Being absent minded is sometimes a real bind. I don’t mean when there is some sort of medical or psychological problem which causes people to get terribly muddled and lost, I mean just everyday absent mindedness which i have in a fairly advanced form – and always have had. I’ve always left things on buses and trains, forgotten appointments, forgotten to do things from homework to taking library books back on time, to forgetting where and when and even if I was going to meet someone, got side-tracked and wandered away, lost track of time….
I think I don’t concentrate so I’m thinking of something else when I’m being told something, or my mind wanders when I’m supposed to be doing whatever it is, or details sink into a black bog somewhere in my brain like Carver Doone sinking to his death on the moors in Lorna Doone. Another aspect is remembering something but the wrong particulars – so I have a date to do something or go somewhere or meet someone… but it’s the wrong date! Or I’m asked to do something… and i do the wrong thing… fortunately when I was teaching I never taught the wrong syllabus!
Kind and helpful friends suggest things to help this affliction. An example of this is to carry a notebook or diary – oh the potential for losing it, forgetting it, writing on the wrong page, jotting down the wrong details because I was thinking of something else as I was being told… and then of course there is the illegibility of my handwriting. Using a calendar… yes, this actually is a big help because looking at it makes me stop and ponder and if I’ve forgotten to add something I”m sometimes reminded to.
One thing which has been a big help is my phone; not only do i try to write everything on my calendar there, but quite often I check things when i think I may have something coming up… book club? Look at conversations with my friends, or look at the Facebook page. Writing grups ditto, national holidays the same… It really has made disasters less frequent… although I was due to go to a party today, only to discover it was last Thursday, so it’s not foolproof.
People are amused by my absent-mindedness (teachers at school got very cross) or they are irritated by it – even if it doesn’t affect them. The fact that in the last few months I’ve lost a favourite sweatshirt and two beautiful scarves annoys and upsets me, for example. I don’t like having a mind that wanders constantly to other things, or interests in strange things I notice which deviate me from where I’m going… but I actually think it’s part of being creative. Sometimes my imaginary world comes between me and what’s really there in front of me… I have to emphasise this is not when I’m driving or doing something important – then I am very alert and on my toes (not literally of course!)
I get a little annoyed at myself, and a little fed up when I miss something or lose something or get in a muddle about something… and I always resolve to try harder to focus and concentrate all the time!
Here’s something wonderful about forgetfulness:
My galley, chargèd with forgetfulness