Creeping Absent-Mindedness

Do you find yourself forgetting things?  Do you forget words that you’ve known all your life?

I notice that sort of thing happening to me lately, though, to be truthful, I can’t say it’s anything new.  I’ve been a forgetful sort all my life and I’m glad to say my son is carrying on the family tradition.

Even as a small kid he might come home without his new jacket.

Where did you leave it?  

Eh …

Maybe it’s just something genetic.  I don’t know, but it happened to me today again.  I was caught up in the middle of something when when it crossed my mind that I needed a particular book, so I jumped up and headed for the stairs.  (That’s where I keep my little library).

Wait a minute.  What am I looking for?  Why am I standing here? 

Shit.  I stand forlorn as the coloured cog-wheels in my head mesh and grind.  Go back, they say.  Return to the place whence you came.

And so I did, and so I immediately remembered precisely which tome I required, where it was on the shelf and even what its ISBN number was.

No, that last bit isn’t true.  I made it up.

But to return to the difficulty, let me ask you this: is it just me or does everyone have senior moments? Do you forget things?  I do it all the time these days.  I forget words.  I forget the names of things.  Sometimes, I even forget the names of the people I’m sending my henchmen to assassinate which is not a good development.  I’m a decent man and it isn’t in my nature to assassinate somebody who doesn’t deserve it.

But, em, ah, eh, what were we talking about again?

Oh, yeah.  Forgetting stuff.  Well, you see it isn’t easy to stay focussed when your horizon extends beyond five seconds, and that’s why I bought a goldfish. We seem to be in perfect harmony, this little piscean friend and I.

One thing you can say about goldfish: they don’t hold a grudge.

Sharks are an entirely different proposition, as anyone who read or watched Jaws will tell you.  They’ll track you down and kill you on the spot like the dog you are just for looking at them crooked.  They have no respect for God nor man, although in fairness to sharks, most of the time they won’t follow you in packs across the ice of the frozen arctic waste.  No. That’s not really a shark thing and besides, they do tend to forget what they were doing, most of the time.  Unless, of course, you happen to be sitting in a small fishing boat sharing stories of how you acquired horrible scars on your leg.  When you do that sort of thing, you can expect to be assaulted by a gigantic, homicidal shark but it doesn’t happen all that often.

Not really.

You see?  I’m losing track, and not only that. I can’t even remember the point I was trying to make.

Years ago, when I was a child and I couldn’t remember my point, my mother had a simple answer: it was probably a lie.  But would I lie to you?  Of course not.  I’ve never lied to you in all these years, though I might well have cursed at you.

We were talking about forgetting, so I suppose it might be no harm to keep discussing the act of misremembering, but to be honest with you I don’t want to.   It was just one of those random posts where you blurt out whatever is on your mind, or in this case, what isn’t on your mind, since it’s a post about being utterly absent.

Or to put it another way, this is about forgetting the utter nonsense we’re subjected to these days.  Complete, unadulterated rubbish. Sometimes, an empty head isn’t such a bad idea.



12 thoughts on “Creeping Absent-Mindedness

  1. You’re not alone. As we are of a similar vintage, I can assure you that I’ve been absentminded all my life. While it can be slightly embarrassing at times, I see it mostly a feature that’s part of creativity. Our minds drift slightly out of focus and sideways when our ordinary chores over- or underwhelm us.
    So enjoy every lost thread, absent working memory, etc. as long as we’re aware of it, I don’t think it’s a problem.

  2. This kind of thing happens to me all the time. I can remember it happening back when I was about 4, being sent upstairs to get a towel to mop up something I spilled. The first time I came back with some soap. The second with some toothpaste. The third time my ma gave up waiting for me after 20 minutes because I was “accidentally” shaving. Just last week the missus sent me up to Dunnes to get something. Can’t remember what. I came back without it, but with a bagful of other stuff. So she sent me up again and I only remembered what she wanted after I was pulling out of the dunnes carpark for the second time. I think (hope)? it’s normal and just a sign that you have too much on your mind.

  3. However ” well trained ” a brain is, we still have to cope with 100 billion neurons connected to over 1000 bil neurons, not all firing at the same time and deciphering the transmission and processing speed of function.

    Such a highly sophisticated piece of ” kit ” will most likely discard what our unconscious has deemed irrelevant, then our conscious tries to overide it and makes us feel ” forgetful ” something along the lines over overprocessing competing with transmission speed.

    Slightly off topic but i once read where Germaine Greer in explaining the fairly rabid mood swings of menopausal women said that Menopause was natures somewhat ironic gift to women so that they could ditch the routines of earlier years, all that giving and nurturing and become consciously intolerant so as to focus on their own needs and wants prior to the onset of old age, her advice was to use the Menopause wisely ! don’t know how that works for men but i would think you are definitely not alone with forgetfulness, i sometimes wake up in the middle of the night wide awake because something i forgot has invaded my sleep.

  4. Don’t go to the doctor about it. I did that in June.

    ‘What age are you?’ he said.

    ’51’, I said.

    ‘It’s your age’, he said, ‘Now, let’s do a few other checks while you are here . . . .

  5. You’re OK Bock…. its when you did’nt remember you did’nt remember that you’ve got a problem.

  6. I have had a few friendly telephone calls from the ESB lately. They confirmed what I thought I was imagining myself. Likewise, I find myself occassionally forgetting names of people with whom I am quite familiar which is embarassing to say the least. Like stiff knees or the proliferation of nasal hair, Im hoping its just part of the quickening gallop into old age and nothing more sinister.

  7. Your not alone Bock.My greatest problem is meeting people in the street and not being able to remember their names,or going out to the car and thinking what the fuck have I come out here for.Like tonye said its one of the great unknowns in life,like hair from the top of your head suddenly appearing in your nose and ears.

  8. Do you think Sean Brady remembers taking his vows as a young priest, does he remember playing God with children and does he remember what a bollix he is every time he looks in the mirror?
    Forgetting to put the cat out or the book you went to fetch…I wouldn’t worry too much about that– probably too much other stuff going on in your head. It’s forgetting the really big things— that would be more worrying.

  9. Today, I forgot it was this week. I thought it was next week. It was a very unpleasant surprise to discover that today was only this week. Perhaps it was my subconscious hoping or pay-day.

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