I’m going prematurely senile. I know, most people my age joke that little joke, only half joking. And doctors on TV say that it’s okay, just brain farts, nothing to worry about. I talk to my doctor about it, and he asks me what day it is, who the president is, and tells me to start counting in threes backwards from 100. When it becomes clear that I can still do that, he, too, tells me it’s okay, just brain farts, and there’s nothing to worry about. I hope so, but sometimes I seriously wonder. Am I really going prematurely senile? From lack of physical activity? I hope not. But if so, consider this my first installment in the diary of a fading mind.
Ten things I hate when they happen:
1. Stupid: Packing the dishwasher at night, so everything is clean the next morning. Except I forget to turn the darn thing on.
2. Classic, as in my grandmother used to have this: looking all over for glasses I’m already wearing.
3. Goofy. Putting cream on my feet in the morning, and then putting on socks under capri pants and in my crocs, which looks absolutely ridiculous, but gives the cream more time to do its work, and driving my kids to school, thinking that I will remember to take my socks off in the event that I have to get out of the car. Silly me.
4. Bizarre: I know my street number. Really, I know where I live. Most of the time. I was having a very nice tea (scones and all) at a friend’s house. She had invited another friend, who lives on the same street as I do. On number 170 (or something like that; I don’t remember exactly.) “Oh,” I said, that’s right by me. I live on 200.” It didn’t sound quite right, and a bit later I corrected myself. “Gee, I’m really losing it. I don’t live at 200, I live at 600.” Later I drove home, where we have a plate with the house number on it in nice, clear, big-enough-t0-see-from-the-street-in-the-dark digits: 500. Oh boy.
5. Sleepy: Finding myself about to put deodorant on my toothbrush.
6. Neglectful: this actually happened several years ago, when I was still in my forties. It was the beginning of a new school year, with a new schedule. I would drop my daughter R off at language therapy at 7:15, then drive on to take my son to school, and come back to pick R up from language therapy at 8:30 and take her to her school, where she would then only be 15 minutes late. So I dropped off R, took my son to school, and thought, “Ah, freedom, at last, after three months of vacation, free at last,” and I went on a leisurely shopping spree at Target, mainly to kill time until Hobby Lobby opened up at 10. It was about 9:30 when I walked across the Target parking lot, with this odd feeling. Then two things hit me at once. I had forgotten to turn the sound on my phone back on the evening before, after going to the movies, and I had forgotten that R was still at the language therapist’s. So while I was blithely strolling the aisles of Target, the language therapist–due at a school herself after having R until 8:30–called me, and when I didn’t answer, she called T, who was a 6-hour drive a way. He called me, also to no avail, then called R’s school, where they hadn’t seen or heard from me, then he called the police, who told him to call all the hospitals, which he was just in the process of doing when I called him to say I was okay and on my way to pick up R. And of course R was totally shocked that I would forget her and didn’t let me forget it for several months.
7. Dangerous. Mistaking a road to the left for the road to the left a little farther on–the one with a left-turn lane. (Luckily oncoming traffic had a red light, so when my 12-year-old daughter pointed out that what I was standing in was not actually a left-turn lane, I could quickly get back to my side of the road, where I spent the time to the green light wanting to sink into the floor mat. )
8. Bloody scary: leaving after spending an entire evening with a good friend, and telling the kids to say goodbye . . . and hopefully realizing just before saying “to,” that I have momentarily forgotten his name. (It came back to me thirty panicky seconds later, but boy, were those long seconds!)
9. Slow to adapt: Putting the groceries in the back of T’s new(ish) Toyota Corolla, and then reaching with my hand above my head, trying to close the hatch of my Honda Odyssey. Then looking furtively around, hoping nobody has seen what must look like a weird obsessive-compulsive tic.
10. Just kidding: Seeing my husband walk in the door, grabbing a baseball bat and asking him, “Who the hell are you and wtf are you doing in my house?” Like I said, just kidding . . . so far.