Saturday, June 9, 2007

A mind is a terrible thing to lose

There are days I have trouble remembering things. Sometimes it's relatively little things like where I put my keys or glasses. On other occasions I have trouble recalling where I parked my car. It kind of scares me when I realize the high pitched squeal I'm hearing in the back of the house is the tea kettle I left on HI in the kitchen. Oops!

I've heard from a lot of people recently that forgetting is something that goes along with the agin process. It has been explained away by stress, menopause, medications, misfiring brain synapses and, of course, the one thing all of worry about, early onset dementia. I'm glad to know it's not just me. That little piece of knowledge doesn't help me find things, but it's good to know I'm not alone in my forgetfullness.

I read an article in Newsweek that there is a test that can determine if you have Alzheimers. The point being that if you start medication as soon as possible you can slow, not cure, the disease. I've thought about asking the doctor for the test; then I wonder if a)I really want to know or b) would I just forget it anyway? I also think there could be danger in just putting that fear out in the universe. If the law of attraction works, I'd rather attract the winning lottery numbers than know the numbers of my DNA profile.

This past week, I had an experience that helped me determine once and for all that I either need to start writing notes to myself and pin them to my blouse or bite the bullet and clean out my purse. Writing notes to myself is not a new thing. For one thing, I love notebooks, journals, and little pads of paper. My daughter knows this (and, sadly, has developed some of the same symptoms of my paper addiction). She is one of my biggest, and best, suppliers. She also encourages the notewriting by including a list of her "Top Ten Movies of the Year" and "Things That Moved Me" list in her Christmas card every year. I've plagarized this list making, so naturally I need a place to keep track of the things that move me. There's not a chance in a million I'll remember from January to December, no matter how moved I am.

I've chosen for this project a small notebook, encircled with a red rubberband, that fits nicely into a pocket in my purse. Fits nicely, that is, if I remember to put it there after I'm finished jotting down my thoughts. As paper pads go, this one is not at all fancy; it is functional. There are no pretty pictures, quotes or inspirational sayings to trigger wordy entries. When I open this notebook (don't tell anyone but sometimes, I manage to do this while driving) I've got to "git 'er done"!

One day last week, my sweetie was parking the car for quick trip into Barnes & Noblle when I noticed the car in front of us had a terriffic bumper sticker. It made both of us smile. It had a picture of a red Heart-man with out-stretched arms and a big smiley face. "This is your brain on hugs" was the message. I get all happy just thinking about it now.

Well, as we go into the book store Sweetie asks for something to write on. (I might add here, that if I had cleaned out my purse like he suggests on a regular basis, I would not have been carrying a pen or piece of paper and he would have had to scratch out his thoughts on an old candy wrapper we picked up of the van's floorboard.) I reached right into my purse full of goodies and handed him the aforementioned notepad. He drew something on it and handed it back to me.

And that's where the memory stops. I couldn't tell you what I did with that thing if I was duct taped to a straightbacked chair sitting under a bright light. I know this because a few days later I had something important to write in it (kissing woodpeckers) and I couldn't find it.

Thus the search was on. I looked through/under/around everything in my purse. I went to both cars and stood on my head to get a full view of what was under the front seats. I went to the Lincoln and did the same thing. All to no avail. I checked the pile of papers on the table next to where I sit, the basket full of papers next to where I sit, and the kitchen counter. Nada. I rechecked all those places.

I accused my sweetie of misplacing the notebook. I considered strip searching my father and blamed the dog for letting a notebook thief into the house. I was slowly going crazy. Like a sore with an uneven scab, I kept picking at the edges of my memory wondering where the damn thing might be.

It's not as if it was valuable to anyone but me. Who else would need to know the things that moved me in 2007? It became a matter of principle. I really believed I had not misplaced the thing, that it was going to show up. I was having no luck proving this to myself.

I prayed to St. Anthony. I called the Bird Vet, Roadhouse Grill, and Mammogram clinic begging for someone to check their lost and found boxes. No luck. I noticed my sweetie standing on his head inspecting the under side of the car seats. (God bless him, he even emptied the trash can of it's fast food litter.) Still nothing.

So I gave up on it. I threw my hands in the air and gave up the search. There comes a time when a person has to accept defeat. Feeling dejected but lighter somehow without the weight of forgetfulness on my shoulders, I joined my dad and sweetie on a trip to Lowes to look at new kitchen designs. Then we went to Steak and Shake. And that's when it happened.

I opened my purse, and yup, I caught the slightest glimpse of the notebook's red binding. Unable to contain myself, I let out with an enthusiastic "Woohoo!" I found it!" It was there all the time, right where I put it. I confess I accused my companions of being in cahoots and setting fire to my very short fuse, but both denied ever touching my purse or the notebook. They looked so innocent, I had to believe them.

Here's what is pretty incredible. I've had this same purse for about 18 months. I never even knew it had a pocket in the side behind the pocket I knew about. It's not like I found a hundred dollar bill, but still I was pretty happy. I love that notebook. Now all I have to do is figure out a way to keep from losing it again.

This afternoon I was reading an article in the July/August issue of the AARP Magazine. It was entitled "50 things you need to know by 50." Number 9 on their list is "Find Your Keys" and it was suggested by Michael Solomon, findologist. Findologist? Where has this man been all my life?

I believe there is a silver lining to every dark cloud. I'm just kind of wired that way. I didn't lose a notebook, I found a new pocket in my purse. If I am losing my mind, well, hey, there's a findologist out there I can call to help recover it!

Merry ME

P.S. In case you are interested "#9. Find your Keys. Do you usually put your keys on your desk, then grab a snack? Look for the keys in the pantry. See, life is full of routine motions; items get lost when wires get crossed. To stay on targer while you search, repeat (out loud) "keys, keys, keys." If all else fails, look in your car. Cars are the Bermuda Traingels for lost stuff." Pg. 53

1 comment:

Anti Jen said...

You are not losing your mind. The phenomenon behind your experience (finding something in a place where you have already looked) has been well documented in various forms of science fiction. Most specifically in the 80's version of the Twilight Zone, there was an episode based on the theory that every moment in time is constructed by a cosmic (yet fallible) construction crew. This crew sometimes remembers to put your keys where you left them, and sometimes they forget. If they notice their mistake, they may put your keys back in the following, newly constructed minute. The same issue was central in Stephen King's Langoliers. In fact, both shows were muddled in my memory as one episode of Tales from Darkside but my hubby and my brother set me straight on the details...