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Vanishing Letters and Muscle Memory

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My life without “L” and “M”

tumblr_mf35djpVGv1qeubbbo1_1280-12262012Literally: L and M are gone. K is nearly gone. I have no period.

A few days ago I pointed Conversation is an Engine toward Coracle Journeys for a wonderful poem celebrating frailty. Today I realize my keyboard letters are going away.

I’m OK as long as I don’t look. But if I look down—right now—at y keyboard to ocate y issing etters—I can’t because they are not there. I must depend on muscle memory.

Is this what aging looks like?

Though I am a constant note taker (I like writing stuff down), there’s little need of these reminders as much of life is a been-there/done-that proposition. Writing, talking, eating—lots of our daily activities we’ve done hundreds of times. Driving to the gas station or school or to the grocer: did that x1000. We depend on muscle memory for a lot of daily living.

Muscle memory came up again and again in my family over the holidays. My brother-in-law and I talked about how practicing the piano and guitar had a lot to do with training fingers in certain reaches and movements from chord to chord. And my sister-in-law told how she intended to drive a friend and instead ended up at her home. Why? Muscle memory. These things get burned into our muscles through repetition.

Much of life works this way, which is blessing and curse. Maybe that’s why the NRA responds to murder with a call for more guns—muscle memory. Maybe that’s why Republicans want to shield the rich from reasonable taxation and why Fox News invents a war on Christmas every year—muscle memory. Maybe that’s why anything bad that happens results in focused media frenzy, a search for the guilty (or anyone with a photo), and a call for more laws. Muscle memory.

I can buy a new keyboard, but I’m not likely to try to look at it more often. My fingers already know that route. And while I want to grow muscle memory for the chords and notes on my guitar fretboard, I also want to pay more attention in 2013. Because muscle memory is not the answer to every question in life. Some things deserve a fresh look from a different perspective.


Image credit: Elisabet Sienstra via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

December 26, 2012 at 10:00 am

Posted in curiosities

Tagged with , , ,

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