Put down your Sudoku pencils! Science says that if we really want to stay sharp, we need to shake things up and think out of the box. In a recent study researchers concluded that standardized games are not particularly effective in improving brain performance. Experts now recommend that we use real-world activities instead. “Almost any silly suggestion can work,” says David Eagleman, neuroscientist and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. “Drive home via a different route or brush your teeth with your opposite hand.”
So, I’ve started using my left foot to drive around town. The tricky part is keeping my right leg out of the way. Now I just need more finesse when braking so the drivers around me don’t think I’m on crack. Yesterday, I faced a new challenge: As I waited for a car to back out of a parking space, some jerk in a Porsche suddenly zoomed out in front of me and took it! Oh boy was I mad. However, instead of cursing and flipping him off, I took a good, long look as he got out of his car and entered a nearby restaurant.
After parking, I headed straight for that restaurant. I didn’t care if he was with a bunch of businessmen or out on a date. He was going to hear from me. I whooshed past the maître’d and searched hard for the very, tall guy that I’d seen emerge from the Porsche. Bingo! He was alone at the bar, already halfway through a beer.
“Hi!” I said with a big smile, sitting down next to him. “Are you aware of what just transpired between us outside?” He was genuinely confused.
“You purposefully took the parking space that you saw me waiting for and even ran your stop sign to do it.”
He looked down sheepishly and I had the sense that drinking on his lunch hour was common.
“Someone did that to me here last week,” he stammered.
“That’s hardly an excuse,” I said. “Look, it seems like you’re having a rough time right now but if you start being nicer to the folks around you, things just might get better.”
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Thank God,” I laughed. “For a minute there I thought I might have to beat you up!”
He smiled. Me, too. See what happens when you shake things up? Now, open your icebox and ask the dog what she’d like for dinner.