Forgetfulness runs in my family. My brother, the original absent-minded professor, offers me a ride home. “My car’s not far away,” he says, “I’ll be right back to pick you up.” We part outside the Fine Arts building on the campus where he teaches. I wait, and here he comes… and goes, right past me. His car disappears down the street.
Oh well, I think, he’ll remember eventually. And he does. Soon, his car glides up and he rolls the window down. “You’ll think I don’t love you,” he says, “but I came back as soon as I remembered.”
Forgetfulness often involves cars. I have trouble remembering where I park, so I have a system. When I go to a familiar place, I park as close as possible to the same spot each time. When I can’t, I’m grateful that my key has handy buttons that make the horn honk. But in the parking deck today, I wander around my favorite spot, looking for my car. I press the “lock” button until I hear my horn. At least, I think it’s my horn. It does sound a little muffled. I walk on, and the sound recedes. Have I passed my car? I retrace my steps, and it happens again. Finally, I realize I’m on the floor directly above my car, and hear it honking when I pass over it.
I’m not alone. I approach my grocery store entrance and meet a woman coming out. She pauses, looking back and forth, “Now where in the hell did I park my car?” she mutters. Perhaps the fault lies in our cars and not in ourselves.
Water is almost as bad as cars for provoking forgetfulness. After boiling two pans dry, I give up and buy an electric kettle that turns itself off.
I’ve had plumbing-related floods in two homes, so I’m instantly on alert if I hear water running. Today I start a load of laundry, go upstairs, check my email, take out the trash, then happen to walk through the hallway by the bathroom. Then I hear it, the telltale sound of water in the pipes. I wiggle the handle of the commode; it’s not the problem. I run to the basement – no water there – then to the first floor powder room. Mystified, back in the kitchen, I finally remember my laundry. The rinse cycle has started.
I console myself that forgetfulness is common. Else, why would they sell electric kettles? Why would my friend Marlene wear a necklace that says “I Can’t Remember?” I’ve even seen packs of gum labeled Instantly Remember Where You Left your KEYS – intense memory-stimulating mint gum.
Did I mention that forgetfulness runs in my family?
Sandy Fry is a writer, photographer, traveler, and lifetime art student. Past publications include Minerva Rising, Number One, StoryNews, Dreamers, and an essay in the ‘Your Turn’ column of the AARP Bulletin. Her photographs have appeared in Minerva Rising, Unearthed, Oyster River Pages, and The Longleaf Pine, as well as in the Light Space and Time online gallery.