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Saturday, 23 December 2017

Friendly but forgetful

Photo by Jeff Moriarty
So I just spent 15 minutes looking for my running top, and getting increasingly frustrated because it wasn't anywhere I'd expect it to be. 

Minutes earlier I'd had it in my hand when I answered the phone. So I knew it couldn't be far away. But could I find it? I could not.

I searched the living-room, my bedroom, the bathroom, the understairs cupboard and the car in the drive. By the second time around I was getting really frustrated at this waste of time, because I've a list of things to do before Christmas as long as my python-shaped draught-excluder (that's not a euphemism, by the way). 

I was also getting annoyed with myself, both for putting the sweater somewhere stupid and for not being smart enough to figure out how stupid I could be. Getting annoyed with yourself is inevitable at these times, I find. But it's far from helpful. 

"You're an idiot."

"I know. But that means so are you."

"You're a bigger idiot."

"Shut up."

It's even less helpful if this conversation with yourself - about the only unfriendly encounter I have, since ageing suaveness eased out youthful angst - takes place when you're searching your car, within earshot of your next-door neighbour. Who's had doubts about my mental stability since she saw me refilling the bird-feeder in my underpants. (And no I don't have a bird-feeder in my underpants. Don't be a smartarse.)

In the end I give up and do an internet search on the difference between dementia and absent-mindedness. (I'll start saying 'googled' when they start paying their taxes.) 

Turns out I've nothing to worrry about because they're completely different. Dementia is far more than ordinary forgetfulness or occasional foggy thinking, according to Professor June Andrews of the University of Stirling. "You need to start worrying only if you experience a significant, progressive downturn in your mental capacity." 

So if your mental capacity never turned up in the first place you're fine, is how I read that. 

Which is reassuring. But to tell the truth I'm still a little worried. Eventually I found the sweater and I went for my run. And I was still wearing it when I returned. Which is all good. But where I found it is the worrying part. 

You'll have figured it out already, I'm sure, because surveys show that Friendly Encounter readers are in the top percentile for intelligence. And good looks.

It's a small comfort that I also worked it out eventually. I didn't stumble across the sweater, while hunting around in an increasingly haphazard fashion, searching places it couldn't rationally be, like the oven, the fridge or the dog. No, I stood still and asked myself what Sherlock Holmes would do in these circumstances.

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

"You think I'm wearing it?"

"I think you should consider the possibility."

I look down. "You're right, I'm wearing it. Damn and blast. I've just wasted 15 minutes searching for a sweater I already put on."

"What are you?"

"Shut up."

Once again this conversation with myself should ideally have taken place inside my house and not in my drive.

"Are you all right?" asks my next-door, rather atttractive neighbour. "You seem to be falling out with yourself a lot these days."

"I'm fine thanks, Stevie. I'm going for a run."

"Very impressive in this weather. Is that a bird-feeder in your running shorts or are you just pleased to see me?"

"Have a nice Christmas, Stevie."

"You too, Douglas."

And off I went on my last run before an afternoon of mince-pies and excess, to demonstrate our joy at the baby Jesus, undoes all my hard-earned fitness and means I start the coming year with the same pot-bellied arteries I did last year.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to wish a merry christmas to all our readers, in the words of Tiny Tim: "Tiptoe through the window, by the window, that is where I'll be. Come tiptoe through the tulips ..."

No, hang on. Wrong Tiny Tim. Here's the one I want:

"A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!"

See you next year, guys. I'm looking forward to it and I'll tell you why.

It's not 2017. That's something we all want to forget.

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