Memories Light the Corners of my Mind


I used to be good at remembering people’s names and remembering to use coupons before they expired. Now I am lucky if I can find the coupon when I am at the store.

Today, at CVS, I checked out and was given a long receipt with $6.00 of extra bucks on it. My new rule is to spend the extra bucks right then and there so that I won’t forget about them. I went back and found Campbell’s soup on sale, three cans for $3.00. I went to the same check stand  with six cans, and this time the receipt printed out with two more extra bucks on it. I turned around again and got in line to buy three candy bars on sale.

The line was longer this time, so I chatted up a guy in line about Idris Elba, who was on the cover of People magazine as the sexiest man alive.  A second checker opened up and called us over, but we were in the middle of a discussion. I chose to ignore the second checker and continue my conversation.

Really, where else did I need to be? I’d already scored the second to last copy of the Sunday Chronicle, and now stood there to buy three candy bars, my son’s favorite – Snickers.

It got me to thinking about how different your life can be in your sixties. You’re not in so much of a hurry. It’s better to chat than to beat three people in line behind you to the second checker.  You need to enjoy what is happening around you.

The man, who agreed that Idris Elba was a big switch from last year’s Blake Shelton as the sexiest man alive, shifted uncomfortably in line ahead of me. He had his two toilet brushes, his mineral salts and a couple of other things on the conveyor belt. The woman in front of him had too much perfume on, and her coupon wouldn’t work because she’d only bought $9.00 worth of pain reliever when the coupon said $15.00. A line of seniors, the slowest line ever.

I got to thinking about stuff that happened these past months that are new for me.  One was seeing a woman over and over at dancing venues and not being able to remember her name.

“Laurie!” she said the last time we had a conversation. “How many times do I have to tell you?”

Laurie is younger, maybe in her late forties or early fifties. We were always friendly until that last time I asked her her name again.

“I’m sorry,” I said.  What I wanted to say was, “Wait until you are in your sixties and you can’t remember anything.”

CRJS – that’s what my friend Janet calls it, Can’t Remember Jack S**t.

It’s true, I used to pester my relatives for their forgetfulness, and now I am one of them. Aging is a cruel joke, not for the faint of heart.

Words escape me. I was trying to remember jade plant and all I could come with was jasmine. I had the first two letters right, but I couldn’t get jade. An hour later, the word popped into my head.

Trying to remember the woman who played the lead female role in Titanic?  Kate.  . . Kate  . . . she was in a movie with Idris Elba too, where their plane crashed in the mountains, and they didn’t like each other and then they ended up falling in love . . . what was the name of that movie? I mean her last name?

Or when I see someone in town that I know and I can’t remember their name since it’s been five years since I’ve run into them, and their kid was on a sports team with one of my kids . . .

It’s embarrassing. I could never be a politician. I don’t have the memory for it. It’s bad enough when I am writing and looking for that perfect word, and it’s in there, and I am so close, but I can’t get it.

Early Alzheimer’s or regular aging? It’s scary either way.

The neurologist told me I had non-specific white matter in my brain after a CT scan she ordered for me because I couldn’t feel my heel when I stepped down. It turned out to be plantar fasciitis, not MS.

“What does that mean?” I asked her. “Non-specific white matter?”

“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “Come back to see me in two years.”

Come to think of it, I forgot to do that, too.

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