This morning, like almost every morning, I looked through the pages in my date book, to review what I have to do this week. I noted the days and hours I have to work. I’ve recently added a new part time job to my schedule, and my days at the hardware store have changed. That has forced a change in the day that I volunteer at the re-sale shop. It’s wise to have it all written down, so that I know where and when to show up.
I copied a note to myself about ordering Christmas cards onto a post-it note. I stuck it onto the computer, so that I’ll remember to actually do it, before the season is over. For tomorrow, I wrote a reminder to call the pharmacy to refill my prescriptions. and to call the County Clerk regarding my property taxes. I added a line about filling out the paperwork for house insurance. The forms have been sitting on the table for a week, now, after I finally remembered to download and print them. Insurance and property taxes used to be held in an escrow account; that changed when I paid off my mortgage. Two more things I have to remember to deal with!
Remembering hasn’t always been such a struggle for me. I have, in fact, always taken pride in my good memory. I could memorize a string of historical facts, numbers, or dates quite easily. I could recite long pages of poetry or prose without having to refer to the printed pages. I kept whole lists of telephone numbers in my head; as well as a string of important addresses. Not anymore!
For a long time, I was the one to come to for family history, or to get our childhood memories straight. Lately, I’m not so sure. I still think I remember, but sometimes I have doubts. I find myself saying, “I believe so,” or, “that might be the way it happened.” I’m just not sure.
Standing in the kitchen one day, surrounded by my dogs, I noticed something on the floor. I reached down, picked it up, showed it to the dogs, identified it, “guitar pick,” and put in on the shelf. At two o’clock in the morning, I woke up to the troubling realization that I had it wrong. As I sat up, and the dogs stirred, I told them, “that wasn’t a guitar pick; it’s a golf tee!”
I tell this story often. I think it’s an almost perfect self-deprecating anecdote. It touches on my fading memory combined with very old-lady-ish conversing with the dogs. It makes me smile, and it usually gets a laugh. It’s a good illustration of the tricks the mind plays as I get older. The truest example, though, comes when I tell this story, and I see a particular look on the face of whoever I’m talking to, that’s lets me know they have heard it before. And I forgot that I already told it to them.
Maybe I’ve already told it here, too. It could be that you’re reading it for the second or third time, politely pushing through with a slight, knowing smile as your eyes glaze over with boredom. It’s possible. I just don’t remember!