ďa time in September, or was it March?Ē
In May, sometime during Eddieís gig at Buckís in Everett, I lost track of my cell phone. Iím sure I put it back in my purseís side pocket after I tried to call my husband at church, from the church parking lot, to see if he was done yet so I could follow him to the gig, having never been there before. I tried calling four times to no avail, each time, putting the cell phone back in the slot. I finally went in the church myself to find him rehearsing a few songs on the stage with a church singer for another gig the following Sunday; sheíd forgotten they were supposed to rehearse after service until he stood next to her, enigmatic Libra smile on his face.
When the next morning came and went, I opened the coat closet where my purse usually hangs and noticed the cell phone missing from its slot. I looked high and low, retracing my steps back to the í87 Mustang Iíd driven the night before to and from the church, to and from Buckís, parked in an empty bank lot nearby, no cell phone. I called Eddie to tell him, maybe he had ideas, and he called Buckís, his church friends who were in on the gig as part of the band, my church friends whom I sat with during the first set, went to the bank lot to search in person, nothing.
Itís been over two months of nothing and now, Eddieís lost his car key, the only one to the Explorer. Heíd almost lost his cell phone several times this past spring, once while bending over a restroom toilet to wipe his butt and the damn thing fell in. As with my cell phone Ė I now have my deceased father-in-lawís Ė we looked high and low for the missing car key Eddie swears he put on the counter while moving his music equipment out of the back of the car yesterday before we headed off to an exclusive million-dollar Parade of Homes.
I also got a dr.ís appt. about my allergy and what to do when the Flonase runs out (itís halfway there) for 4 p.m., so, in a fit of frustrated fury, Eddie bellowed, ďTo @%$*% with it! Iím staying home today, gotta call the locksmith, go take the appointment, Iíll watch James. ... Christ, I might as well just open my wallet and hand out money to people!!!Ē (This while I was still on the phone trying to listen to the receptionistís instructions.)
The car key, for the non-Ford SUV owners out there, will require not just a new key made but a new mini-remote to be created and programmed from the Ford people. Major dollars, in the hundreds, for the locksmith to come out here, back to the Ford dealership...
Being parents of a two-year-old toddler (who loves to push buttons on key remotes, especially that red panic button, and pretend heís driving the car with the key itself), naturally we asked James if he knew where daddyís key was. ďDaddyís keys? In pocket!Ē was Jamesí reply, as our boy happily pointed back at daddy. I looked some more with James outside, our backyard, the sewer drain (the neighborhood kids were throwing plastic wraps the Otter Pops came in in there), all of Jamesí typical hiding places, nothing. James actually looked confused, like weíd lost our minds.
Perhaps we had, the majority of it, at least, which had me recalling this funny pharmaceutical commercial airing on SoapNet a lot, selling pills to help adults, mostly parents of toddlers, remember short-term, like, where they put their car keys (answer: in babyís cereal on the high chair). For a brief five seconds, I entertained the idea of calling for more info, maybe taking said pills. But with this unknown allergy suddenly overtaking me as of last June, I canít afford further medical extravagances. Iím already on $60-a-tiny-bottle-for-two-months-worth Flonase as it is, possibly for life.
But my memory lapses have grown in strength, repetition. Itís worse than losing track of the cell phone or car keys and having to spend a fortune replacing it all.
Iíll forget a thought in mid-conversation. I have to type in notes on a near-hourly basis in order to present any sort of decent commentary on the soaps in my channeling column. Iím not kidding when I ask for help with a line of the day or a plot of the week, or what Sonny and Jason on GH were yelling about, or what Lilaís last name was, I honestly forgot. Iíll walk into a room for something specific and stand there for a half hour trying to conjure up any clue to remind me of what that something was, succeeding only 15 percent of the time, or Iíll be in a room, come to, and wonder what I was doing in that room in the first place. Iíll reach in the fridge, grab an onion, stare at it without any recognition, put it back, watch TV, remember I needed the onion for spaghetti sauce, go back, retrieve it, forget where the tomato sauce cans were. Iíll put potatoes in the oven to bake to accompany steaks Iíd marinated, get busy with gardening, the afghan, anything else, write an e-mail back to a friend about her college prospects, get so into the e-mail Iím writing that I donít remember the potatoes in the oven until theyíre charcoal briquettes. Iíll glance down at the front of my shirt at the end of the day and do a double-take at the modern food art splashed on there, by who, and how, Iíll never know. Iíll write a commentary, thinking Iím brilliant, intelligent and English-language-savvy, then proof-read it later, thinking a third-grader with dyslexia took over. Iíll rush to get ready for a family outing, repeating the requisite three times an important item, like, ďSippee Cup. Donít forget the Sippee Cup. SIPPEE CUP!Ē And the mere act of wiping my butt after a crap in the bathroom will wipe out the reminder, Iím out the door, off in the car, halfway toward our destination on the freeway whenóď!$#^%!#!!!! SIPPEE CUP!!!!Ē
Once, we were headed toward a church choir barbecue at a church singerís house, a half-hour late, when we stopped at an Albertsonís for some steaks and potato salad, leaving me in the car, engine running. I remembered I needed to go back home for the sippee cup and, whoops!, I have to go to the restroom, like, now, but as Iím getting out of the door to go, I go anyway, so I make a mental note to also pick up a clean pair of Depend adult diapers, and as I make it to the Albertsonís restroom, passing Eddie in line along the way, better add clean underwear and shorts. Plus, as I walk closer to the exit, spot Eddie at another line, in front of a Starbuckís employee, yelling, ďThey told me to move here if I didnít have produce, so you BETTER be open!,Ē I remembered the e-mailed invitation suggesting to bring a blanket to sit on in case there arenít any chairs free, there might be a crowd.
