artificial brain
Sometimes I wish I could reload my brain to factory settings.
Wikimedia Commons

My wife has a dear friend that is now our mutual friend. They are both very wordy. They do in fact admit themselves that they’d be Olympic Champions if conversation was a sport. I think we can conclude that I’m lagging behind, slightly. I make up for it in writing, though, and I frequently find it hard to stop writing. So I decided to break up Restore files. These are some more anecdotes, but the conclusion might be an uncomfortable break from the irony.

I mentioned some challenges regarding language in my previous post. When I come to think of it my accent must have been standing out because they remarked on it when I applied for a job in McDonalds and Family Dollar as well. That wasn’t fun, but I did have some funny incidents with my last name, Ytreland.

I took US History as a night class at UALR and the professor had a special strategy for keeping us alert. He interrupted his lecture, lined us up and said the name of all the students. The third time he did this he decided I’d better be “Starts with a Y”. A nurse at the hospital chose a similar approach. After trying to pronounce my name several times, followed by some serious giggling, I explained to her that the name was Norwegian. She had to call me again later, and then I was “The Viking.”

I remember as an elementary school pupil, possibly around 1980, going on a field trip to a local business where they had those big computers that took up most of the room. They were quite proud when they showed us a print out of a drawing they had made. I think it was made of x’es and there was probably some simple, but timeconsuming programming behind this image. I guess these Dot Matrix printers still have some uses, but I was surprised when I saw it again at the County Clerk’s Office in Little Rock in 2001.

Sometimes a smell can bring back a memory. When my wife started using coconut oil and coconut milk for cooking, I remembered something I hadn’t thought about since my early teens. The first “grown up” Christmas present I got was a gift set with shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo apparently had coconut in it. I wanted to find it again, but I never did as I didn’t know what gave the shampoo that scent. It probably didn’t cost much, but to me that was the finest shampoo money could buy, and I was sorry when it was gone.

Music can do the same. I remember the summer when Every Breath You take by The Police was popular. I was on a holiday I didn’t want to go on. I went with my mother and step father to Portoroz in Slovenia, and they played this song a lot at the hotell. I think I was 13 and I remember I really wanted to talk to a German girl that was staying at the same hotel with her parents. Then one day the impossible happened. She came out of the elevator, went straight over to me and started talking. I think she was at least a couple of years older than me and probably felt sorry for me. She was just being polite.  I’m afraid all systems crashed and I wasn’t exactly giving the best possible impression. I spent the rest of the holiday following my mother and step-father on different excursions and trying to catch a glimpse of this girl, which hardly made her change her opinion of me. I think about this girl I never talked to when I hear this song on the radio. It’s a bittersweet memory, but mostly bitter.

It would have been just another teenage disappointment, but it was especially humiliating as my mother and step-father thought it was fun to remind me of my failures. That seems to have been a recurring theme. They both reminded me of the weaknesses in my father’s family. It was important that I didn’t become the failure he was. I admit there are some issues in my father’s family, and I have some of them (especially with relationships), but I believe I am more a result of environment than genes.

I wish I could do a back up of memories I like, format my brain, and start over again. Getting rid of the past is hard. I have problems forgetting and resetting. The way it works now, or doesn’t work, is that I try my best to suppress uncomfortable thoughts and impulses. It’s not really working. I hide it, but that’s about all I ca do. I suppose this is a part of being human.

I may sound a bit melancholic today. I am, but it’s not all bad. I don’t think this is going to magically disappear, but I hope I have found something that may not keep the monsters at bay, but hopefully it’ll work better than anything else I’ve tried. I might be breaking the isolation, and I am trying again to find God. I can’t do much about the past, but it is my responsibility to deal with it now. My father died in 1979, when I was 11 years old. That was probably just as well. I never understood him, but maybe I do now.


12 thoughts on “Reload

  1. I’m still doing a happy dance over Jay’s decision to join you here 🙂

    Smells and music are indeed powerful memory triggers.
    But it’s true that some of the faded photographs that are brought to mind can be unpleasantly awkward or extremely painful. I’m pretty sure it’s entirely normal to want to avoid the things that make us uncomfortable. That’s the bent of human nature.

    I’m of the opinion that childhood environment does contribute much to the development of adult personalities, but don’t believe that anyone must be held hostage by the ghosts of their past experiences.

