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BRAIN DRAIN
There is something about the autumn light that just gets me buzzing. Driving home, the sky was such a clear blue and the lowering sun was beginning to tint the bottom of the clouds pink and coral. Everything looked extra-3D somehow; more real, brighter, ALIVE. The leaves haven't begun to change yet, as we haven't had any real frosts to speak of but the foliage looks thinner somehow.The trees are dark, dark green and the edges of the roadsides are tawny gold.

Years ago, I was a mad fiend for Trivial Pursuit. Of course, back then EVERYONE was. It was such a fun game. My family loved it too, to excess (Anders started calling it Trivial Abuse after enduring a marathon family game with all of us playing) and often played when we were together for holidays. My brother always made me answer 3 brown questions every time I landed on it because I was an Art and English major and read too much and knew all the authors and titles and artists. And my mom was the queen of the game, invariably winning after a knock-down, drag-out bout.

While we were in Boston, we were invited a weekly Pub Quiz Night by my American colleagues one Wednesday after work and thought, what the heck, it'll be fun, we're good at trivia, we'll go! The thing is, we WERE good at trivia. Now? Not so much. I frankly haven't felt so old, stupid and out of it in a very long time (even having 2 teenagers in the house). My highlight of the evening was correctly answering "candy corn" to a clue about what candy is made primarily of corn syrup and wax and is shaped into tri-colored triangles. Not exactly brain-stumping, but the rest of the questions? Holy moly, I had NO IDEA what or who they were talking about the majority of the time.

I've been out of the US for 16 years. I haven't really watched movies or TV since even longer than that, and I no longer have a steady influx of American pop culture magazines easily available to keep up with the ins and outs of what's happening in my home country. I read the International Edition headlines on CNN but don't pay much attention otherwise. I hear about the big, important things through the grapevine or blogs or Facebook. We don't subscribe to a newspaper (Anders is well-informed via the Swedish news media) and the only magazines I subscribe to are Martha Stewart Living and Intelligent Life. I DO watch The Daily Show once in awhile but not enough to keep up with the vast majority of the news.

Most of the actors I know anything about are around MY age. I have never seen most of the reality TV shows that have been such a huge sensation for over a decade now and (frankly) don't care. I pay minimal attention to politics and only on the highest level. I listen to a lot of music but the majority of it is not what you'd call current and certainly not what you'd call mainstream. And I've NEVER been interested in sports, except for ice skating and not even that since I moved overseas. It's not always that I'm not interested; more that my opportunities for information have changed, along with my priorities.

It was a little embarrassing that evening not being able to contribute much in answer to any of the many questions and the only thing that made it any better was that the other 2 (in their early 20s) women on our team weren't much more help. I don't intend to make any real changes in my information-gathering processes...this is more in the way of reflection. Even if I feel that I am always learning, always reading and still pretty knowledgeable, it seems that a lot of what I know or thought I knew has either slipped away or become out-of-date and the rest of it is no longer focused on popular culture. I joked with my colleagues that most of my brainspace was full of where things are located in our work server these days and AWC member information; sadly, I suspect that's not just a joke.

Mom and I did manage to come up with several of the "Famous Dons" on the picture portion of the quiz night, but were completely and utterly stumped by Don Adams. And I LOVED Get Smart! Which aired the year after I was born until I was 6. *sigh*

I'm still a bit befuddled by jetlag. I woke up at 4:22 a.m. yesterday and couldn't get back to sleep and 5:15 a.m. today. I'm really hoping that tomorrow morning will find me completely back on track.
 busy
mood: busy
music: Vienna Teng—The Tower


Comments
From Megsie

I was never that good at trivia pursuit. At. All. It always made me feel stupid, and yuck. Who wants to feel stupid? Anyway, I am certainly not up to date on current events half the time and I don't watch the reality shows (except American Idol, because I am forced). I don't think I would have done any better than you and I live here! Ha!

By the way, I love fall too...and your words about it.

Re: From Megsie

Fall was always, always, always my favorite season, until about 10 years ago, when Spring started winning. I still LOVE fall, though.

Somewhere along the line, we've slipped into That generation -- the one that isn't current, or hip, but just slightly off-kilter; the one that the kids point to when you ask them to identify an older generation. I'm not entirely sure when it happened, but it has -- and it didn't even take me becoming an ex-pat to trigger the change...

Glad you had a good trip, and hope the jetlag leaves you soon. :-)

Off-kilter, for sure. Sigh.

I hear you sister! I had an American colleague here last week and I can't count the number of times I showed her something I thought was a "Swedish thing" and she told me, "yeah, we've had that in America for 5 years". I assume that America is approximately the same as it was when I left it, clearly I am wrong :-)

She was probably just saying that. :P

Now I'm curious what the questions were. I suspect that I wouldn't fare any better, despite living here, simply because there's plenty of pop culture (like the reality shows) that I actively avoid. I'm currently playing SongPop with a couple of people and I hate it when they pick categories like Today's Hits or Modern Rap. I suck so bad at those.

Well, there was one about an actor I'd never heard of (Jason Schwartzman) and a band I'd never heard of (Phantom Planet) and a politician I'd never heard of...the list goes on and on

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