Monday, March 17, 2008

a lament for what's left of my mind

I am a smart person. If I were the bragging type, I would mention that I once got a perfect score on the math portion of the ACT, but I’m not the bragging type. I can write essays and grant proposals. For Pete’s sake I’m a college professor. So can someone please tell me why I’m so scatterbrained? I think it's getting worse. I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I’m showing early signs of Alzheimer’s, which I know first affects the frontal lobe where you store short-term memories—those post-it notes of the mind. Well, my post-it notes have lost all their stickiness; everything just falls off and floats away in the cerebral wind-tunnels of my airy head.

I’m not kidding. If I felt like I had any wits left, I would say I’m at the end of them. I could give you many examples, but here are two recent ones.

I’m driving the carpool to McKay’s school. Chad (our neighbor) is not ready yet and I tell his dad that I’ll pick up the 3 other kids and come back for him. I pick up the other kids. I remember at the third house that I must now go back and get Chad. I remember at the first turn. I remember at the stop sign. And then….the next time I think of Chad, I’m half way to the school and I have to turn around and go back and get him. Do I need to staple these things to my forehead?

This morning, I sent Gabie off to school, forgetting the fact that today is March 17, as in St. Patrick’s day, as in the day no child without green is safe from sadistic taunting and pinching from kids whose mothers are not suffering from holiday repression syndrome. Never mind that just before sending him out the door, I had blithely emptied his backpack of all last week’s paper detritus, noting all the little green shamrocks and leprechauns and pots of gold, and registering none of it in my head long enough to make the connection with St. Patrick’s day. Hello?

Fortunately, before McKay got dressed, he saw that I had written a big note (in green ink, no less) on the calendar to remind us all to WEAR GREEN TODAY! I immediately grabbed a green shirt and drove it to Gabie’s school. When I snuck in and asked his teacher if I could pull him out of class for just a second, she told me that he had been crying. It broke my heart. I helped him change his shirt and then drove back home, shedding a few tears of my own. I’d like to say they were green tears, but they weren’t. Just tears. And just a few since I had things to do and no time to waste. But I’m seriously at a loss as to how I can cope better with my obvious mental deterioration.

This is my brain.


Or maybe this is my brain.


And this is how I feel about my brain. At least for today.

Domenico Feti, Melancholy (1620)

12 comments:

Beth said...

Oh my goodness - such ridicule for no green? That's so sad. I am notoriously bad about remembering things like that. I'll have to write it on the calendar as well once my kids are old enough for school and holiday-related taunts.

Just wanted to stop by to say I really enjoyed your essay in Brain, Child. Really smart and SO relate-able. It was one of my favorite essays from this issue so when I saw you had a blog I figured I needed to come tell you so and read more.

Sarah said...

Google Momnesia and see what you get. You are not alone. Recently I had a book to deliver to a friend. I drove to her house once, forgetting the book. Then the next day I grabbed the book, went to an appointment and forgot to go to her house (til I was all but at my own front door.)

As for the wearing o' the green. This stuff is supposed to be fun. But its not when it is teacher mandated and child enforced.

Here's hope for the return of our brains!

Multiple Mom T said...

I am SO WITH YOU with wondering if I have early onset Alzheimer's! I was just talking about this with DH last night--it's frightening the amount of things I forget. If I don't write it down, well, it just doesn't exist! I've heard Ginko helps....

The Lazy Organizer said...

I'm so sorry. Ya, we forgot about the big green holiday too. Definitely don't go read this post because you will only feel worse.

Lawanda said...

I have the early signs of Alzheimer's too. And I am not kidding. It is a little scary. But also, I have always been a little witless... even though I, too, did very well on my ACT (although not PERFECT! *bowing*)...

Kimberly said...

I'd leave a longer comment but I just remembered something...eeep!

madhousewife said...

I've been unable to remember stuff for several years now. As in, I turn around to get something in the kitchen and can't remember for the life of me why I just turned around. I'll find myself in the general vicinity of the refrigerator and think, "Am I in front of the refrigerator because I need something in the refrigerator, or do I need something in the cupboard next to the refrigerator? Do I need anything at all? What am I doing in this room?" Usually I remember, eventually, but not always.

I didn't get really worried until one day when I was changing my baby's diapers and I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do first. Remove the diaper. Yes. Good. Okay, it's all coming back to me.

Scary stuff.

I also found you via your wonderful essay in Brain, Child. I really enjoyed your writing, so I had to check out your blog, too.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Oh, thank you for writing this post for me. You did wirte it for me right? I mean, I know I can't brag about the things you do but the rest is really all about me and my abismal attempts at thinking. I have seriously scared myself sometimes with the things I don't seem to remember. One summer I was sure I was going batty as I would write appointments down and still get them wrong (I even thought maybe everyone was conspiring against me to drive me insane by pretneding I had got it wrong when I'd really gotten it right).

My Ice Cream Diary said...

P.S. Lazy Organizer, you were right. I should NOT have clicked on that link =)

allysha said...

I've heard that giving birth causes the death of a few brain cells ~ at least that is the excuse I use...

Lisa writes... said...

I can one up you: one night a couple of years ago I was to take my son AND HIS FRIEND home from basketball practice, except (you guessed it) I forgot the friend. When did I remember? at MIDNIGHT! And yes, I did call (at midnight) and yes, he did make it home, and yes, his parents have allowed me the privilege of taking him home from practice again, but not without much teasing (and deservedly so).

mindy said...

You still beat me--I didn't remember it was St. Patrick's Day until after lunch sometime.

I just read your article in Brain, Child. Well written and so true! I'm a BYU alumnus living in Provo, so we're practically neighbors!