What’s going on here? Is this some kind of a prank? Well . . . if so, it’s not very funny!
It all started this afternoon when I was sanding the kitchen window sill getting ready to repaint. I decided to get fancy about it and vacuum at the same time to eliminate all of the dust from the electric sander. It’s easy. Just hold the hose of the vacuum cleaner about an inch from the edge of the sander and all of that dust is miraculously sniffed away. No problem. Just as I started, Cheryl walked into the room and came over to where I was working, obviously to admire my ingenious technique. Realizing that I was being watched like a student observes the master, I leaned even further into my work, showing off about not needing a dust mask. I sensed that Cheryl was fairly impressed, as she too was leaning in closer to see how I did it. Then she began waving for me to stop. A bit annoyed that she had broken my heroic spell, I punched the red stop button on the sander. The room suddenly became silent. The silence was not disturbed with a single sound—not even the vacuum cleaner! How could that be? It turns out that I had forgotten to turn the sweeper on. Whoops!
It’s bad enough that I had such a significant memory slip, but the fact that I didn’t realize the sweeper wasn’t on was even more troubling. We had a good laugh about it, and I went on with my project (this time with everything turned on). Outwardly, it looked as though my little faux pas rolled off like water on a duck’s back, but inside, I was gnawing on a question: why do I seem to be forgetting such simple and important things? So my monkey-mind immediately began rounding up all of the recent similar events to see if there was a pattern. It was like clicking the search button after entering key words: forgetfulness, stupid things, embarrassment, odd occurences, all within the last 5 years . . . click!
My mental computer didn’t seem to have much trouble with the search request. That’s the good news. The bad news is that to my surprise, the list was quite long. Of course, each little incident was recorded in minute detail so I could relive them all in my mind’s video as many times as I liked—ad nauseum. For example: there was the time I searched the house over for my glasses only to eventually find them on top of my head, which of course I immediately concluded when I glanced in a mirror. Then there was that conversation last week when I opened my mouth to speak, only to find that I had no clue what I intended to say. Hmm. I made something else up on the fly, but deep down in my heart of hearts, I knew there was definite slip-i-tude.
I was also reminded of the multiple times I’ve walked into another room to get something, only to stand there trying to re-imagine what I was looking for. I couldn’t help but think about the day I wrote an extensive list of things to get at the store so I wouldn’t forget anything. When I arrived, I realized I had forgotten the list. But without question, the granddaddy of all blunders was the day I put my reading glasses on, forgetting that I was already wearing a pair. Yikes!
If those moments of slight dementia were a common occurence with everyone, then I might not give it a second thought. The problem is that no one else seems to be “fessing up,” so it’s hard to get a good idea about what’s “normal.” It’s hard to separate out the ordinary from the legitimately worrisome. Everybody my age is either faking it as a cover, or they’ve kept their mind in better working order, perhaps doing crossword puzzles, the daily scramble, or brain teasers in their spare time. Speaking of testing the old brain, I’m even having trouble remembering the answer that Alex Trebek just read, let alone recalling the right response—and in the form of a question, no less. No way. Now that’s double jeopardy!
At the end of the day, I’m not really that concerned about all of those little miscues. With the way things are going, I know that all I have to do is wait 20 minutes and I will have forgotten about every one of them. Wait. Did I write about this last month?