I was pretty much zeroing in on the frozen brussel sprouts in Walmart when our carts almost collided. Her face broke out into a huge grin as she said,"Hey Patti, how are you? It's been such a long time." She then swooped in for an enthusiastic hug.
I know her--- I think.
I mean, she looks really familiar and she obviously knows me well enough to appear pleased at the encounter and want a hug. I did the usual "What have you been doing and how's the family?" --hoping feverishly there was a family.
The whole time my mind is racing. 'Who are you???'
"Hey don't be a stranger," we both eventually agreed after vague pleasantries and moved off in opposite directions.
Now I am terrier like when I hit the memory wall. I will not let it slide. So I put shopping on pause as I pushed my cart without a shopping purpose to circle the large store a couple of times with mind racing.
Garden club?? I search my mind for the faces in that club but am pretty sure that's not it. Writing club?? Naw, pretty sure not, that was a small group. Survivor group?? Not unless it was someone who only came a few times. Master Gardeners? Ah ha, I am pretty sure that is it but I continue walking with no name yet to attach to her.
It has been several years since I was an active member of the group so I resort to the A--B--C's hoping to jog my memory. This is a very effective memory prodding tool by the way. Lock the image of the person in your brain then very slowly recite the ABCs and often a letter will expose the name.
When I got to the letter L, suddenly the name burst into my brain to match the face-- Liz!!! Yes, I do remember, in fact she was actually a favorite of mine in the Master Gardeners. We had worked closely on a project several years ago. She had gained maybe 10 pounds but I had gained twice as many wrinkles and sags so I wasn't going to be absolved that easily. She remembered, I didn't. Do you suppose her being 30 years younger helped?
I have adjusted to a some of those memory blank spots these days. 'What did I come into this room for?' Remembering something I need in a store that isn't on my list but by the time I get to the general area, I have forgotten what I remembered I needed. Grrr.
That last one really irritates me but I use Bill Cosby's rule. He advocates returning to your original starting point and it will come back to you. He went a bit further convinced that our brains are in our butt for he suggested not only returning but sitting back down to reboot the memory. It does work Bill, even if you are in a store and can't sit.
I secretly am convinced that aging memory is Nature's way of making sure us old codgers get exercise. I know it makes me wander about a lot. I put in a lot of extra steps that day in the store hunting for Liz's name. And those of you who forget where you put your car in the parking lot, you really get some wonderful exercise.
I am quite good where I park my car, where my keys are,eye glasses (except that time I didn't recognize them) , appointments, etc. It is people and their names that I am really weak on. Names were never my strong suit but lately----?
I am reminded of some dear friends of mine from years ago. They were in their late 60's and we were at a party together. Wally looked at his wife and said."See that lady over there with the purple scarf? She sure looks familiar. Do we know her?"
Vesta got the giggles and said, "Don't you remember? That is Sara and she was in our memory class." Think I am getting right up there with you Wally.
Then there is the elusive word, that one you have known all your life but leaves you in mid sentence with a blank mind and stare. I got a bit tickled when my friend Sis from the second grade came to visit this summer. We are just weeks apart in age. During her visit, a couple of times each of us would hit the wall searching for "the word" and oddly the other knew exactly the missing word.
I started to laugh after one episode and said, "You know between the two of us, we might have one brain."
|THE FIRST SENIOR MOMENT|
I know, I posted this cartoon before in 2010 and I think Fishducky used it not too long ago also but to me it really brings home the consequences of a senior memory. There weren't many of you around when I first posted it, besides it fits this post and cracks me up :))
I guess if there is any consolation, it's that we are not alone. This condition is as common as wrinkles in those of us who hold an AARP card. We just have to find new tools to combat it.
Have you hit the wall yet? Do you have a handy tool to help?