Friday, July 21, 2017

I Forget


I harbor all kinds of little superstitions and phobias. I'll cross the street to avoid a black cat, I'll never walk under a ladder, and I'll always pick up a penny in the street...if it's heads up...tails up I walk on.  

And I have phobias to match....I get sweaty just looking at someone perched on the edge of Chimney Rock Mountain, their feet dangling over the edge from 3,000 feet in the sky.  And if I find a bug in the house I'll tear everything asunder to find the culprit.

But all my fears and superstitions and phobias pale in comparison to my current concern....and that is the fear that I'm getting senile. I really try to head off any onset of senility....I try to keep my mind active by reading, learning new things. I play little mind games to try and keep my thinking fresh. But still, in my advancing age, I'm becoming fearful that I'll end up in a home, someone spoon feeding me oatmeal and wiping my mouth for me, and changing my Depends at regular intervals.

You see, these days, I'm finding myself getting a little more forgetful. At least a couple of times a week I'll find myself, standing in the middle of the kitchen, staring off into space, and wondering what I came in here for. I'll actually get up from my chair, walk down the hall to the bedroom, and in the short half a minute it took me to navigate that distance, I can't remember what or why I came over there for.

At times I've driven up to the grocery store and, having forgotten to bring my shopping list, wander around the store and hope to remember why I came there. I play little product association games to jog my memory. I come upon a shelf of spaghetti sauce and say "did we need pasta?" "how's the ketchup stock at home?" "Were tomatoes on my list?" Several times I've made impulse purchases, then came home only to find the only thing I went to the store for was the only thing I didn't buy.

And even as my short term memory fades, my long term memory seems enhanced! These days I can remember something I did in 5th grade better than I remember what I did yesterday!

And with those short term memory lapses has come the troubling practice of "mind wander". More than once I have been driving along, look down on the floor board and see a fresh stick of gum down there. All of a sudden I want that stick of gum, more than anything I've wanted all day. So, I grab the steering wheel with the left hand, then try to scoot down to retrieve that stick of Wrigleys Juicy Fruit, while peering over a mere inch of dashboard to see where I'm going. Then, just as I've nabbed a micro-milimeter of one edge of that slice of gum, I realize I'm about to swerve into the back of a parked car, then leap back to a proper driving position and miss that parked Camry by less the length of a 12 inch ruler!

And, as the years go by, it takes very little for my mind to wander. I can become captivated at the sight of an unusual license plate. I can, in the space of a single city block, speculate on the cost of that digital sign they just put up, and wonder what happened to the old fellow who used to climb up a ladder and post that same sign in big plastic block letters....and wonder if the poor fellow has a pension!

I had a witty little thought to end this essay....some grand "bon mot" that would leave every one in stitches....but I forgot what it was.