Forgetting to Remember

You know that thing where you walk into a room all purposeful and brisk because you’re going in there to get something specific? And then you entirely forget what that specific thing is the moment you set foot in the room the ‘thing’ is in and you wander about aimlessly, hoping that by beating the bounds you will remember what it is you came in for?

Then you don’t remember. And you even try that thing your mum told you to do which is to go out and go  back in again in the hope that this will do the trick, and it doesn’t. And then you look weird because you’re all ‘backwards, forwards, backwards, forwards, eh?’ And your children wonder if you’re secretly auditioning for Strictly and your husband just sighs and washes his hands of the whole affair, because he’s married to you and it’s too expensive to divorce you now.

That is my life at the moment.

I am making lists. It is the only way to get through this. The problem with the lists is that they only help with the things that are planned. Also, they only help if I can remember where I put them and remember to read them. I started putting various lists in my handbag last week in order to prompt me to read some of them when my hand plunged into my bag. It helped a bit, but when I cleaned my bag out at the weekend it looked like I’d been to a cut price wedding. It was all inky, DIY confetti all over the shop emblazoned with gnomic messages like; ‘Hair bands but not the elastic ones. Thin.’ etc.

I still haven’t got the hair bands.

The unplanned stuff is hopeless. Absolutely hopeless. People ring me and say stuff like; ‘When you’ve got a moment do you think you can do X or Y?’ and I totally can do X or Y and I agree enthusiastically, because despite my curmudgeonly persona I’m actually quite a helpful person. Then the moment passes and another moment passes and all thoughts of doing X or Y flee my brain like wildebeest running away from a lion and my memoryscape is just an empty dustbowl with fast disappearing hoof prints to show for it all.

And the words. OH MY GOD. I mean, I have always had those brain fart moments where the word I’m searching for is elusive and I end up doing elaborate mimes and over using the word ‘thingy’.  I’ve always had that thing of knowing that the words ‘ironing board,’ are not the ones I’m looking for, but feeling compelled to say them anyway, despite the fact that what I actually want is a pair of needle nosed pliers, but DEAR HOLY CHEEZUS, it is just incessant at the moment.

In the last two days alone I have failed to find the words, ‘milkshake’, ‘fridge’, ‘basketball’ and a whole host of others that have entailed me flailing linguistically around getting more and more frustrated with my own ability to track down the slippery little suckers. I may just invest in a giant pointer so that I can gesticulate towards the things I am talking about. That and a set of surreal and random flash cards for the things I don’t have to hand to point at.

The fact is that the remembering part of my brain is just all slithery at the moment. It’s driving me mad. People talk about drinking to forget. I don’t need to do this. I need an Alice like potion that allows me to drink to remember.

Make it so.


20 responses to “Forgetting to Remember

  1. Well when Jean-Luc has made it so for you can he make it so for me too. I can describe the thing to a Tee. Round, has dimples and lines running around it, you throw it through a hoop, usually a brownish orange, big in your hands, did I say round.. I don’t remember…

  2. It will return. What? Oh, that cache, store in the, you know, the thing inside your head. And then you’ll be like: Engage! Yay!

    When a noun goes off on an adventure for a while, then returns unexpectedly while I’m in an auditorium, for instance, watching some ghastly piece of ‘clever’ theatre – I will say aloud: Oh, thank God! It works on two counts 1) I am truly grateful for the word’s return and 2) the surrounding audience believes I’m being truly appreciative.

    Lots of love xxx

  3. I KNOW! Yesterday I lost my keys. I remember unlocking a shed, I saw them in my hand. But when I needed them to unlock my car – where were they? I looked over the whole house. My husband looked over the whole house. My husband explained patiently to me that having a SYSTEM [like he has] of always putting certain things in certain places means you never lose them. I retraced my steps. He retraced my steps. I had to recite chronologically the rooms I had visited since locking the shed. We went through the bins [I say we, I mean he]. I had to borrow his car key, which he tied on a thing to hang round my neck [I kid you not]. He mentioned how expensive a new car key would be. No pressure. I went to bed feeling like an idiot, an idiot with the first stages of Altzheimers [although they do say if you are worried about having Altzheimer’s then you have’t got it, ha!]. I just started to nod off when a picture of an apron floated across my brain. APRON! The one with pockets! The one with pockets that I was wearing when I locked the shed! I rushed downstairs in my PJs, hair flying, and stuck my hand in the apron pocket. Bingo! This has become my new normality. I’m 60…

  4. Ah, the menopause, so much fun. And you’re right: it’s amazing how much the word ‘thing’ can be used to describe every object, situation or person. It’s not dissimilar to when the kids were babies and I was operating on 4 hours’ sleep. But like that, this too shall pass.

  5. jenny Bertenshaw

    Oh sweetie You have all the signs of an overtired, overused brain. It has been proved that the brain can only hold seven things at once. You are trying to cram 27 things once Give it a break.
    Notepad by the phone’s with box of pens. (one always gets nicked) Pad in the kitchen (ditto) Chalk board on kitchen wall. Small notepad for handbag. I have done all those things during menopause and they work. Any promises made whilst you are without any of those things.. tell people to ‘get back to you again’.also works as you can immediately forget about whatever it was.

    As to walking into the room,and forgetting what it was. That happens to everyone. Go back to the last PLACE you were or JOB you were doing Bingo! If it doesn’t come to wasn’t important..

  6. And the awful thing is that even when you haven’t forgotten something, you’re convinced there must be something you’ve forgotten, because there usually it, so you drive yourself mental trying to remember stuff you haven’t even forgotten!

  7. I can relate to everything you are saying! I am so glad that its not only happening to me. I seriously thought I was going slightly loopy. Wait until you are singing a pop song you grew up with. You know it inside out and you are at top volume, then suddenly you have forgotten the line that comes next and a jumble of incoherent words tumble from your lips !!!

    • Yes! Although pop songs seem to be the only thing I remember now. My head is full to bursting of naff eighties hits but nary a useful thing amongst them. x

  8. Yes I do know that thing – only too well. In fact I know all the things you speak of, they have been an integral part of my life for a very long time now. I will give you a very recent example:-
    Gerry ‘Are you ready to leave?’
    Colin ‘I just need a drink, I’m parched’
    Gerry ‘We’re out of squash but there is some ummm *searches for word* Guatemala in the fridge’
    Colin goes eagerly to the fridge expecting to open the door to some miniature South Americans and llamas dancing and playing the pan pipes (the South Americans obviously, not the llamas, everyone knows they are crap with pan pipes, they can’t even manage El Condor Pasa). Imagine his disappointment on discovering that what it actually contains is a carton of watermelon drink. If you can work that one out you are in a bad way and probably need to stay home for a while.

  9. Argh! Must be so frustrating. Would setting alarms on your phone help, do you think?

  10. ‘Fraid I can’t give you any advice or comfort here.

    Once upon a time I had a memory, quite a good one as it happened. Now I am 60 not only do I need to write things down, I can’t remember where I left my memory!

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