How do you *think* when you’re tired?

You know how, when people are explaining dreams, they say your brain never stops working?

Well, I am currently sleep-deprived (most half of it my fault), and my brain is starting to act like an Australian Shepard/Border collie mix tied to a kennel with a four-foot chain (if you’d read as many breed reviews as I have in the last week you’d have a deeper appreciation for the analogy).

Today was library day with my mom. She comes over every Thursday morning to do stuff with the kids. I wanted to pick up The Overload Syndrome, that I started reading months ago (even quoted it in an early blog post). They couldn’t find it, so I picked up a few dog books instead.

Ended up zoning my way through most of Mutts: America’s Dogs this afternoon, which is a surprisingly well-written exploration of how dog breeds present when combined without human direction.

I plan to do a whole post of excerpts, in a day or so (if I think of it and simultaneously have time), just because the analogies were so fun (only example I can think of off the top of my head: Golden retriever + Collie= Valley Girl marries Forest Gump, good natured, all-around good citizen, intelligence hit-or-miss; something like that).

I can’t remember ever laughing so hard reading a dog book.

My 3-year-old kept asking what was so funny, and how do do you explain (even to a somewhat precocious almost-4-year-old) how original these metaphors are. She’d look at the b&w pix illustrating the book and try to act like she understood why they were that funny. A little sad really. Children want so much to be like their parents….


Immobile all afternoon, I explained myself to my husband this way: My brain needed something to do, but it had to be safe. If I read the “Praying with your Children” books or “How to organize your home” books, there’s the inherent pressure that this is meaningful, heavy reading that I’m supposed to get something out of, and actually do.

But at the same time it has to be interesting/relevant to me– but not too deep or immediately applicable.

Dogs fit. I’ll be getting one sometime after my birthday, so it is in the pseudo-near future, but it’s conveniently far enough away that it’s still mostly theoretical. No pressure.

It reminds me of all this dog stuff starting up shortly after Grandma died– the growing want for a dog, the writing and couching arguments in support of that desire– in infinitesimal detail. I like that word too. (Not the least because I can spell it.)

This (irrational?) focus on detail is, I’m beginning to think, a defense mechanism of my brain. It finds something precise to work on that’s not high-stakes. It keeps itself busy without draining any other systems (muscles, emotions, etc.). It is a little bizarre, but from what I hear it’s also healthy– keeping your brain active, I mean.

Maybe it can be like a dog. If you work it good enough for a few days at a time, maybe you can get a few days off to try and recharge…

But then you have to wonder if that all depends on the breed…

One thought on “How do you *think* when you’re tired?

  1. Pingback: Untangling Tales » A unique look at some mutt-mixes

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