“Well I wouldn’t want you to get Alzheimer’s. That would be hard to deal with.”
“Rick, what is your fixation with my brain lately? You act like I’m going crazy of or something.”
“Honey, you have no idea where you put your keys half the time and you’re always forgetting where you put your phone.”
I was stunned. This man had to be the maestro of bad timing. Just this very day I had driven 30 miles to Cathlamet to pick up his phone and his ear piece that he left there Saturday. When I got to Cathlamet, his phone and earpiece wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I called his office to tell him it wasn't there. The girls asked me what I was talking about. The phone and earpiece were on his desk. He hadn’t even see it!
“You are kidding me, right?” I said. “He who doesn’t know where his phone is?”
“I knew exactly where I put it. I just forgot I moved it. You on the other hand, are always losing track of things.”
I gotta say, death always brings about the weirdest conversations between us. “Rick, I am not losing my mind. My brain is wired differently. It moves light years ahead of yours. I only lose things because I’m not paying attention.”
I don’t know what was so funny about what I I said but Rick went from solemn to hysterical in one easy second. He was laughing so hard he was squeaking.”
“Honey, I don’t think it’s my brain we ought to be worried about right now.” I said.
He tried to speak but all I caught when he gasped for air was the word 'attention.' “That’s right.” I continued my explanation. “If I am paying attention to what I am doing I know exactly where I put things, but if my mind is racing through the litany of tasks at hand I don’t think about where I lay something. Hence, I am not losing my mind, I am just not paying attention.”
Could a person really die laughing? I didn’t want to risk it so I shut my mouth until Rick finally managed to gain control and blurt out.“That’s like saying, ‘I’m not retarded, I’m just not paying attention, I’m not stupid, I’m just not paying attention." That was all he could say before inhaling air again.
“Honey, you are never going to get it! I don’t have the luxury of having only one thing on my mind at a time. If I tell myself that I am putting my keys in the closet I remember exactly where they are.”
I could tell I wasn’t getting anywhere so I tried a different approach. “So, Rick, let me ask. Were you paying attention when you forgot you picked your phone up and took it to your office or was your mind on something else?”
This of course was a concession to the fact that maybe he had more than one thing on his mind at a time but I can only conclude that it happens so rarely he has no idea it is happening. I let him snort himself into a stupor while I rolled over to go to sleep.
Another day I would bring up the fact that if I needed him to do three simple tasks I had go over the list a thousand times before he left the house. Then, when he gets to work he inevitable calls to ask. “What was it you needed again? I patiently repeat the list again only to be told. “Wait I have to write it down.”
Humph, and I’m the one getting Alzheimer’s!