    It is encouraging to see that you have expressed a determination to find God. The wonderful thing is that He’s not hiding…it’s just a matter of being able to see Him. Keep seeking. He promised that persistence will be rewarded. (Matthew 7:7-11)

    1. It’s amazing how much good has come out of this. I believe it started with me being curious about what other bloggers on WordPress had written about depression. Then I discovered a sparrow. This certainly calls for dancing and singing! 😀

  2. John, You might want to try taking vitamin D to see how that impacts the depression. Not that things like work (or seeking work), ASD symptoms, winter’s gloom, or being oppressed by devils aren’t contributing. It may take some troubleshooting.

  3. “The Viking?” Hah! I’m going to remember that one. I guess I can call you my Viking Brother? :-)Most people who know me know Eva as “my Norwegian friend.” Course, technically, she is my Arkie-Norwegian Friend, but I don’t usually get that detailed unless anyone asks how I know someone in Norway.
    I can really relate to the song memories. There was a period of time where I couldn’t hear certain Al Green songs without breaking down crying…not because of a bad memory, but because of memories of something good that was gone. Kind of humiliating when it happened in the grocery store.
    It is sad that your parents rubbed it in the way they did. I guess it can be easy for adults to forget how self-conscious teenagers are and humiliate or embarrass them so much. I suppose they think they were “helping” you.
    I really wish I shared the problem of “can’t stop writing.” Eva says our writing professors would be angry with us for not pursuing our writing when we have degrees in it. But hey, I find it more fun to try to inspire your writing. I tell your wife that she and I are your “muses.” Yes, I have noticed how certain topics pop up your posts that sort of parallel previous conversations she and I have had. We are proud of our “muse status.” But Eva says we should be writing, too. 😦 I just can’t think of anything to write…..unless, of course I am commenting on the blog.

    1. I like the turn of events. You having Viking Brother and I an Arkie sister.
      I tell Eva she should be writing too, but I appreciate both of you inspiring me. I like having muses. I believe I will be more “wordy” later 😀

    2. It’s been almost 13 years since I left Arkansas, and I still have nightmares from being exposed to monsterbugs and that hideous, relentless heat. I even encountered a supersized, monsterroach while taking a shower at the university. The other guys took no notice of it, but I wasn’t going anywhere near the water while that thing was around. When I came home and told Eva about it, do you think I got any sympathy? Nope.

      She even told me, later of course, that I had probably been swimming with some of God’s nasty creatures in Lake Sylvia. I may be far too delicate for the South. You ladies should be more gentle and not give me such a hard time. I’m glad the nurse didn’t know what her Viking really was. I’m afraid Eva’s viking doesn’t quite match the image most people have of a norseman

    3. Hah! And don’t forget, if you come back to Arkansas, you get to have that suffocating humidity and heat along with Norwegian winters. Eva says it was colder here this winter than it was in Norway. I don’t think Global Warming is happening here………

      Did the monster-roach run up your leg? I have had that experience, and is quite freaky. I didn’t know they came up the drains until I had the experience.

      I guess if you come back to LR, we will have to construct for our “fragile Norwegian species” a special green-house free of any pests or bugs! 🙂

    4. High humidity has a nasty way of intensifying the perceived effects of extreme temperatures.

    5. We live in a part of Norway that has “mild” winters. Mild is relative, and although we have temperatures mostly above 0 C, we get a lot of crap from above (sleet, hail, freezing rain and a lot of strong, cold wind). I actually prefer the stability in the east with a lot of snow and – 20.

      Roach up my leg? That would probably have inspired me to write like Stephen King. Incidentally, they showed a Stephen King series on TV while we lived in Little Rock, and I was waiting in line at a copy shop one day that week. The man behind me asked if I had seen it, because he said I looked like the bad guy. I was attempting to grow a beard for the first time then, but I guess that wasn’t the effect I was looking for.

    6. I was attempting to grow a beard for the first time then, but I guess that wasn’t the effect I was looking for.


      If it makes you feel any better, my son informed me once that you can always tell who the bad guy is by the music that accompanies him.
      So, unless you were being followed by an orchestra performing a suspenseful symphonic number, the guy was probably mistaken in his assessment of your resemblance…

    7. This has been a crazy winter. I heard about closed schools in Arkansas while we were getting ready for spring. Crazy.

      I’d love to give my wife’s home another try, but that summer you have is madness.

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