When I got ready to take my various medications this morning, I decided that it was just silly for me to have to hold onto a handful of pills and not lose them while I tried to grab hold of a drink to swallow them down at the same time. This is not working, I thought, I need to get a little disposable cup for these. I knew there were some in the kitchen; we have them on hand for various uses. We are still using the same package that we bought shortly after we got married, so they are obviously not used in great numbers. Anyway, I headed to the kitchen with my pills tightly clutched in my fist, ready to get a little receptacle to make things a bit more convenient.
On the way to the kitchen, I saw something and thought about how it needed to be taken out in the garbage. A few steps later, and I saw that there were still a few items that needed to be placed in their proper spots in the cupboards after our last trip to the grocery store. I turned from the dining room into the kitchen, and then it happened. What did I come in here for? I know I came in here to get something, but what was it? My pills were still held tightly in my hand, but the things I saw on my way to the kitchen had pushed them out of my mind. This, I can do without! I came here to get something and have no idea what I came here for!
Luckily for me, as I glanced around the kitchen, I became more consciously aware of the pills in my hand. If they hadn't been carried into the kitchen with me, I would have had to do the backtracking thing. The backtracking thing is where you retrace your steps, whether they be mental or physical, in an attempt to recapture the moment when you decided to go from one room to another. The idea is that if you track back to that moment, you will recapture the thought that sent you on your way. You will then know what you've forgotten, and will be able to accomplish whatever it was that you set out to do originally.
Now, if any of you are reading this and thinking that this is entirely due to my age no longer beginning with a two or a three or even a four, let me stop you right now and say that this is absolutely untrue. I've been doing this for years. I suspect that many of you have, as well. There are also variations on this irritation. (Hey, accidental poetry!) One of the most aggravating for me seems to be related to plumbing. Seriously! I'll be in the shower or bathtub, or maybe just washing my hands, and I'll get a Brilliant Idea. I mean a Really Brilliant Idea. The only problem is that when I remove myself from the protective force-field of the water in the pipes, the idea gets flushed. Yep, as soon as I walk out of the bathroom, the idea is gone forever. It even seems to defy most attempts to do the backtracking thing, which makes it even more frustrating.
Story within a story:
Trent and I had an experience with this that has become one of our family legends. He was in the living room, and I was soaking in the bathtub in the master bathroom. Our little dog Paris was curled up on the bed but keeping an eye on her mommy just in case I wanted to throw a toy for her to fetch. Suddenly I had a Brilliant Idea. Argh! By the time I finished my bath, dried off, dressed, and went into the living room, it would be gone forever. I tried to call for Trent to come into the bathroom to hear my Brilliant Idea. I called and called, but he didn't hear me. Paris, on the other hand, lifted her head and looked at me from the first moment I called for Trent. She came into the bathroom with a questioning look on her face, walked over to me, and put her front paws on the edge of the bathtub. "Go get daddy! Tell him to come see mommy!" She turned and walked out of the room. A few minutes later, she came back with Trent following her. She had gone into the living room and stared at him. She turned and took a few steps, looked at him again, and sat down. He finally guessed that she wanted him to follow her, and she led him to the bathroom so that he could hear my Brilliant Idea. I don't remember any more what the Brilliant Idea was. I just remember how proud we were that Paris acted like she was Lassie and told Trent that Little Timmy had fallen down the well!
We now return to our original program:
Another variation of this problem that has given me a lot of laughs is getting lost when you are having a conversation with a friend. You begin to tell them about something amusing that happened to you, or how your boss made you want to commit homicide even though you are non-violent, and suddenly the conversation takes a turn down a lovely country road. There is dappled sunlight from the lovely trees, and then beautiful fields of sunflowers, and - wait! What were we talking about? I was trying to tell you something, but now I can't remember! Okay, we were talking about sunflowers, and before that, we were talking about trees, and then we were talking about Mister Bossman. Oh! I know! I thought about the trees because Mr. Bossman is allergic to them, and he made me so mad today that I wished I could abandon him in a grove of those trees. So, anyway, this morning, Mr. Bossman...
I hope that if you, like me, have bouts with That, I Can Live Without, that you are able to find some humor in them. We aren't losing it, we are simply being human. So many thoughts and distractions can happen to us, and they often happen so quickly that it's easy for our little trains of thought to get derailed. Or as I have said on more than one occasion, it pulled into the station, and I wasn't even there. And missing that train is definitely something I can do without!