One would think that being unable to remember the capital of Alabama (Montgomery) or Minnesota (Saint Paul) would not cause me enough anxiety to put a serious damper on my day, but it did.
I am normally very pleased with my ability to recall American and European geography–it’s one of the few things that makes me feel really good about myself. So when I can’t perform up to standards, I panic. My internal dialogue usually ends up going something like this:
“Capital of Minnesota. What is it? You know you know this. Why can I only spout facts about the state and its neighbors that have nothing to do with the capital right now?”
I start shaking my legs, my breathing begins to speed up, and I can hear the too-fast pounding of my heart.
“OH. MY. GOD. I am an idiot, a utter and complete idiot. How do I not know this? You couldn’t remember the location of Kosovo earlier, and you only pretend to understand economics. Your grammar stinks. You even stopped one page into the decision fatigue article in The New York Times, and you clicked on an article about anti-bacterial soap instead of reading about Libya. You don’t even care anymore. You’re one of those people who just pretends to be smart.”
And so it goes until I finally Google the answer and move onto the next state, only to repeat the process when I hit Alabama twenty states later. My freak-out over what country was between Lithuania and Poland was, in retrospect, entirely comical; and my reaction to discovering that it was, in fact, just part of Russia was even more so. I should have been able to figure out it easily, seeing how I know that it is the location of Kaliningrad, an obviously Russian city.
I feel that this is a very appropriate time for me to dramatically sigh and ironically complain about just how difficult my life is.