using the time turner, because that would mean Hogwarts is real! I really should get some sleep now, not because I am afraid that you will think I am not a serious writer if I have silly wishes of being at Hogwarts, but because of this: If I am wishing to be under the Imperius curse, then I really must be very tired indeed. Good night, folks. 

Photos by Rebecca McCue