Another time, not too long ago, I was busy fixing breakfast as I usually do, James first, cartoons on the TV, mom microwaves her coffee, pours the two cups of sugar and cream in there, back in the computer room to work on columns, right? Wrong. Iím standing at the kitchen counter, pouring what I believe 100 percent to be sugar in my coffee. I then take the coffee and my soft-boiled eggs mushed up with cubes of toast (Eddieís grandmaís recipe) in a bowl, go to the computer terminal, start it up, and look down at the bowl. Thereís a small pile of sugar in the middle of the eggs.
Now, I donít remember pouring sugar meant for the coffee on top of my soft-boiled eggs and toast. I only remember seeing myself pour sugar in the coffee. Thatís what scares me. Did I leave my body and float away to Cape Cod? Did an alter take over, mischievous Coral? Did an alien invade my body that split-second, my dead grandparents, my dad, in-laws...?
Btw, did I just write that I put sugar in the coffee and accidentally in the soft-boiled eggs, soft-broiled eggs, find the jeweled powder kegs... or something else entirely, maybe I worship Fabioís pecs, instead? Help me out here. Iím forever consumed with the nagging worry that one day Iíll write something unintended, perhaps out of my roiling subconscious, Liberals rule! I pick my nose! Vaginas really do smell like rotting fish! Trumpís fish lips turn me on! and then Iíll really be in big trouble.
I canít begin to describe the utter helpless, befuddled, clueless agony that occurs when I sit there upset with myself because I cannot for the life of me get my fawkiní act together... me, who used to live and breathe by my appointment book, every errand, every appointment, even brushing my teeth, taking a shower and changing from my pjs into my work clothes, the absurdly exacting itinerary my mom and brother used to mock me incessantly about in the good ole days when I forgot literally nothing except the facts, figures and stats of my childhood, when none of that mattered compared to my job, my bills, my jogging routine and remembering to brush my teeth after every meal, and floss too.
Donít worry, Iím not completely inept, I do automatically just know by osmosis the important stuff, taking care of and loving my family in my own wacky clumsyó
--that reminds me, ha ha... Iím a total klutz, too. So put that together with my horrible memory, and prepare for a mushroom cloud of agony, not to mention slapstick enjoyment for bystanders. I have to be twice as prepared when things go wrong than the average person, be 100 times more creative and versatile when I canít find the things Iím supposed to handy (no sippee cup? just buy a take-out drink with a straw, hose the kid off later), and finding those handy things takes a million times longer when I look like Jerry Lewis crossed with Wiley Coyote trying to get to those things in record time.
I donít understand how the celebrity moms remain pristine, perfectly coiffed and manicured, designer outfits intact, not a splash of food art in sight. Iím lucky if I can sneak in a shower once a week, or go to bed without having to tend to a thousand and two different war wounds Iíd never noticed during the day, cuts in my foot, dried blood on the back of my arm, bruises on my knee, gee, I mustíve twisted my ankle trying to stand from a sitting position on a street curb in front of my house while the kids were playing basketball in the driveway, why is there dried Cheerios behind my ear?...
I could easily convince myself that Iím cursed with advancing MS or some other neurological nerve disease that causes my hands to just turn over the plate of sizzling hot spaghetti and meatballs onto my lap spilling over my white goose-down comforter in my bed after not having eaten a meal in over six hours and itís pushing 2 a.m., or that steaming cup of coffee with two cups of salt in it while reaching for the remote thatís stuck between the comforter and the sheets at the foot of the bed, or just spasming as Iím going down the stairs with a loaded hamper, a Wiggles car, seven Hot Wheels cars in both my shorts pockets, Blue of ďBlueís CluesĒ and a garbage bag full of dirty diapers balanced on the top (Rachael Ray I ainít)...
You should see my computer keyboard.
As I joke with my husband about inserting a computer chip in our remaining shared four brain cells to automatically start and drive our two cars, make verizon calls and prevent disastrous other mishaps with the blink of our eyes... Iím worried about the next forgotten moment.
My mom and brother used to always throw their hands up at my incompetent memory banks. Theyíre forever quizzing me on, ďímember when...?,Ē then rolling their eyes, sighing heavily and interjecting their typical, ďYou have a lousy memory, whatís the matter with you??Ē I canít, like my brother James, remember dates, figures and the exact temperature Fahrenheit and Celsius of the day I first pushed him off his two-wheel bike in Ft. Dix. And I canít, like my mother Connie, remember who was there and what they wore when she first met her second boyfriend, Mike.
But I can remember the smell and the feel of my first perfect bowl of spaghetti and meatballs at Pizza King in Wrightstown, N.J., circa 1975, how horrified I was when James tried to carry his meatball hoagie from Rudyís (down the street) to our booth and about two feet away, dropped it on the floor, cried in anticipation of my fatherís wrath, then cheered as the proprietor made him another one, gratis.
Or the warm, loved, tingly feeling right around my heart when Eddie told me he loved me on the phone from a phone booth in the middle of a December winter in Tokyo while doing a Flashback Legends Elvis gig over there, me in warm, balmy Honolulu, in my momís green and silver palm tree wallpapered apartment, hoving over her termite-infested cherry wood stereo shelving unit, chocolate brown phone reminiscent of the rotary dials from the Ď70s...
Yísee? I still remember a lot.
Now, did I write down the dr.ís direct line somewhere or even ask for it?
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