License to Forget

by Robyn Justo – When I was little I remembered everything. If you can imagine a five-year old in the back seat of the car on a road trip, clutching her pillow and asking (every five minutes). “How many more miles, Daddy?” and we hadn’t even gone a block.

Dad would usually be nutty by the end of the trip, but I was a living baby odometer and would remember what he told me the time before I asked. I also tended to get car sick so I really needed to know. Lucky for me (and for my parents) he made a lot of stops along the way.

I also remembered promises he made like he would give me the moon (still waiting) and that he would take me to fly a kite. He’s flying them way above Earth now because he didn’t have as many miles left as we thought, but we never had the chance to do it here. Mom would warn him that I would not forget his words and I never did. 

These days, if memory serves, it ain’t servin’ me. Maybe it’s the age thing. I find things I bought that I don’t remember buying (fuggedabout it, forgot I bought it.) 

This happened to a friend of mine in her mid-60s who recently received a “Beach Body Kit” in the mail that she apparently ordered consisting of a DVD, yoga mat and Styrofoam cylinder which supposedly transformed someone if they rolled on it.

“WHY????” I asked and she said, “Well, I don’t remember doing it!” I was hysterical but stifled it because she just had serious surgery and it hurt to laugh let alone roll around on a yoga mat with a cylinder.

I should talk. I have to pretend that I am two people living in my house. One is a well-intentioned, watchful warden who does intervention and the other is a forgetful me. The warden puts medications out in plain sight so that they are taken. When they are, the warden moves them back to the cabinet. Sometimes the warden makes me count the pills to make sure I took one.  Then sometimes I don’t trust the warden.

Same with the pre-bed routine. If I don’t brush my teeth and wash my face, I can’t sleep though the night. I should remember this as it has been that way for years, so my utensils are all out at the sink and I sneak into my bed for just a few minutes thinking that I’ll do it later. Right. Hours go by, lights still on all over the house, face unwashed, teeth unbrushed, the warden standing there shaking her head as I stumble to the bathroom in a stupor in the middle of the night.
Memory foam mattresses remember more than I do. I don’t have one, but maybe I should get one. Maybe it will give me a beach body if I roll on it.

The other day I could not remember Blake Shelton’s last name. Not sure why this was important, but it seemed to be at the time. Then I could not think of the word “syndicated” which is a very important word for a columnist and should actually be spelled $yndicated.

I figured that my S-files had disappeared. My X-files surely had as I didn’t seem to remember much about a lot of my exes. My former husband contacted me recently and told me how much fun we used to have and I wanted to ask him, “WHO were you married to??” or in perfect English, “To WHOM were you married?” Either I forgot the reasons we were together or he forgot the reasons we weren’t! He’s my age.

I have notes everywhere like in the movie “Memento,” about a guy with five-minute, short term memory loss which was kind of funny when I saw it many years ago, but today not so much. 
Who says that we have to remember everything? Maybe it’s better and healthier to remember why we got with someone in the first place rather than why we left.

One night during dinner at a restaurant, I recall asking my 85-year-old Mom at the time if she remembered the party we gave her there for her 80th birthday. 

She scrunched up her face and said, “Not really. I don’t remember sh-t anymore.” 

I giggled because I understood and could relate. 

Then she threw up her hands in the air with a big smile on her face and exclaimed, “AND I DON’T HAVE TO!”

So now when the warden refuses to allow me to forget, I have to remember that Mom gave me the license to do so. 

A beach body isn’t important anymore and neither is washing my face. And if the warden doesn’t watch it, I’m going to lock her up in the medicine chest, forget I did it, disconnect my odometer, and head out on a road trip.

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