Remembering Not to Forget

Remembering Not to Forget

How many times a day (an hour) do I say to myself:  “I must remember to do, phone, email, organize, write, clean, clear out, cook, plan, plan for, pick up, drop off, confirm, decline, tell, not tell,”….geez, there are only so many lists of things-to-do that one can make (and then try to remember where one put the damn list(s)).  A doctor once explained the difference between senility and Alzheimer’s to me:  you can put your eyeglasses away in the fridge rather than in their case and, say, in a drawer–that’s senility, but if you look at your eyeglasses and have no idea what they are and what they’re used for, that’s Alzheimer’s.   He couldn’t have been clearer.  This weekend, as Dave and I attended the lovely, original wedding of my cousin’s daughter, three  items were forgotten, including the valise which contained my fancy dress (I wasn’t about to attend a wedding while dressed as a lumberjack!).  “Turn back,” I said, once he’d told me that my bag wasn’t in the van when we were less than 40 minutes from Gatineau, our destination.  Who forgot it?  Not important.  We each of us are preoccupied with many things.  What was important was that, as we age, our heads get more crowded with more information–crowded, beyond full–and it’s the crowding that creates the memory problem, isn’t it?   Crowding is not a comfortable state; it’s that condition of being when a previously comfortable space or spacing has become over-full, pell-mell, squinched up so much that  we seek escape.  When that squinching happens in the mind, becomes a mental state, as you might say, the escape takes the form of forgetfulness, a heaving overboard of things extraneous, things not properly prioritized in the list, things that our overfull mind casts off as if detritus…except sometimes it’s not detritus at all; it is, in fact, a priority which we failed to prioritize.  If you can follow this, you have an insight into the kinds of thoughts that consume me.  It’s not a happy place because, of course, as I age, it falls short of accurate prioritizing.  Any day now, I will stop searching for my eyeglasses, and, instead, look at them and wonder what the hell they are and what they’re used for. (As it is, I forget names faster than the speed of light, so don’t take offence if I call you “dear”.  It only means that, though I value you, I’ve forgotten your name. I forget the names of trees and flowers, too…and God knows, they’re as important to me as my own name.)

Submit a Comment