One particular diatribe with my interior self found me on South Shingle Road, picking up lunches for Conor and Birdy and passing by Lee’s Feed. “Remind me to pick up some pig’s ears for Conor!” Huh? That engendered a few giggles. “Ugh, I mean for Skipper.” Skipper is our dog. But I’m sure you can deduce that without me. Brain death approaching, I catch myself. Why can’t I get these kids’ names straight? Thinking about Conor chewing on pig ears really lit up the day. I’ve caught that contagion of my parents’ own brain damage. I remember the litany of names called out by Bob and Sally when they were thinking about something else, but wanted our attention; Deep in a place obviously somewhere else but trying to be present, it’d go a little something like this: “Tammy, Terry, Tricia, Teddy Bear? Whatsurname?” Drat. We’d give my mom the same blank stare. “Ugh, that’s the dog, mom, I’m the oldest…Tammy…remember?” “I know that!” she’d reply in exasperation. “I just get so mixed up sometimes!” It’s not exasperation. I know for a fact that until the caffeine is pulsing through my arterial system, I’m just not gonna make any sense in the AM and the kids’ names are gonna be fair game before 5 PM because in the real world of middle age, the brain synapses are just beginning to fire around dinner time. I honestly think the profitability of the entire nation would go through the roof, if our day started around noon.
Last weekend, I was inducted into the honor society at Folsom Lake College and the president of the college called us “the brightest of the bright”, my kids were choking back the loud chortles, while my husband held back tears. I could just hear him thinking out loud “so that’s why the housework is a little behind, and I cook more than she does now.” Honestly, it was embarrassing. I wanted to congratulate the other 4 people standing with me (who were all under the age of 21) except there was two other people around my age and I wanted to ask them, “Do you forget your kids’ names ever?” I just stood there, thinking I hadn’t yet had my morning coffee and I was starting to fade. It’s tough. Maintaining a high grade point average doesn’t always mean perfection in the day to day. I’m always a work in progress.
I’m convinced that the answer to this early dementia is to play more cards on line. It is an idea that I got from my Life Span class, learning about the Mankato nuns and the brain studies they’ve done on them. Apparently, they’ve avoided dementia and Alzheimer’s by playing cards, doing puzzles and crosswords. I really like spades. I also will indulge in a little Sudoku now and again. Today, while on Yahoo games, my card partner hurled some insult at me and I laughed. “Yeah, go eat some pig ears…I haven’t had my coffee yet.” That shut her up.