Some people have the gift of remembering names easily. I am not one of those people. During my career, I developed a number of strategies to help me, but occasionally they failed. Not wanting to look insensitive, or like a dunce, I would not typically admit to a person I’d forgotten his or her name. Instead, I would find a way to get their name and go through a cumbersome process to insure it didn’t leave my head.
Now that I’m older, there are two reasons that I don’t worry so much about this type of memory glitch. First, I’m older. So I have no reservations about admitting I’ve forgotten someone’s name and not worrying if they take offense. I don’t, when people admit it to me, so I figure others won’t either. At my tender age, it’s more important to actually make a real connection with another human, rather than worrying about if they’ll take offense at my poor memory.
The second reason I don’t worry as much about name recall is that there are so very many other things I’m forgetting! In early middle age, I started that annoying habit of entering a room and then totally blanking on what I had come in to get. I have to return to the room from which I came and suddenly the notion would totally reappear in my head. After years of doing this, however, I’ve noticed that this occasionally results in my wandering around the house like a lost puppy. I stop short at sniffing at the floor, but once in a while, I never do figure out what I was going to do.
Recently, I realized that it’s important I don’t get distracted when I am at the bottom of our staircase. A memory loss will occur if Matt asks me a question, the phone rings, or I have an extraneous thought about something. At this point, I’m totally unable to remember if I’m going upstairs for something, or if I have just come downstairs.
Fortunately, I’ve always been a list-maker and keep our calendar up-to-date. We refer to it all the time. Though that used to be hourly, once retired, it became daily. Our calendar has been infallible. Until lately.
A few weeks ago, we took our dog to the vet for his annual shots. We also had the doctor give him the canine flu shot. This requires a second inoculation about two to three weeks later. I diligently recorded the appointment for that in the calendar two Fridays later.
As the day approached, we talked about the appointment. We received the helpful reminder from the office on Thursday. On Saturday, as we were preparing to do our various chores and looking at what we had planned for the evening, I cringed. “Oh, no!” I said to Matt. “We forgot to take Forest to the vet yesterday!”
I’ve always thought those reminders you can program your phone to send you were silly, but I’m rethinking that now. Do you have memory glitches? Email me at email@example.com.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.