Mar 4, 2018

Chewing intellectual carrots

So, how do I see to not becoming completely stupid? Declining intellectually and loosing brain capacity? That’s the question.

My life now is very different from the one I had when I didn’t spend most of my time on a couch. In my Before Life I had a social life in company with people always ready to discuss the goings on in the world, reflecting over them. I went to concerts, festivals and I read a lot on the cardio bicycle. I spent quite a lot of time in Seattle, challenged by the language, a big city and my politically engaged and extremely verbally talented friends who made my brain work at the maximum of it’s capacity. 

And I traveled elsewhere. I exercised my profession at interesting work places with colleagues of my kind. I listened to Swedish National Radio (the Swedish equivalent to National Public Radio in the US) while in the car and making/having dinner in my kitchen, and I hardly watched any television. Although I worked in it, which was kind of odd.

It all feels strange and foreign thinking about those days today.

So what about now? Well, my only time for reading literature would be before lights out, but I have chosen to dedicate those minutes to Italian studies. I don’t make dinner any more and as I am eating half lying in my couch, it’s the natural time to put the TV on. I know, I could make a different choice. I could listen to the radio instead, but heck, the TV is so much more seductive as dinner company…

As I am not by any means drawn to junk TV, I still find my TV menu more entertaining than educating. I follow the National Swedish Television news every day of course, but most often a short version. I also watch Wolf at CNN, I have a hard time deciding on if that’s educating or plain entertainment though. I would say it’s both. 

How ever sad the Trump White House is I have gotten used to (and how horrifying is that?!) the horror of it and it’s become a TV series with a plot you couldn’t even come up with. To justify myself I am thinking I am getting a one hour a day dosage of journalistic English, and listening to Wolf’s competent and engaged panel is highly interesting and I would say educating. 

So what more? Well, as I’ve reviled before I have since last summer been following the Turkish drama series Paramparça. That’s my one guilt pleasure. And only half an hour a day. I have become fond of the two families who got entangled in each other as their daughters were exchanged at the hospital when they were born and the drama that’s creating. But although I am learning bits and pieces about the Turkish culture and by now recognizing a few words and can pick the language if heard elsewhere, it still makes me feel kind of bad…

I am also watching what we would categorize as quality drama series. One hour a day. For my soul and senses. For my inspiration and joy. As an evening treat before the day turns to night. 

As I find my intellectual diet too poor I have started this year adding healthier ingredients. Paramparça is on a break so that helps. Instead I am watching conversations in cultural arts, philosophy and politics. Many times I am honestly more up for something less hard digested, but I am forcing myself to chew carrots instead of drinking Coke. Which, of course, feels very good afterwords. 

I am to a large degree lacking people my own age for reflecting conversations where I am using my mother tung to it’s fullest. On the other hand it’s a linguistic challenge to narrow down my sometimes luxuriant language to a level where I am easy to understand. Some of my wonderful home care personal are fairly new in Sweden and in the process of learning a language completely foreign to them. 

We are having mutual language lessons. This winter has been a good one for learning all the different words describing snow, cold and road conditions. And I am having my first opportunity getting aquatinted with Arabic phrases. We are chewing carrots and it’s such an intellectual satisfaction. And oh the joy when I am discovering some of the few Turkish words I have picked up during my guilt pleasure TV watching, show up in the little Arabic I have now learned! Ha!

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