Where Is My Mind?

Maybe forgetting things as I get older isn’t something to stress about…

A frightened bag of raspberries (cartoon)

I looked in the bread bin this morning and found I’d left a bag of frozen raspberries there.

I must have done it yesterday morning while I was making breakfast. The berries – and the bin – were pretty soggy.

And it’s not the first forgetful thing I’ve done lately – far from it.

I often find myself stopping in front of the fridge, or a cupboard in the kitchen, trying to remember what I’m doing there.

It’s probably at moments like this that I put milk in the drawers and porridge in the freezer – snatching them out hours or days later and wondering: ‘Is this it? Am I finally losing my mind?”

The idea of forgetfulness is – if you’ll forgive a melancholy pun – front of mind in our family at the moment, because my lovely Mother-In-Law has Dementia.

Not all that long ago, she was sharp as someone who catnapped regularly in life’s Knife Box, but now she’s in a care home and – distressingly – deteriorating fast.

My Granny was the same and, now I’m into my 50s, I worry that it might also happen to me.

When I spend too much time thinking about it, I offer a kind of silent prayer: Please God, I don’t mind aches and pains and hypertension but, please let me keep my marbles.

But maybe I am making too much of The Raspberry Fiasco.* After all, the world demands a lot of our minds these days.

I once read somewhere that the brain is like a drawer in a filing cabinet: fill it with too much information and some of it has to fall out of the back.

And these days, there is no shortage of information to cram it with.

This morning, when I was carefully measuring yeast for the bread maker – a crucial part of any successful loaf – I was also listening to a podcast explaining the unusual structure of the Brazilian football season, and found I couldn’t do both.

Some things we are just sooOo boring that switching off while doing them is surely the natural response”

Another thing to bear in (ahem) mind is that some things we do are just soooo boring, that switching off while doing them is surely the natural response.

I remember the broadcaster Peter Allen admitting to drifting off by the end of every weather report on his own radio show. Interrogate him – even 30 seconds later – as to whether we could expect a shower and he wouldn’t have a clue…

Similarly, even in mid-floss, I can never remember if I’ve cleaned the other row of my teeth already, and so regularly do them at least one-and-a-half times. 

Last week, I was listening – again, probably while doing something else – to a former England cricketer explaining how batsmen who make brilliant hundreds don’t remember the shots they played afterwards: because they are In The Zone.

And maybe I’m like that, in my own domestic setting because – like making a Test Match Ton – cooking a meal in my kitchen takes a long time.

It’s a large but poorly planned space. There’s a lot of travelling from cupboard to fridge to kettle to hob, and standing about waiting for things to, you know, cook.

Often, I won’t remember that I’ve already chopped the ginger-garlic mixture but… so what?

Like a character in a Henry James novel, I reckon that I still keep a good table and, as far as I know, I have poisoned no-one in the last 20 years.  

I can’t pretend that putting the raspberries in the bread bin was my finest hour, domestically speaking. But in even in the finest innings, there are a few edges through the slips – aren’t there?

*Actually, it was more of a soggy coulis.

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