February 9, 2021 – Memory Loss

Have you ever thought about how much our brains are like toilets? Hang on, hang on. Don’t give up on me so easily, I think I have a valid point. What I’m trying to say is, just like a toilet, you fill up your brain with a bunch of ‘crap’, and then with one quick flush, it’s gone. That’s assuming you fill up your brain with ‘crap’, which I happen to do on a regular basis. People magazine. Crap. Reality TV shows. Crap. Game shows. Crap. Video games. Crap. Random YouTube videos about ‘funny animals’. More crap. And maybe you don’t fill up your brain with a bunch of ‘crap’. Maybe you don’t watch TV or read gossip mags or play video games, you only study languages and read books and think of ways of how to combat disease and end homelessness and produce viable drinking water in all regions of the world. Either way, at some point our brains have a tendency to ‘flush’. At some point, the knowledge of where you left your keys or somebody’s name or how to say ‘square’ in Spanish will be gone, it’s going to happen. I can assure you.

If I could only tell you how much time my husband and I spent (a couple of months ago) trying to remember our realtor’s name. How we both managed to forget it in the first place is beyond me. I can tell you this much, we got to know our realtor better than most people get to know theirs. When we purchased our current home, it was a nightmarish experience. If you’ve seen ‘The Money Pit’ with Tom Hanks, that might help you develop a greater understanding. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, pre-sale and post-sale. I’m just going to focus on the pre-sale due to time constraints. How many phone calls and emails that went back-and-forth between me and my realtor is in the dozens. We put the house under contract in early May and it didn’t close until August. Every time we turned around, the VA loan inspector was citing another ‘problem’. There were pages and pages of items throughout the house found to be non-compliant or not-to-code or hazardous.

The house was supposed to ‘close’ within 6 weeks but it kept getting delayed because of all of the issues. We had hoped to leave our home in another state and move directly into the house but because of all the unforeseen delays, we ended up living with my mother for over a month. During the 3+ months that it took the house to finally ‘close’, a phone call was made or an email was sent either from or to my realtor nearly every other day. We got to know him so well that after we got the house in pretty decent shape, we had him over for a party. But his name? I cannot remember it to save my life! It has been four years since the party but that doesn’t explain his name getting erased from my brain. When I did see him again a couple of months ago, I felt so silly. My husband and I spotted him sitting at a bar in the restaurant we were dining at and all I could remember is that his name started with an ‘R’.

What’s really fun is when you walk into a room or open a closet door and then draw a blank. Yesterday, I caught myself standing in front of the pantry closet without a clue as to why. I stood staring at a box of granola that was inches from my face and then panned all the way down to the floor to see if something jogged my memory, but nothing did. I looked at the items on each shelf but absolutely nothing registered. Napkins? Nope. Crockpot? No. Paper towels? Wrong! Fake Tupperware? Not even close! Dang it!! When something like that happens, which it often does, I just have to go back to the last thing I was doing and then the puzzle pieces fall into place. After closing the pantry door and returning to the kitchen island, where I was preparing homemade tacos, it dawned on me. Yes! That’s what I needed! A salad spinner for the lettuce!! Fortunately, that one didn’t take long to figure out but sometimes you never remember what you were looking for or where you left it.

You lucky readers missed out on my ‘cleaning out and organizing the house’ phase. Before I started blogging, I went a little bananas going through nearly ever cupboard, cabinet, closet, and drawer in my house. I donated truckloads of ‘stuff’ to the thrift store and I felt quite proud of all my organizing. The problem is, when I reorganized a lot of the stuff, much of it was relocated or donated. When Christmas rolled around and I got ready to sit down and send cards to our loved ones to let them know we were thinking of them, I couldn’t find a single one. I went through all the shelves and the cabinets in the laundry room, the rubber ‘tubs’ in the linen closet, the drawers in my office, the boxes in the guest room closet, and the cabinets in the living room. I kept saying to myself, “I could have swore I left them in the such-n-such!” After an exhausting and fruitless search, I finally gave up and bought some. I still think those elusive cards are somewhere in the house, but I have yet to find them.

Today, I had even more ‘fun’ when I tried to order Mexican food over the phone from a restaurant where no one spoke fluent English. You know all of those Spanish lessons I’ve been taking since March? They were of little to no use. I don’t know what happened to all of those words that I memorized in recent months but I think they either got ‘flushed’ or they all assembled in a part of my brain that is not easily accessible. Maybe they stood behind a piece of lead lodged in my brain? Who knows. All I can say is that when it came time to communicate what I wanted to order, it all got quite jumbled up. I started out by saying, “Dos comidas,” because I wanted to order two meals and then I said, “Carnitas.” I intended to then say what I wanted for the second meal but before I could, the lady said, “Ok. Dos carnitas. Anything else?” Ack! It took a few more tries but we finally were able to have a meeting of the minds. When I got my order, I went directly home and my husband and I enjoyed some carnitas de cerdo and an enchi-flauta combo. Gracias!

If you think that’s bad, wait until you start ‘leaving’ things in the wrong places. Someday, you’re going to pour yourself a bowl of cereal and then grab some milk out of the refrigerator, and when you go to put everything back, you’re going to put the milk in the pantry or cupboard and the cereal in the refrigerator. Or you will put an extremely important, sensitive document in a ‘safe’ place and completely forget where that ‘safe’ place is. What I find to be extremely exhilarating is when I decide to ‘take a walk on the wild side’ and cast aside my usual habit of parking in the same row in the grocery store parking lot. I don’t know about you, but I love exiting the grocery store with no earthly idea where I parked my car. I get to walk around with my remote control up in the air, going from one row to the next, continually pushing the unlock button and listening for the ‘beep, beep’. What really adds to the excitement is when I have several frozen food items in my cart and it’s an extra hot summer’s day.

Don’t think it can happen to you? Don’t kid yourself. None of us are above it. I don’t care whether you stuffed your brain full of gossip mags and reality television and video games and drank a bunch of soda or you filled it with Greek mythology and Metaphysics and Chemistry and only ate whole grains, your brain will eventually ‘flush’. It’s only a matter of ‘when’. None of us are spared from this cruel fate. Thank you so much for stopping by. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading about the variety of things I discuss in my blog. I’m no poet laureate or anyone with significant credentials to speak of but I do enjoy the opportunity to share things about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. I love to write and I try to infuse humor into everything I do, and I hope I was able to make you smile, especially if you had a really crappy day. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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