Friday, October 16, 2009

Peace Now

I finally found peace this week.

No, not serenity, calm, stillness or tranquility—don’t be ridiculous. I’m still as neurotic as ever.

I’m talking about a novel called Peace by Richard Bausch, a gift from my brother which I thought I had lost somewhere between my house and the New York City subway system.

I had just made up my mind to read that particular book after looking through the stacks of paperbacks around here. I brought it to work, kept it in a brown plastic bag to protect the cover, but when I got home that night and looked in my bag, I found that I had been seperated from Peace.

I looked all over my house, peeked into the garbage can, I even checked out the re-freaking-frigerator--nothing. I tried the Zen thing of letting go and the book apparently returned the favor because I couldn't find it anywhere.

At breakfast the next morning I because convinced—convinced—that I had tossed the book in the trash can. Seconds later I heard the garbage truck pulling up in front of my house and I seriously thought about running out in my pajamas and yanking the can away from the sanitation man.

But I got to the front window just as the guy was dumping the contents of my garbage can into the truck's churning innards, so if the book was in there, Peace would soon be in pieces.

The Peace attack came just a few days after another brain bust when I forgot my cell phone number. This wasn’t a momentary lapse of memory where I paused for a few brief moments. No, I completely forgot the damn number.

I was making an appointment to have my chimney inspected when the woman at the other end of the line asked me for my contact information.

“It’s probably best to call me on my cell phone,” I said.


And my mind went completely blank.

Zip, gone, erased from my memory, like Ben Affleck in that crappy movie Paycheck, on which I wasted a small piece of my own paycheck renting and a large chunk of my time watching.

And even though the movie sucked from pillar to post and from hell to breakfast, I still felt compelled to watch the damn “Making of…” features on the DVD.

Why, why do I torture myself like this? It’s like eating a hideous meal and asking for the recipe. Maybe that’s why I’m forgetting things: I’ve got too much junk in my head that the important stuff is being pushed out.

I struggled to recall the number, which only helped to freeze up the locks on my memory bank. I kept coming up with bits and pieces of other people’s numbers, but I couldn’t find the right combination of digits.

Forget Me Not

“I’m sorry,” I finally I told the chimney lady. “I can’t remember my own number.”

“That’s okay,” the woman at the other end of the line said. “You never call your own number.”

Yes, but I never send myself Christmas cards and I still know my address. While we went over some details I dug out my wallet, fished out my ragged mini-phone book and looked for my number.

“I found my cell phone,” I blurted out like a losing game show contestant.


A few days later I was trying to recall the name of a popular British actor. The guy’s a huge star; he played Batman in The Dark Knight.

He got a lot of bad press when a tape of him screaming and cursing at a cameraman while filming the last Terminator movie was leaked to the news media.

There’s a point in the tape where this actor sarcastically sneers “Oh, good for youuuuuu!” at the hapless cameraman. I tease my sister with that line, dropping it unexpectedly when she tells me what she’s been up to. And now I couldn’t remember his name.

I could see his face, I could hear his voice. But nothing else would come. And I didn’t have his name in my little phone book.

C’mon, he’s Batman for Christ’s sake. Heath Ledger was the Joker and that other guy was Gordon…another British actor—yeah, Gary Oldman. But the Dark Knight had me dazed.

I’ve written before about memory lapses—haven’t I?—but this one really got to me. I was set to throw in the towel and look it up on, when it came to me--yes, Christian Bale. Oh, good for meeeeeee!

I’ve been joking about senior moments for a long time, but now I’m starting to wonder. It’s been happening more often lately, but I can’t recall any specific cases, which makes me even more upset.

The annoying thing is that there are so many people, places and things I would love to forget, but they’re still hanging around my hippocampus, which is odd since I didn’t know hippos went to college.

But there's some good news. The other day I was ordering something over the phone and the operator asked for my contact information. I hesitated just a second before reciting my cell phone number flawlessly.

And when I got to my office I saw a small brown plastic bag on my desk. I looked inside and there was Peace, safe and unread.

I had started reading another book, but that’s all right. I put Peace in a safe place. Now if only I knew where that was…


Brenda from Flatbush said...

Thing with names, with me, is now: 1. Forget obvious, well-known or familiar person's name totally. 2. Fake it to avoid humiliation. 3. Wait 1-3 hours and brain will effortlessly burp up name while one is in the bathroom or something, for "DOH!" moment. So, is there a pill to defrag the old mental disc?
P.S. to everyone I know: If I call you "hon" or "my dear," fond of you as I am, it is because, yes, I have indeed...forgotten your name...

Rob K said...

Thanks, hon!