Jan's Blog Flower



Now reading . . .

"Journey into the Whirlwind"
by Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg

by Karin Muller

"The Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

"High Fidelity"
by Nick Hornby

Friday, January 12, 2007

Living In a Parallel Universe

One of the aggravating things about living a long time is that your memory becomes clogged with minutia and the things you want to remember are no longer quickly accessible. I once saw an ad for a T-Shirt (probably in one of the airline shopping magazines), with this printed on the front:

In My Next Life I’m Having More Memory Installed
I guess you have to be a computer person to really appreciate it. Of course if you are reading this you are a computer person.

Along with age comes the inability to recall nouns, especially proper nouns. Mmmm and I (and I assume a number of other people) have discovered a parallel universe of language. Instead of naming the object we describe it! It works! Today Mmmm asked me to hand him “That multiplier thing.” And I handed him a calculator. When one can’t quickly recall the word “scissors,” saying, “That thing that cuts,” or just making the motion of a scissor cutting will do too. This may just be a coping mechanism, but why not?

Names are harder. I will have to say that Mmmm has always had a hard time remembering names. In the past I was very good at names and remembered most of the names of the three or four hundred women in my classes. Those days are long gone though. There are two women whom I have known for perhaps twenty-five or thirty years and I still call them the wrong names. I call Dorthea, Marietta and I called Marietta, Dorthea! They don’t look alike, talk alike, walk alike or act alike! Perhaps their mothers gave them the wrong names at birth.

There are some strange things that stick in my mind. Why would I remember that in 1949 the telephone number of the Lulhaven Bar in Glendive Montana was #1? Of course the fact that I was a telephone operator there would account for that. I can also remember birthdays fairly well and I have a head full of trivia that is absolutely useless. Perhaps I am already living in a parallel universe rather like Alice in Wonderland.

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