The above is what I titled an e-mail to a friend shortly before an academic deadline. It was about the specific sort of mental fatigue I exhibit when overloaded and stressed out. My sentences trail off into long pauses, after which I forget what I was saying. That's common, but I'm not sure I've met anyone else who experiences the other half of it. Which is mixing up words in a way that makes no sense. It's not simply calling someone the wrong name. Or mixing up two related words, or even words in the same sentence. It's substituting a completely unrelated word for the word I want. I'm sure it was in my mind somehow, like part of some background thought I'm having. For example, I might be sitting at a desk, on a chair, looking at a computer. I remember, right before writing this e-mail to my friend, my boss Normandy* walked into the office and I said something like, "Good coffee, Computer!" instead of, "Good morning, Normandy!"
*Not her real name.
This time, two days away from the LSAT after giving myself four extra months to practice (and therefore insisting to myself and others that I would not become irrationally stressed out, which in a way becomes its own thing to stress out about; this week, as I began to experience what is probably normal levels of stress, I found myself thinking, "Don't let everyone see how stressed out you are!") what seems to have happened instead is that my inner censor seems to be lapsing a bit.
This afternoon, at work, I was sitting at my desk, working. I was moving the mouse and typing with one hand, while leaning my chin on my other hand while simultaneously twirling a piece of hair. The sound of the door opening caused me to look up toward the screen on which I had been so intently focused; it was a delivery man. As I was about to greet him, the phone rang, and I grabbed it, causing my co-worker September* to be the one to sign for the package.
* Also not her real name
When I got off the phone, the delivery man said to me something I didn't quite hear all of, so I asked, "What?"
He replied, "When I came in and you were playing with your hair, you know, you had it in front of your face--I thought you had a mustache at first."
And you know what I said? Do you know what my response was to this STRANGER?
"I do have a mustache."
Yup. I told a stranger, in my place of work, that I have a mustache.
He left without saying anything.
I think I said that, trying to be dryly witty, but instead I just frightened the guy. I also think I said that because in the moment I thought, "Why is he saying this? Doesn't he know that many women do have mustaches they just wax off? What if I did have a mustache? Why would that be so weird and funny?" Either way, it's a weird thing to bring up to a stranger.
If I have any panicky moments during the test on Saturday, in which stress threatens to halt my progress, I'll just remind myself of The Mustache Incident, laugh, and keep going.