I’m sure there is a more classical medical term for this. My afternoon has been dominated by this superbitch of a screen and the very fluid thread of a story I started about three months ago. But can I get back into it? Can I construct the next sentence with the same assurance I felt then? I cannot. The muse has escaped – its sitting on top of the bookcase, just beyond my reach, doing its nails and ignoring me in the most studied and insulting fashion – I can no more drop back into this genre than I can base jump. (I know my limitations).
But – and here’s Oh What a But! I’ve just remembered where I put the spare shed key – the one I lost three weeks ago! Its in the pocket of my summer jacket and I don’t even have to test the theory: I know its there!
This sort of recall is a frequent feature in my life. I will drive away from home in the morning, only to forget, four or five miles down the road, whether I have locked my front door or left it wide open for every casual visitor, petty thief or opportunistic vagrant to enter. So I turn around. I drive back to my house. As I turn the corner into my road I get complete flashback – photographic! I see the key in my hand, remember how I held the latch up with my spare hand, how I turned the key. I stop outside, and sure enough, my door is locked: but now I am late for my appointment….
Sometimes, when my brain is being particularly unkind, it will have me re-visit a situation three, or four, or even five times. I call this compound short term memory loss and it can take a number of forms: There is single-thread compound memory loss; for example – if I extend the situation with the key – I will drive away again, having seen the door is shut; three streets after which I will tell myself I did not actually try the door . Therefore how do I know, beyond doubt, it is locked? I go back, I try the door. It is locked. Three streets later I remember I did not actually check the back door…..
Then there is multiple thread compound memory loss. This can become enormously complex, as in the ‘equipment I need for my day’ scenario. I may decide I need my wallet, my credit card holder, my pen and my bank book for a particular expedition, and almost without fail forget one of them. In going back for it, I will leave another component accidentally behind, and so on. Its most dreaded form, the Lindemann variation, occurs when I fill up at the gas station, and saunter confidently to the till with my credit card folder, only to find that my card is not inside it. I have left it at home on my desk. On these occasions I have almost unfailingly bought sixty pounds worth of gas, and find I have only twenty pounds cash in my wallet!
Old age? No, this has haunted me most of my life. And speaking of haunting, I’ve just remembered my next sentence………