Among the many books from my childhood was a Sesame Street one where Bert ties a piece of string around his finger to help his memory.* I think I tried it out for fun, but the string kept slipping off and I lost interest. No matter, my youthful mind didn’t forget much — other than when my mother told me to clean my room.
These days, I could use some help remembering things. Especially since the things I’m forgetting are sometimes bizarre.
The first sign my memory isn’t what it used to be came one morning when I was making coffee. Attempting to make coffee, rather. I lifted the lid of the coffee maker to add the grounds and discovered there were already some in there — old, used grounds. This wouldn’t be a big deal (they had dried and didn’t smell), except, favoring our espresso machine, I could not recall the last time I made drip coffee. I did remember, however, the last time I thought about making it. About a month before, we had had company over and offered them coffee. How thankful I am they declined, lest they discovered one of my less admirable homemaker moments.
I also have forgotten where things belong. We stock up on meat in our freezer and place it out to thaw in the fridge as we go to use it. I opened the veggie drawer one afternoon to find a thawed package of chicken tenders that weren’t there the day before. I have no recollection of putting them there, but at least the only consequence was we had chicken for dinner.
I’m growing to trust my husband’s memory more than mine most of the time, but he’s not immune to the occasional forgetful moment.
An example is the time he came home after picking up some groceries and couldn’t find the receipt. He thought he had put it in his sweatshirt pocket, but it wasn’t there. He checked the bags, the car, the pocket again, still no receipt. He concluded it must have fallen out, adding that he should have put it in one of the back pockets of his jeans instead. At the same time of this admission, he reached into one of his back pockets and… that’s right, pulled out the receipt.
My favorite, however, is when he pre-heated the oven and we started to smell french fries. As in the leftover ones he forgot to put away the night before and were still in the oven. He’s done the fry thing twice now. It’s so nice knowing we will grow old and forgetful together. (Unless we should be concerned about our survival since all of these incidents involve food.)
Now I know talking about getting old when we’re still in our 20s encourages eye-rolling from older friends and family. Well, we aren’t the types to lament the loss of youth and fear wrinkles, but we would like to walk into a room and remember why we went in there. The ability to be awake enough to watch a movie that won’t be over before 10 p.m. would be nice to regain as well.
Ever have someone, possibly an older relative, offer the advice not to get old? It always made me a little uncomfortable until someone broke in with a laugh and the “it’s better than the alternative” comeback. All right, maybe my husband and I will become that cranky couple, shaking our canes at the neighborhood hooligans. Or, what I like to imagine, we might be that couple holding wrinkled hands, sitting on a porch swing, still young at heart. (Even if we have chicken in the veggie drawer and leftover fries in the oven.)
*While the book is either hiding somewhere in my parents’ attic or was donated long ago, Google told me the title is Don’t Forget the Oatmeal! (A Supermarket Word Book).