Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I remember next to nothing

     More often than not, I start out to do one thing, and low and behold, something else takes me off in a different direction, and I completely forget what I originally intended to do.
     Sound familiar? Ah, you can identify with my problem if you are a Baby Boomer or older, and it is pure rottenness to the core. Well, youngish folks often tell me they’ve had the identical experience once, and yet they quickly make light of it calling it a blip in memory. All I can say is just you wait. Your time is coming.
     What once was a clear and photographic memory is gone, gone gone faster than an auctioneer’s gavel coming down on the podium. I aced more tests and remembered telephone numbers like no one’s business without having to play peek a boo a second or third time with the phone book.
     I don’t care how many crossword puzzles, Sudokus and herbs are on the market guaranteed to keep my wits sharpened. The brain is amazing in its ability to hold me hostage.
     I tell you it’s no joking matter when forgetfulness is part of moving through a day. Memory lapse is like rowing with one oar in the water. How I remember clearly tiny bits of information from years and years ago, like my very first childhood telephone number, and can’t recall the short-term memory stuff is baffling.
     Certainly this is not an essay on Alzheimer’s or senile dementia. I don’t take the topic lightly for in my case my mother had dementia, and it was a difficult period for our family. To watch helplessly as someone steadily declines in language and memory function is not easy, and I truly appreciate caregivers.
     And what did I originally intend to write in this column?
     I wanted to try a new nail polish, chameleon, that I had seen advertised in a woman’s magazine. Sure this is a “fluflu” example, but I want to make a point before I forget. The advertisement shows how it changes colors as a hand moves in the slightest degree. That’s how my brain must be wired, too.
     I made a quick stop at our local drugstore, and it all goes downhill from there.
     Of course, I didn’t write the nail color down, and as I walked in the store I didn’t give it much thought. That’s what iPhone apps are for, aren’t they? Who’s to recall such trivia?
      All the jokes you hear are not funny when you are in the same boat not remembering where you are going down the river.
     I went in the door, turned to the right to get to the first cosmetic aisle, and  I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in ages. We talked and talked.  All of sudden my mind totally went blank. Why was I here in the first place? I looked at all the other purposeful shoppers filling their carts and couldn’t believe it. Rats.
      Wise people say to retrace your steps and relax your mind totally and it will come back. Ha. I went back outside like a fool, unlocked my car and sat down. I took a deep breath, counted to eleven and went back into the store. I noticed the clerk glanced over at me, but fortunately she was busy with a customer. Apparently, I didn’t appear overly suspicious.
     I ambled down the cosmetic aisle before stopping to grab a copy of the weekly newspaper. I remembered that I needed cotton balls, but the ones in this row were not what I was looking for so I wound down to the baby aisle for better choices.
     That took me off on a wild goose chase to the cough drops, and I selected a couple extra for allergy season. I found a basket to hold the cotton balls and cough drops, and recalled that I need to stock up on sympathy cards. Lately I have being going through way too many for comfort.
     A phone call interrupted everything, and when I noticed it was someone I must catch right then I went into work mode. No one was around and I managed to engage and finish. Thank goodness I didn’t forget what the business was about. I’ve been known to stall in my conversation until I can figure out what I am supposed to be agreeing with, or not.
     Since I totally had forgotten my original purpose, I went to check out in hopes that at the last minute when I had a line of people behind me it would come to me. (I am not one of those customers that rudely leaves the counter holding everyone up to find the missing item. The shopper returns to continue checking out without giving a look to the left or right, nor apologizing.)
     Not so. The light didn’t go on in my head. It didn’t happen. And it didn’t occur when I drove off from the drugstore. I wasted my time, gas and now I feel befuddled. My only salvation was to put the problem to rest and think about dinner.
     The very next morning after a restless sleep I woke up saying, “chameleon nail polish.”  That’s it. I reached for my phone and sent myself a note.