07/20/2012 11:57 pm ET | Updated Sep 19, 2012

When Words Mean Other Words

I've been stumbling into the next best word lately. Today it was pouring rain, I pointed at an umbrella and said chair. Something about that felt familiar. I'd done it before.

Hit your forties and it would be easy to blame middle age if both of my parents hadn't died with Alzheimer's disease.

We live in an over-disclosing society. Your every fear, every weakness easily exposed and dissected. There's a soft underbelly to that, and it's found in the echo of friends who watch your words as they fly by on social media.

Once I am mad as a hatter, I expect to hear about first in a direct message. Gentle and private.

When my father found shortcuts around knowing my name; when my mother couldn't even pretend to know me but there was love enough to make up for it, the words were the least important part of our relationship. For the child of a doctor and an English teacher to care about emotions more than words, there ought to be a better word than irony.

It's been raining in New Orleans as relentlessly as a bad joke. In the middle of that, I can't always find the word I mean for umbrella when heading out into the rain. There's a strength to accepting this occasional word blindness.

My world of words and friends will remind me before anyone else has to.