Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Consequences of Old Age Memory Loss

I can’t even remember how long it’s been. I’m not talking about rolls in the hay or being falling down drunk. The last time for either of those rang absolutely no bells when they were fresh. I’m talking about putting something in the backpack, namely lunch, or maybe breakfast. By the time I pulled it out, there was no recognizing what it may have originally been, so, there’s no telling how long it’s been.

I’ve been literally on the road for months. I’ve found it necessary many times to throw a snack or even a meal in the backpack for sustenance later in the day. It could’ve been in June or early July when I was couchsurfing; it could have been the end of July when I traveled from Kenosha to Chicago for a day, although, given the decomposition, it was probably much  longer than that.

Here’s the scenario: On Thursday last week I attended the Blue Ridge Poets and Writers workshop. Like many workshops, they were on hiatus for the summer, so an informal meeting was scheduled at a member’s home. Nice finger sandwiches, fresh fruit with cream cheese dip, carrot cake, and of course, sweet tea. We munch, sip, and talk awhile, then commence the workshop. I open my backpack for pen and paper and am overwhelmed with a flood of fish aroma. I do a quick perusal in the backpack and come up with nothing. I do a quick glance around the table but the faces don’t show any notice. Sadly, when there’s a room of women with fishy scents wafting through the air, there’s only one thought. Fortunately, there were no raised eyebrows or slanting glances trying to identify the culprit, so I supposed I’d closed up the backpack quickly enough, giving myself a mental reminder to check when I got home.

Ha, mental reminders are non-existent entities as one gets older. I love the saying, “Note to self,” but if I don’t actual, physically, write a note to self, the thought disappears into the atmosphere until it is revived by some unknown force, if ever. Today, three days later, I open the backpack for who knows what reason now, and am hit to almost nausea with that revived force—odor.

I begin to pull things out, notebooks, books, papers, pens, maps, etc., etc., until there in the very bottom is a baggie with what in it? I can’t even look. I pull it out, and are you ready, are you sitting down, this thing, this object that I’ve been  carrying around on my back, again, for who knows how long, is crawling with maggots. You can scream and cringe now, because that’s what I did.

Of course, everything that had touched it either went in the garbage or got washed down with bleach. The bag was taken outside and hosed out. The thing, whatever it was, is tossed in the woods waayy across the road. As I sit here writing this, besides creepy crawling occasionally, I’m looking at all the stuff from the backpack—the clean stuff—sitting on the table and I’m still trying to remember what I went into the backpack for in the first place. Yes, there are consequences to old age memory loss.  

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