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.



Frank R. Krzesowiak said...

Glad I'm not the only one. As I near 70, I find it increasingly frustrated with this short term memory loss but the worst part of this "getting old" thing is that music was a strong suit in my life. I could hear 3 note from a song and tell you what year, Band and title without breaking a sweat. Automatic. Mongo Jerry,13th Floor Elevator, Mike Clifford. It was like I had a computer up there. Guess what? Not gone, but it takes way too much time to remember now, Sometimes hours if at all. Damn if that's not frustrating as Heck! I guess we now live our pwn personal Hell, Scribe. Not much we can do about it.

A Modest Scribler said...

I have some of those blanks with movie and book titles, not so much with music yet.

Jerry Carlin said...

Really simple for me. If I don't write it down, it doesn't get done! And, as I get older my list of things to do gets shorter and shorter.

A Modest Scribler said...

Amazon Echo, Jerry.

Jerry Carlin said...

well, of course, I have no Echo! I am old fashioned and find the act of writing it down, much as we used to take notes in college, helps me remember it. Often I do not even refer to the notes but as I get older it becomes more necessary to cheat!

Jerrylee said...

Your thoughts today are particularly interesting to me because I was where you are about 10 years can imagine about where I am today. In the early nineties I visited my dear mother who had advanced dementia in a nursing home. She recognized who I was but could not communicate. As I was leaving, in the hallway I was approaching an old man in a wheelchair who had soiled himself. He raised his arms above his head and in a forlorn, wailing voice, loud enough to be heard all over a large a auditorium he cried
"LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, HAVE MERCY ON ME". I get a chill when I think of that moment, wondering if one day "There go I"

A Modest Scribler said...

Jerry, your mom, my aunt's story was heartbreaking since she was such a joyful soul. This is the cruelest of diseases. It takes the mind before the body and that's cruel. Given your age I don't believe you'll suffer your mother's fate. Let's pray not. I know for a fact that you certainly have some wonderful senses as of now.