Monday, February 8, 2010

Is it just me, or do you think I'm crazy too?

Last week I spent some time with a 75-year old woman. We had only met that morning and had the whole day together so we started in the way that all new acquaintances start, with general pleasantries and the odd bit of social mapping ("So how do you know...?", "Oh I see!").

We had a quiet but productive morning, passing the occasional comment about the tennis (our appreciation of Roger Federer's fine legs, for example) and telling the odd joke about Descartes and politicians.

It was all going fine until we were about to break for lunch; at that point it all went hideously wrong.

I looked across the table at her and said, "Would you mind passing me that ... um ... thingummy. The little ... with the ... oh bum, you know, with the [insert hand gesture] ... Oh man, what's it called? The the the ... you know, to hold the ... with the ... MY GOD! To hold the freakin' paper together?"

She stared at me (as though I'd been babbling incoherently), and said, droll-as, "You mean ... paperclip?" Then she laughed so hard she snorted and had to put her foot up on a chair.

After she'd finished laughing her arse off, said "oh dear" a few times and coughed once or twice (for effect), she said, "I'm glad to know you have senior moments too," then she leaned forward confidentially and whispered, "You might want to see someone about that, before it's too late," and roared with laughter again.

So after this disastrous brain malfunction I'm pretty sure I'm experiencing the early stages of early onset senility.

But it's ok, I'm onto it: I've diagnosed myself via a range of trust-worthy forum-based medical websites, I've bought a jumbo-sized container of fish oil capsules, and I've made sure my Power of Attorney includes the words "reduced capacity" (it does). So all I have to do now is get started on this pile of Sudoku, crosswords and mind-bending challenging logic puzzles (as any good current affairs show would recommend).

Think you might be going senile too? Come stave it off with me; here, sit. We can share my puzzle book. Let's do that one, the one about the shopping. I'll read it out (have you got a pencil?): "Susan, Stephen and Stephanie helped their mother to carry the shopping home. Each child had seven pieces of fruit in his or her bag..."

I'm feeling better already.


words, wine, coffee, art said...

This is an hilarious piece of writing, Kettle!
I don't think you have to worry yet about early onset dementia!

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Don't worry Kettle.

This is a common condition and is known in medical circles as "going a bit loopy".

Also, if you find yourself trapped at a party and forced to make small talk with some buffon, I find it useful to pretend you can only speak Finnish.

Practice saying "mennä pois" until you have it down pat.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I meant "buffoon"

Your condition is obviously contagious

Kettle said...

God love you, Words and Wine. The thing is, what if we're both crazy so can't recognise the crazy in each other? What if to us, 'crazy' is just the way things are? What then? WHAT THEN!

And Ramon, I do love a good medical term and 'going a bit loopy' is both highly technical and endearing.

I've pretended to be deaf before but never to speak Finnish; a great suggestion, I shall give it a go.

And I don't think you're crazy with 'buffon'; you were simply referring to Comte Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon, the eighteenth century French naturalist who published his 36-volume 'Histoire Naturelle' between 1749 and 1788, right? He would indeed be a buffoon at a party, and I think pretending to speak Finnish would be a brilliant way to escape him.

shortlivedmomentsofclarity said...

Oh yes.
It's not just you, Mme Kettle,
although you're quite, quite crazy.

But this is why we have children, remember? This and fetching our cigarettes from the corner shop, a practise they put a stop to back in 1972. Bastards. Now we have to make-do with sending them to purchase chocolates with liqueur centres and the latest copy of Woman's Weekly. I like the sudoku pages.

squib said...

It would be very helpful if name badges were compulsory because I don't know how I'm supposed to remember someone when they only told me their name five times in the past hour, do you?

Kettle said...

Ah dear shortlivedmomentsofclarity, quite right you are about children; I had forgotten that (see how I'm degenerating? Right before your very eyes!). I will teach my boy to select the very rummiest of rum balls and bring them home to me (ooh, or else jump straight to teaching him how to make rum balls thus saving time on the trip to the shops. Yes yes, that's a better idea).

Now, shortlivedmomentsofclarity, would you mind ever so much if I referred to you with an ever so slightly shortened moniker? What about Shorty? Or Shortlived? Or Mo' Clarity? Or SLMOC? Or Clazza? You may, of course, reject all my suggestions (I would if I were you). Anyhoo, thoughts?

And Squib compulsory (legislated) name badges is an excellent idea. Or what about forehead tattoos? That way we could go swimming and still know who we are.

Alternatively, we could lobby to do away with names altogether, thus removing any potential name-forgetting embarrassment.

squib said...

Both are excellent ideas

Have you ever played Celebrity Head? Those headbands are kind of funky, yes? If we all wore one with somebody else's name (there could be waterproof ones on goggle straps for swimming, Kettle) then... well the possibilities are endless!

Kettle said...

there could be waterproof ones on goggle straps for swimming...

Ha ha! Great mental image, Squib.