So, back in the day when I was barely a grown-up, having just entered my very earliest 30s and all, I was a contestant on a little game show known as Jeopardy!. I became a contestant on the show because some of my coworkers, who knew me very well and spent lots of time with me on a daily basis, thought I was smart and had a crazily good memory. Which was, and I don't mean to brag, pretty much the truth................ back then. So, these coworkers of mine signed me up to try out for the show, I went down to NYC, passed the contestant exam, did the audition, and a few months later, got the call and flew out to LA for the taping.
But, now, many years later, I'm closing in on 40 in a matter of months and it's all turning to mush. My memory, that is. Oh, the long-term memory still seems relatively intact, but short term? Not so much. Also more mushy than back a decade or so ago? No, not my midsection, though yeah, that'd be accurate too, but I'm referring to my actual brain itself. I mean, it never really seems to have recovered 100% from those days of early parenthood when having a young infant in the house = perpetual sleep deprivation.
Case in point: Lately, I seem to lose my car. A lot. Like, in a parking spot, of my own choosing, where I parked it.
Take, for example, earlier today. I had to stop in at the grocery store after church to pick up a few things. I was inside the store for 10 minutes, tops. I came back out into the parking lot and............................
Dude, where's my car???
I did that thing that I'd like to think we all do every once in a while. That "aimlessly wandering with a simultaneously hopeful, sheepish and frustrated look" thing. I scanned the lanes for my vehicle. Granted, colors on automobiles are hard to see this time of year in my neck of the woods - they all turn the same shade of "road salt grayish white" - but still, I should've been able to find it in under 10 minutes. I mean, the parking lot isn't *that* big.
Now, I have strategies I use to combat this problem. I tend to have "my" spot in any parking lot I visit regularly. I choose an area and try to find a spot within a couple of spaces of that landmark (a cart return or light pole, for example). I've thought about getting one of those antenna toppers -
Or I could go more "thematic" -
Or even patriotic, while I'm at it..........
But I fear that short of a flashing, neon sign directly above my vehicle
I'd still be wandering around the parking lot with that expression on my face for hours. Okay, minutes, but enough minutes to feel like a thoroughly doddering fool. (Oh, and the fact that I was looking for my minivan when I'd actually driven Hubby's car to the store? Double bonus points for my brain, right?!)
Now, fine, perhaps we all get a little Ashton Kutcher and lose our cars temporarily in the parking lot every now and again. Heck, Seinfeld did a whole episode about losing a car in a parking garage and it was hilarious. I have further proof that my mind is more scrambled egg than spring chicken.
The week before last, I was browsing through a recipe website because I thought I'd make something new and different. I was bored of my go-to weekday menus using ground beef, which I had on hand and needed to cook. So, I came across this recipe for "pizza casserole" and thought "Ooooh, *that* sounds good!" and decided I'd make it for dinner.
Hubby gets home while I'm in the midst of browning the ground beef and boiling the pasta and asks what I'm making. "Pizza casserole!" I reply, "It's a new recipe!" He picks up the page I'd printed out and skims over it, and then says "Um, isn't this just baked ziti?"
.........Yes, yes it was. Baked ziti, that I make on a fairly regular basis. The only difference was that I was making it, as the "new" recipe instructed, in a deep casserole dish instead of my lasagna pan.
Want another example of how mushy my old gray matter is these days? Hubby and I recently got brand-spankin'-new iPhones. (Cue chorus of angels singing alleluias.) We'd been eagerly awaiting their release on Verizon for ages and were giddy with glee when they arrived. Shortly after my iPhone hit my hot, little hand, I texted my dear friend J something to the effect of "OMG This is my first ever text message on my new iPhone! It's so cool! Woot! Is this working??" because J is generally pretty quick with responding to texts. Sure enough, mere moments later, my iPhone dinged (side note: why do all the text notification sounds suck, why are they so long and why can't you do a customized text sound like you can ringtone? I want answers, Steve Jobs, answers!!) and lo and behold, there was her text:
I just got something in Arabic from you. Is that you being funny? I don't get it. LOL.
OH NOES! I promptly freaked out and sent her another text, which I intended to read "Wait, Arabic? Nooooooo!" but which the iPhone's autocorrect changed to "Wait, Arabic? Nippon!" and then immediately after that, "Is *this* in English?" after which my phone rang and it was J calling to gently point out that she was yanking my chain and that I was not, in fact, inadvertently texting in Arabic.
Double d'oh! Also, well played, J. She said her entire family were all doubled over in laughter because they were sure I'd realize that she was kidding. Only, I hadn't realized. Honestly, the thought never occurred to me.
In conclusion, if this is what life is going to be like as I head into middle age, I'd better get one of those Life Alert buzzer necklaces asap, because it can't be that much longer before I've fallen and I can't get up..............
In the meantime, you can now watch my episode of Jeopardy! on YouTube so you can get the reference I made to being smarter than a potted plant in the title up there. You see, Alex Trebek himself questioned which would be smarter, me or the plant. In my defense, I don't think my multivitamins have the same oomph as a good dose of Miracle Gro.
Part one of my episode is here: http://www.youtube.com/wat
and part two is here: http://www.youtube.com/wat
Just please, pretend you're laughing with me and not at me, okay?