Tales Of Senile Decay

goofystamp.jpgJune 18th, 2007

Dear Mum,

It started early for me. I think I was probably in my twenties when I rose early one morning to go to work, got a mug from the cupboard, put the kettle on, and then took a tea-bag from the box and threw it straight in the bin! It was going to end up there eventually of course, and my brain knew this, but it skipped the bit about actually making the tea first.

I’m sure there must be a name for it, but it’s quite different to MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment). I have no trouble remembering important things. I’m also very good at remembering people’s names, for which I use memory techniques.

But there have been so many similar instances to the one above over the years. Like the time just before I came to Cyprus when I wanted a bowl of cereal, found there was no milk, so I popped to the shop to get some, and came back with another packet of cereal instead!

My only excuse is that I’m a great thinker. And by that I don’t mean that I’m a great philosopher, but rather that I’m always thinking about something else! I’m forever doing menial tasks on autopilot whilst pondering greater issues. The trouble is, the autopilot is rarely serviced and seems to malfunction a lot. With that example above, I had little recollection of even going to the shop. I was miles away, using the time productively to think about something far more important.

I’m also constantly misplacing my watch. Wearing it doesn’t bother me in the slightest while I’m out, but as soon as I arrive home, it irritates me no end, and one of the first things I do is take it off and put it down somewhere. The trouble is, I’m never aware of doing it, so the next time I go out, I never know immediately where it is. It can sometimes take ages to find. It’s been that way for years!

Needless to say, I’ve had a few funny turns while I’ve been here in Larnaca. Indeed, there have been three of them in the last three days! I’m on a roll. And please, please, please… somebody tell me that you can identify with these, and that I’m not alone in being a complete dork!

1.  The Missing Notebook

I mentioned in my journal that I played a few songs on Friday night at the 3rd anniversary party at The Blarney Stone, a bar just off Larnaca sea front. Twenty-one songs to be precise. Pretty much a full gig’s worth.

I’d written in one of those flimsy, tear-off notebooks about 60 song titles from which to choose, all depending on what sort of crowd were there. And I put the notebook in my gig bag. The trouble was, I have two identical notebooks, and when I arrived at the Blarney Stone and got set up, I discovered that I’d brought the wrong one!

Unless I’ve got them written down in front of me, I can never remember what songs I know. There are just too many of them. Several hundred. So I figured I’d do the first of my three sets and then pop home to retrieve the notebook while somebody else was performing. Only a few minutes walk.

So I came back to the apartment. No sign of the notebook. I looked everywhere. Pretty much trashed the place trying to find it. Nowhere to be seen. Even thought about opening up the dog to see if she’d eaten it. Or at least, I did wonder if she’d picked it up to play with it and inadvertently tossed it through the balcony rails. She did it with something else a while ago.

So there I was, scratching my head and trying to figure it out. It was a bizarre problem. I’d only been writing in it just before I left. It had to be there somewhere. It couldn’t just disappear. I gave up and went back to The Blarney Stone empty-handed.

A second search of the bag revealed that I’d put the notebook in the zip-up pocket at the side of the bag, rather than inside the main body. So the first notebook that I’d found must have already been in there all the time!

I felt very foolish, but of course as soon as I found it, I remembered putting it there, and why. But it was the usual story. I obviously did it on autopilot whilst thinking about something else.

2.  Dog Training

I mentioned in a previous Letter that my faithful Pointer bitch, Cleopatra, has little road sense. So we’ve been working on it. Whenever I take her out and we have to cross a road, I make her sit, and when the road’s clear I say ‘OK’ and that’s her cue that it’s safe to cross. She’s starting to get the hang of it now. I no longer even have to tell her to sit. She does it automatically. And if I say ‘STAY’ and start to cross, she won’t move until I’ve said ‘OK’. She’ll sit there stubbornly with the lead and her neck at full stretch until she hears the magic word. It’s very funny to watch, but it may just save her life one day.

So on Saturday, once the road was clear, I said ‘OK’ and started to cross. As did the two girls who had also been waiting for a gap in the traffic. They both gave me a very strange look, as if I was some sort of nutter.

That was when I surfaced from my reverie and realised that I didn’t actually have Cleopatra with me on this occasion!

3.  Excessive drinking

I’ve been drinking a lot lately. ‘So what’s new?’, I hear you cry. But I’m not talking about alcohol. I get through two litres of bottled water a day, and two or three cartons of fruit juice.

The fruit juices in Cyprus are fantastic, by the way. So much tastier than anything you can get in the UK. And not expensive either  –  50 cents to £1 per carton. There’s a strawberry one that I’m particularly fond of. And the pineapple juice is excellent. As are the orange, apple, cherry, peach, mixed fruits etc. I love them all. So refreshing on a hot day. And I get through a lot of it. So I was dismayed to find when I got home on Saturday night that there was nothing in the fridge. All gone. No water. No fruit juice. Mental note to get some first thing on Sunday morning.

So I got up on Sunday morning, updated a couple of things on the blog, wrote some stuff on the Journal page, had a shower, gave the dog a long-overdue bath, took her for a walk, and then took her with me for breakfast on the seafront. On the way back, as I was passing one of the many small supermarkets, I remembered that I had to get some water and some fruit juice. Bit difficult with the dog in tow. So I took her home and then went out again, bought two litres of water and a small assortment of fruit juices.

I got home and opened the fridge, and stood there in bewilderment for a few seconds. For there inside the fridge was a six-pack of bottled water, and two cartons of fruit juice  –  one pineapple and one peach, since you asked!

Well, I remembered buying them of course. I’m not completely ga-ga! I’d gone out first thing in the morning, as soon as I got up, while I was still half-asleep, without any coffee percolating inside me yet  –  no water! But quite clearly my brain forgot to hit the ‘save to memory’ button.

Interestingly enough, and not for the first time, I also discovered my watch in the fridge!

Don’t ask! I don’t have the answer…


©MPB 18/June/2007


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