It is widely-held belief that short-term memory loss is an affliction of aging. Not long ago, I lost my car for an hour in a vast parking lot at the mall. (There are more red cars than you would think.) But I’m convinced it had more to do with not having the habit of making a mental note of its location when I park (I hadn’t owned a car in 40 years when I moved to Maine) than a memory slip.
I was in only my thirties when, after a tedious and lengthy search, I found my house keys in the refrigerator. And there were uncountable times long before my 50th birthday, when, like nowadays, I stood in the bedroom or the kitchen or the bathroom or somewhere wondering what I was there for.
Although I do a lot of reading and writing about getting old and therefore try to pay attention to my own journey through this new land, I can’t determine if this kind of memory loss has increased over the years.
Experts disagree on whether short-term memory declines with age in healthy individuals, and some say it is not loss of memory function as much as a problem of distraction which can occur at times at any age. But this is too serious a topic for my mood this morning.
Although it is annoying, it is kind of funny as well to catch oneself standing stock still in a room without an inkling of why. Which is the reason I so enjoyed this piece emailed by my friend, Neil Thompson. Yes, yes - it perpetuates what may be a false stereotype of elders, but I laughed out loud anyway. Enjoy...
Recently, I was diagnosed with A. A. A. D. D.: Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.
This is how it develops:
I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing.
As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mailbox earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my checkbook off the table and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the study to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye; they need to be watered. I set the Coke down on the counter and I discover my reading glasses I've been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.
I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs. But first I'll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day:
- the car isn't washed
- the bills aren't paid
- there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter
- the flowers don't have enough water
- there is still only one check in my checkbook
- I can't find the remote
- I can't find my glasses
- and I don't remember what I did with the car keys
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.
Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent. Don't laugh; if this isn't you yet, your day is coming.
Growing older in mandatory.
Growing up in optional.
Laughing at yourself is therapeutic.
P.S I just remembered: I left the water running in the driveway.