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Sometimes, I’m whip smart; other times I’m a lumbering know-nothing

PUBLISHED: 12:38 05 September 2017

Frankly, my dear, I've forgotten your name... Picture: BB

Frankly, my dear, I've forgotten your name... Picture: BB

Archant

Today, I stared at a picture of Clark Gable for 10 minutes.

No, it wasn’t lust. I was trying to remember his name. My thought process went something like this: “What’s your name? I know you were Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind and starred opposite Vivien Leigh. I know you allegedly had bad breath... what is your name? Oh, come on. You said, ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t GIVE a damn’ but who are you?”

This is how my life works, these days. Sometimes, I’m whip smart, other times I’m a lumbering know-nothing.

In the end, I had to Google him. “Who played Rhett Butler?” Clark Gable whisked back. I expect the algorithms will be straight on to that inquiry. Next thing you know they’ll be trying to sell me brain-training apps and kale supplements.

Fortunately, my husband and I tend to have our senior moments independently so when I forget, he helps out and vice versa. Occasionally, we have collaborative amnesia − he can summon the first name and I remember the surname but together we have it all... 50 per cent each.

I’m hoping the Clark Gable incident is the last in my recent spate of mental meanderings. It was the third and they say things happen in threes.

The one with the shower gel. I imagine we each have a shower ritual. Mine is armpits, chest, arms, back and tummy, followed by feet, knees and boomps-a-daisy. Finally I wet my hair, wash and rinse it. Then I get out of the shower, hit my toe on the ledge and swear. But something in my automatic wash programme went awry and I wet my hair first and, like Pavlov’s dogs responding to the dinner bell, I immediately washed my hair... in shower gel. Instant haystack alert. I had to start again, this time using shampoo. It was the ultimate Worzel Gummidge bad hair day.

The one with the missing bank card. We were in town last Monday and suddenly my husband clutched his front trouser pocket and announced he’d forgotten his wallet. I had my purse so it was no problem... at least not until I tried to pay for something and realised my debit card wasn’t in my purse.

I had cards for everything else: the library; the county records office; loyalty at Paperchase, Boots, John Lewis and Waitrose; Sainsbury’s Nectar; M&S Sparks; driving licence bearing picture of me looking like mass murderer; Barclaycard... but no debit card.

I knew I must have left it somewhere. We mustered our mental resources. “Tesco, Saturday” said my husband eventually. He was right (which means he has nearly reached double figures in “being right” in our 44 years together.)

I phoned Tesco and, quite brilliantly, within seconds, found they had indeed got my card, having rescued it from the card reader where I had left it, presumably having ignored the friendly voice of the automated check-out telling me not to forget it. I think I was instead listening to the insistent voice of my grandson asking me if we could play a game of 3D Snakes and Ladders when we got home. I said grandpa would love to play it with him.

We drove straight over to Tesco and, on production of my driver’s licence with photo, was given my card... maybe I really do look like a mass murderer.

The card, slipped into a plastic envelope, was produced from a tin containing dozens of cards. On the one hand, it was reassuring to see I wasn’t the only woolly-headed shopper. On the other, why had no-one collected them? Apparently, we were told, my case is unusual, most people don’t reclaim their cards. Possibly because they don’t want to look silly...

• Grandson George starts school this week. I doubt his first lesson will be the same as his grandpa’s, who started school in 1958. The first thing he was taught to do was to tie his shoelaces. Our grandson doesn’t have laces on his shoes, he has Velcro. He will not be required to fasten a cuff button (he has polo shirts) or wear a tie. And yet, people say, life was simpler back in the old days.

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