Yesterday morning, I was up early, as usual. I made my coffee, and then settled down to read the very good book that I am currently reading. In the book, the narrator — a young woman assistant to the brilliant detective — says to herself, “I made a mental note to schedule an appointment for my boss.”
I stopped reading, and looked up from my book. The assistant detective’s statement stopped me dead in my tracks. The reason I stopped reading was that I realized that I no longer can make a mental note to do anything. Well, that’s not entirely true. I can go ahead and make a list of mental notes a mile long. But within 15 minutes, each so-called mental note has gone the way of every mental note I’ve made for the past three years. I can hold on to information for about three minutes, and then it flies out of my brain like a falcon leaving its cage in a circus.
As a result of my inability to hang on to a thought, I now have to write a note to myself if I have two timers going at the same time. Phone timer is for the pot roast; stove timer is for the brownies. You see, I can make a mental note and I will turn off the brownies in two hours and turn off the pot roast in 40 minutes. The brownies will be burnt to a crisp and the pot roast will be raw and tough.
I don’t have dementia, at least not yet. I know where my keys are (as long as I’ve remembered to put them back where they belong) and I remember the names of my husband and my siblings. I know which kids belong by blood to Bill and which one belongs by blood to me. I just don’t remember what day they told me they need me to babysit.
The other day, my brother Dave was visiting us. He and Bill were smoking cigars and we were talking about the kinds of movies we like. “I like movies that don’t require you to think too much,” said Dave, who still works full time and is very tired when he comes home. He wants to watch a movie that you know is going to end with the hero shooting all of the bad guys and has no moral.
“I agree,” I told him. “That’s why I don’t like movies like…..” And then I couldn’t remember the name of the movie. Here is a snapshot of what followed….
“You know, it’s a spy movie. The star is that guy. You know that guy who is the friend of that other guy. The other guy was in that one movie that we like. You know, the one where he saved all those people’s lives. He and that guy were in their first movie together. The movie had sequels. The plots are really complicated and hard to follow. You know. He is from Massachusetts.”
By this time both Bill and Dave were looking at me like I was nuts. I got up and said, “I’m going to find out what I’m talking about.”
“Good luck with that,” said my brother. “I don’t even know what you will google.”
Well, Smart Alec. I was able to figure it out. It would probably have been impossible except, as it happened, the other guy’s name popped into my head: Ben Affleck. And then it all fell into place.
Matt Damon. Friends with Ben Affleck. Both from Boston. First movie was Good Will Hunting. Affleck was in Argo, the movie where he saved all of the people working in the American Embassy in Tehran. The complicated movie was The Bourne Identity, starring Matt Damon. It had sequels. I found them too difficult to follow. I like easy movies like Beauty and the Beast.
So, no mental notes. Mental notes have gone the way of swim suits.