Another day, another senior moment, which I blame partly on Covid-19.
This time it was early yesterday morning at my local pharmacy. I went there for my third Covid-19 jab, and was sitting outside the nurse’s cramped makeshift office, enjoying my 15-minute “recovery” period. As expected, I had no adverse reactions to the jab, but guess what: I dozed off for almost an hour! If the nurse hadn’t heard me snoring, I might still be there, three feet away from the condoms’ aisle. Oh, the irony.
“Sir, please wake up,” I remember her bending over and whispering, her finger gently tapping my shoulder.
I looked up, startled, and wondering if I had morning breath, which smells a little like a sardine milkshake. “What time is it? I have to be at the pharmacy.”
“Sir, you’re AT the pharmacy. You’ve fallen asleep. You had your needle over an hour ago. You hardly cried. You can go home now.”
I sensed some hostility and wondered if it was because I insisted on Laughing Gas before rolling up my sleeve.
Anyhow, I thanked her, but as I headed toward the front entrance, I heard loud footsteps behind me. Again, it was the nurse: She was running so fast I feared she might pull a muscle — with luck, near all the Dr. Ho products.
“You’re forgetting your gloves,” she said. As she handed them over, I thought for a second she might help me put them on, just like my mother did with my mittens 72 years ago.
Here’s the thing: It was only a month ago, at this same pharmacy, that I had another senior moment.
I had taken my Chevy Cruze to the garage for a brake job. Instead of having to wait two hours while the car was being repaired, I was offered a loner car, a small Nissan. To kill time, I headed to the same pharmacy, less than five minutes away. I browsed for an hour without shoplifting once.
When it came time to return to the garage, I made my way to the parking lot – but couldn’t find my car. It must be here, I told myself. Don’t tell me I forgot to lock the door, and it’s been stolen? But who steals a Chevy Cruze? It didn’t make sense. Then it dawned on me: You nincompoop, you’re looking for the wrong car. You should be looking for a Nissan. Your Cruze is at the garage. Remember?
Unfortunately, at age 78, forgetting things comes with the territory. In fact, sometimes I even forget that I forget. Like when I read a book. If I don’t read it in one sitting, I have to keep referring to the blurb on the cover every time I pick it up to see what’s going on. If it weren’t for the wonderful “Goodreads” site, I’d never know how half the books I read end.
Covid-19 certainly hasn’t helped. It’s got us all frazzled. We’re not ourselves, even though we look the same.
God only knows how many times I’ve forgotten to put my mask on before going into commercial establishments. It’s frustrating having to slog back to my car, tiptoeing around ice and slush, for a mask, which could be anywhere — in my glove compartment, above my windshield visor, on top of the dash or in any of the numerous other cubbyholes. I could spend hours looking and only find McDonald’s french fries on the floor.
But it’s when I put the mask on that the fun really starts. Because it’s winter, as soon as I go indoors, say to buy groceries, my glasses fog up, making everything blurry … just like when I used to drink with Dave Carter. I wipe my glasses with my scarf, put them back on … and then repeat the same routine two or three more times before I’m even inside the door. By now, I’m so disoriented I could be barefoot, standing in damp sawdust, at a fish market in Saigon.
Fifteen minutes later, while I wait in line near the cash register, I make sure not to make eye contact with anybody. I shy away from small talk — something I pride myself on — because, thanks to masks and distancing, I can’t make out a word anyone says, except for “pardon?”
We wouldn’t have this problem if our schools had taught us sign language. It’s still not too late. And it should come easy to most Quebecers. Especially car owners, who have been giving other car owners the middle finger for years.
It’s a start.