What happens to the mind? Where does it go? I wonder this on a particularly absent-minded afternoon.
On my way home from work today, I made a detour to the bank so that I could deposit a check. When I got to the ATM, I reached inside my purse and realized I hadn't signed the check. Not to worry, I always have at least five pens in there. So I reached in again. Nothing. Not a single pen. The only writing utensil I had in there was a stubby pencil attached to my little red notebook (for emergency brain-dumping and what-not!). I'm pretty sure it's not legally sound to sign a check in pencil. The bank was closed. Great. Now what? I guess I could've walked in to any establishment downtown and borrow a pen, but I just felt so stupid, I turned around and walked home. 20 minutes out of my way for nothing. How does it get to this point?
This is not the first time this has happened in recent weeks. About a month ago, I went to the grocery store and filled my cart with fresh produce, milk, frozen vegetables. When I got to the register, I realized I did not have my wallet. In my mind, I could picture it right where I left it on the kitchen counter back at home. It was one of those classic fears--coming to life before my eyes. The guy at the register felt badly for me. But he had laryngitis, so all he could do was shrug, which made things even more awkward. And then there were people waiting behind me in line. So pathetic. I had to put all of my items back and then walk home empty-handed.
There have been other instances too: losing cards, misplacing keys and sunglasses, forgetting to pay bills (I never forget to pay bills).
This might not sound like such a big deal, except: I never used to be like this. I was always so pulled together. I lived by my photographic memory. I remembered phone numbers, faces, important dates, to-do lists--all by heart. Whenever I would leave the house, I'd check to make sure I had my keys and wallet. I'd ALWAYS have a pen in my purse. And lip balm. I was always prepared for everything.
Now my mind is, as my mother would say, like a sieve. Sure, I know these lapses in memory and poise are perfectly normal as you get older (I like to think I'm just making room for the more important, genius information). So I've learned to adapt. I write lists so that I can easily keep track of what my mind has trouble holding onto. But how do you write lists for things like "pull yourself together" and "don't forget to check your list"? (What good is that little red notebook doing in my purse gathering dust?)
Let's be honest though. I'm not even so sure that mild senility is that much of a threat to my well-being at this point. At the worst it makes for a more interesting day. But geez, I'm a little curious about what I'm going to forget next.