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Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder - A.A.A.D.D.

Down the stairs, up the stairs, and down the stairs again. Why am I here again? Oh yah, now I remember. Now, where did I put it?

This is life in the fast lane at our house these days. One should always look for the good in something and not dwell on the bad. So, here it is—I’m getting a lot more exercise without leaving the house. However, I can’t ignore the fact that life seems to be taking longer. One misplacement of an object can ruin part of a day, taking time out of my life that I can never get back.

An observer might think that this is but a ridiculous paranoia that has no basis, but they would be wrong. In my history there is a myriad of things that make me immediately distrust myself. “Oh no, Jack. What have you done now?”

  • Left my computer bag, containing thousands of dollars of technology, in a coffee shop in Lethbridge. About a block away my wife questioned, “where is your bag.” I then produced a sprint of a man much younger than me and made it back to the coffee shop before my bag had been noticed by anyone else.

  • Started to walk out the door of another coffee shop in Blackfalds, AB when, upon looking back, I saw my iPad in its black case laying on the black table. I now have a red case for it.

  • Carefully locked up our parked car when visiting a gallery exhibit in Anacortes, WA, only to find upon return that I had left the rear window completely open. On the back seat was a small fortune in technology.

  • When leaving a friend’s place in Saskatchewan to head home, I noticed that my jackets were not in the car. I opened the trunk to see if they were there, then noticed that my hiking boots weren’t in the trunk. I remembered they were in the back porch so I retrieved them, closed the trunk, said my goodbyes and drove away. The thought that I had noticed my jackets were missing was completely gone. It was two hours and many miles later when it dawned on me that my jackets were still hanging in the back porch at my friend’s place. The same porch where I retrieved my boots. I had to spend some cool days on the rest of the trip with only a sweater for warmth.

  • Of course there is the ‘Locked Door Syndrome’ that takes entirely too much time out of my day. This is the one where, once you leave the house or your parked car, you suddenly become aware that you don’t remember locking the door(s). Not a problem when you are block away in your car or a hundred yards down the road when you’re walking. But if you are, for instance, half way into Calgary and can’t remember if you locked that back door, that could take away almost an hour out of your day. It is one of those things that, on the surface, seems automatic, but when you have a recent record of forgetting things, it is hard to trust your ‘instincts’ any longer. Ridiculous, eh? I’ve made more than one telephone call to my accommodating neighbours to go and check the doors for me. They are younger, so I’m not sure what they think of the ‘old folks next door.’

It doesn’t take much of a jump to realise when something goes missing I think the worst. The degree of anxiety and adrenaline production in my gut when I initially can’t find something is definitely not good for me. I have not yet found a cure.

Then there is the behaviour of my wife and myself when things ‘go missing’. It used to be of an accusatory nature. It still starts off that way, but after a few verbal barbs at each other we stop, stare into each others eyes, not in a romantic way, and realise that neither of us is really sure what we remember. At that point we try logical reasoning—trying to cover every moment since we last knew where the missing object was seen. As we dig into the recesses of our combined brains where we used to find the answer, no longer is there anything there. Great voids of time seem to have disappeared into the ether.

At that point, we often, with a great degree of maturity, agree to ‘put it aside and it will come to us shortly’. When, a day later nothing has ‘come to us’, the search starts all over again. We can’t help ourselves. At that point we usually reinspect every place in the house we have already looked at the day before, but this time we add in a few places where it couldn’t possibly be, but we think, maybe….. Finally we sit down and try to remember where we might have left it when away from the house. I find this all embarrassing to confess.

My cousin had a tried and proven method for relieving the stress when an object could not be found. If she couldn’t find the missing thing in half-an-hour, she went out and bought another one exactly the same. That practice is OK until one is considering a $2000 computer. I’ve sometimes resorted to this solution, but often, about an hour after I arrive home with the new, replacement object, I stumble across what I thought I had lost. It is often in a place that makes no sense to me. Clearly, it was set down to do something after which the A.A.A.D.D. set in and away I went on some other errand that popped into my head, like, for example, going to the bathroom. After that, I’m off on another new errand, completely forgetting the object that I was hauling around. Good grief!

My iPad has a particular ability to wind me up when it goes missing, which is often. It is very thin and when stacked amongst papers on a table or desk it has the ability to ‘disappear’. I have wasted many an hour looking for my iPad, constantly asking myself where I left it: the coffee shop, at a friend’s, on the counter of a store, etc., certain that I’ll never see it again. Then it will appear, as if by magic, stacked in a pile of paper. It doesn’t help much if that pile of paper had been moved around in the house since I put my iPad down. That’s when I remember a report on the internet about someone’s iPad being thrown out with other papers because it was so thin and light.

Recently we both lost the equivalent of half the hours of a day wondering where we had left something that we needed. It wasn’t a big ticket item, just a bunch of cloth shopping bags; however, when we go shopping, we need those bags.

The accusations started the search on Monday: “Where did you put the shopping bags when you came home? You were the last one to use them.”

“Yah, but that was Saturday and I remember bringing them in to unload the groceries.”

“But, you must have been out with them after that, because I didn’t do any shopping.”

“Well, I wasn’t!”

Biases aside, we both headed off around the house looking for the bags. After some time we started thinking about where we could have left them?

“Probably sitting at some checkout counter in town,” was one thought.

...and then I start looking where it couldn't possibly be.

And so it went, on and off for another couple of days. At one point we thought, “the grandkids were over on Sunday for Easter. We hid the easter eggs for them to find, maybe one of them hid the bags as a joke.” And off we went again, looking in the most ridiculous spots we could think of. No success.

Let me say that, in earlier years, we would have logically thought, “Let’s see—had them on Saturday, couldn’t find them on Monday, family over on Sunday. Hmmmm—let’s call the boys and ask if they saw them or used them.” But, no. Now we quickly conclude that one of us is somehow guilty of leaving them somewhere, so we resolve ourselves to buying new shopping bags.

On the Thursday we headed over to our son and daughter-in-law’s place to have our regular afternoon with the kids. We were greeted at the door by our daughter-in-law holding our shopping bags.

“Are these yours?”

Then we start searching in places where it couldn’t possibly be. We all broke into laughter. Then I took the bags and locked them in our car to avoid the embarrassment of forgetting them again.

That Sunday they had brought quite a few things over to our place—in bags. When they left our son not only grabbed their bags, but also ours. Without being aware of the stress we were dealing with, nothing was said until we arrived for our visit the next Thursday. We need to talk to him about his ‘failing’ parents.

I guess that is the way it is going to be in our ageing years. Explainable, but unreasoned ‘loss’ of the hours of one’s life. What a silly waste of time.

“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”

Friedrich Nietzsche



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