Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Did I Tell You This Already?

I hate when I shower, including leg shaving, and then stand there wondering if I’ve washed my hair. It’s wet—is it clean?

My memory problems are not age-related; I’ve always had a terrible memory. Performing my job required checklists and reminders for everything but starting up the computer—that I could remember. The rest, iffy.

My husband understands this. For the first few years of our marriage we fought about things I’d forgotten: “Did you call about the ___?” “Did you remember to _____?” Eventually we worked out a system; he either did it himself, or gently reminded me (code for nagged) until whatever it was got done.

A college-aged daughter, working a summer job at my husband’s place of work, came to me saying, “Mom! Dad is driving me crazy! He reminds me of things constantly! I’m twenty years old—why does he keep treating me like I’m four?”

I thought about it and said, “He’s lived with me a very long time.”

A minute later he walked in and said to her, “Honey, don’t forget, you have a dentist appointment tomorrow so you’re going to have to drive separately to work.”

She rolled her eyes at me and told him, “I know I have a dentist appointment! I made the appointment! Why do you remind me of things over and over?”

He considered the question for a moment, then said, “I’ve lived with your mother a very long time…”

I’ve told everyone who’ll listen my dream is to publish (no, not self-publish) novels. Hand-in-hand with that is the fear that I’ll have a book signing and forget names: “Umm, how did you want me to make that out? Oh, sorry, Mom!”

Like I said, I’ve always been this way. I rehearsed and rehearsed before introducing my entire eighth-grade class to my cousin, who was joining us for a party. Somehow I made it around the entire room—all fourteen kids—and then said, “This is my cousin…” I’d forgotten her name. Only for the moment, but it was a horrible moment.

In the usual way of things, I married a man who seldom forgot anything, who seemed to have a “tickler” file in his brain that kept things forefront until they were completed and he could file them away. But now he’s experiencing senior moments and seems to have forgotten that I forget everything. He’ll say, “Remind me to put out the garbage tonight,” and I just laugh. “Sure. Hold your breath.”

What about you? An elephant’s memory? Or like me, each day is a new adventure because you can’t remember yesterday?


  1. I love that you both said the same thing to your daughter! Made me chuckle.

    My husband and three of our kids (the ones that are his in the his and hers) have the same memory problems. Me? I remember a lot of stuff. Some I wish I could forget. My family probably wishes I'd forget, too.

    But my daughters (mine in the his and hers) still remember things about their childhood that I've forgotten. Sometimes I manage to dredge up the memory file related to theirs, but not always. I tell them that I remember what is significant to me, not them.

  2. I laughed at the hair washing because this morning I couldn't remember if I put creme rinse on so I did it again and had the greasy feeling all day ! But I want to know how the Febreze spray got in the refrig today !! I think my brain just needs to be reprogramed and get rid of the old stuff - make way for the new.

  3. I sometimes forget where I'm going when I'm driving somewhere. I think my problem is an over-active fantasy life. Have you ever read "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?" It's one of the funniest stories, but absolutely true to the way my mind frequently works. A picture, a television program, a movie - even a phrase can set me off. All of a sudden I'm the fearless heroine, earth mother extraordinaire, woman in peril needing a strong (gorgeous, of course) guy to rescue me - take your pick. During the Olympics I was the ice skater who had perfected a quadruple jump, and performed it to the music of Manheim Steamroller. Tuesday evening I went to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Group at the Peace Center, so now I am (mentally) working on my dance moves while belting out an Otis Redding hit. Sometimes it's very hard to focus on the real world.

  4. I have the same problem, but I blame it on the bike wreck I had when I was eight. Really bad brain concussion... Or maybe it's the chemicals in our food because of all the plastic containers...

  5. I'm not quite like you... but it does happen sometimes that I get out of the shower, having forgotten to wash some body part or other...

  6. I think it must be a sign of brilliance. Your mind is just too occupied to focus on the mundane. Or at least thats what I told myself when I forgot I put walnuts under the broiler...