But Who Remembers?

Jan King Talk of Tysons

It’s true that having an elderly parent presents many challenges. However, there’s also a lot of laughs because at some point they totally lose their P.C. filters. (And yes—some never had them). Also, an older parent keeps you humble. My dad is 99 years old, still mobile, and resides in the memory care unit of Vinson Hall, called the Sylvestry. And even though his short-term memory is completely shot, he still maintains a remarkably happy life.

During our most recent visit, out of the blue my Dad said to me, “Jan, how old are you?”

“I turned 72 in August, Dad.”

“REALLY?” he exclaimed incredulously. You’re THAT OLD?”

“Dad, YOU’RE 99 YEARS OLD,” I shot back. “What the heck do you think…you have a 25 year old daughter?”

That tickled him and a devilish smile appeared on his face. Then, we both had a good laugh. I lied. Actually he laughed more than I did.

But, you know something that’s scary/ funny? Many of us past 60 are beginning to drive our Model T’s down Short Term Memory Lane, making several wrong turns.

Case in point: Last week I bought a really cool new pair of hot pink exercise tights and coordinating top to wear while working out on the treadmill at the gym. As a serious athlete, it’s imperative that I keep myself physically motivated by cute clothes. When I got home, I peeled them off and tossed them in the washer and dryer. The next day, I wore them to yoga class. As I was attempting to do an impossible yoga posture that was also probably illegal, my hand felt a big lump on the back of my thigh. I thought, “what the hell IS THAT?”

The question became how many people had witnessed me prancing around the gym with a wad the size of a grapefruit in my pants? Did anybody think it was a renegade Depend? Lucky for me the yoga studio was kept in semidarkness to enhance a tranquil atmosphere and hide the dirt on the mats. So I surreptitiously pushed the wad slowly down my leg toward my ankle and OMG, fished out a pair of underpants! They must have gotten stuck inside my tights in the dryer.

At first, I tried hiding them under my yoga mat, but it made a suspicious lump that could be mistaken for a taboo bag of marshmallows. So I rolled them up in my yoga towel. Upon leaving class, I stuffed them in my coat pocket and forgot about them. But, the next night in the gym, when I went to reach for some tissues in my coat pocket, I pulled out—you guessed it—the underpants. Apparently, I have become a victim of my own underwear stalking me.

If that was just an isolated incident I’d chalk it up to some harmless physiological malfunction like an exploding aneurysm. However, I’m experiencing a bunch more of these “brain farts” with greater frequency. Don’t lie, I know you’ve had them too. Here’s just a few:

  • Going out in my new sweater with the TJ Maxx price tag still hanging down my back.
  • Driving into the Giant supermarket lot, going in to shop, and coming out totally clueless as to where I parked my car. If I didn’t have the ability to make my car honk or flash the tail lights, I might, like Moses, spend years wandering through the asphalt terrain.
  • While performing the downward dog in yoga class, I shockingly catch sight of the white cotton crotch of my tights, signaling I’m wearing them inside out.
  • Searching for my sunglasses for a good 30 minutes, only to realize they’re perched on top of my head.
  • When somebody asks me for my phone number and I totally draw a blank. The expression on my face is the same as when somebody puts their dog on the phone.

Okay, admit it. You’ve done at least some of these things. So, here’s my diagnosis and recommended course of treatment:

  • If you’ve done ONE—don’t worry, you’re just distracted at the moment.
  • TWO—blame it on last night’s three glasses of Chardonnay mixed with Melatonin.
  • THREE—run, don’t walk to CVS and get some CoQ10 and Prevagen, the brain food made from jellyfish. Yeah, that oughta’ help.
  • FOUR—Maybe a mild course of electro-shock therapy.
  • FIVE—sign up for a room at the Sylvestry next to my Dad and me.

Okay, that’s all I can remember to tell you. See you in the Arts & Crafts room! 🙂