Friday, November 14, 2008

Gumbo with Word Salad

Gumbo calleth me and I answereth it, because it is mighty fine gumbo.

On the way to the seafood market I see not one, but two of my favorite people. I guess they are my favorite couple. Madame and Prado. We talk. They're happy. I'm happy. I get babbly. Babbly is fine with friends.

On to the seafood market. I go in. The guy there is a nice guy. He says, "Hey Scarecrow, did you get taller?" I tell him yes and pat my head. It's sticking up today. No attempt to tame it. What is the point in having crazy hair if you try to make it behave? That is just fighting nature. He likes me says I make him feel short and he's the tallest in his family. Asks what I want and I can't say gumbo.

I just can't. Any word, but that word.

There was another customer in there, a man I didn't know, so I immediately try to correct myself. This only makes it worse. I go from just saying the wrong word to repeating myself, making myself more nervous, and repetitive phrases and substituted words become word salad that have no connection whatsoever to what I mean. So instead of simply saying what I'm looking at or a word I think of when I think of gumbo, it all goes to hell.

"I came in for okra, I mean the is that trout soup? Sorry, I was looking at the - okra, the soup with okra. No. You know. Shrimp. Fish. Okra. Soup. It's not..I was I said it because I was ... I saw the trout... not the trout... I don't want the trout...I want the not the it has okra shrimp fish I know the word it has a word a word one word okra fish shrimp Forgotten Stop the jumbles. Not jumbles. Tumbling rush. Back up. Back. Fish, Scallops. Scales. Shoes. Feet in the sand of the ocean a million little rocks crash together. Crash. Skull. Crack open. Stop. Who stops? Sign. Red. Cup. Plastic. Not plastic. Foam. foaming. Angry. Smiles. She smiles. She is happy. I am happy. Stop.*" Until finally I get my hand over my mouth and close my eyes and I hear the guy in the market telling the customer it's okay, what can he get for him? And then I got all the words to stop rushing around in my head and trying to get out. Got them put back where they belonged and finally when he had rung up the other sale I just formed the sentence in my head which is what I should have done in the first place and said. "Gumbo. And it better be good after all that."

This is one reason I like living in a small town. When I have moments like this people know I'm not crazy or stupid. It's like a really odd stutter. Don't try to help me. It only makes it worse. Just wait it out or ignore me. It'll work itself out. It's a language disorder caused from being young and idiotic in my earlier life. I took one too many bumps on the noggin'. I'm not always aware I do it, especially when typing so if you've ever gotten some odd messages from me, now you know why. You can imagine how I wear out the backspace on my keyboard.

This has almost no effect on my reading comprehension, but when I do substitute one word for another reading something it's very hard for me to put the right word back in, even when I can clearly see the right word. For example, in the sentence Close the door please I might substitute dog for door. If that happened for some bizarre reason, I would know and see that word is door, but my brain has decided it's meant to be dog. That's very rare though. Maybe that's why people say I look so amused half the time. I'm thinking about closing dogs which makes me think of those half dogs in Return Of The Living Dead. I better stop, I'm getting into stream of conciousness now.

By the way, it was damn good gumbo.

*And no this isn't word for word. I can't remember exactly what I said since I was stressing at that moment, just bits and piece. I do say "stop" a lot when it happens because I try to make myself stop talking. Once I can stop I'm fine and can start talking normally once again.

1 comment:

Purest Green said...

Thanks so much for visiting me! This is a wonderful blog. I had to look up aphasia. Frustrating surely but what a unique pinpall machine of language. I once wrote a poem based on words for which I had to look up the spelling. Lines like Caramel deodorant drivel dishevelled universes, and such.
Looking forward to reading more.