It’s always been a true statement, that I can strike up a general conversation, with almost any stranger I meet. A lot of people that know me, often shy away from introducing a new in-law, for fear of my questioning. It’s just that I’m interest in different people, after all, their walk through life has been different than mine. A person can be introduced to me, and before they have said the next 3 words, I’d be standing there wondering what their name was, I learn their story, but, but what was their name?
I used to work in office with around 500 people in it. I would have casual interaction with most of them, knowing and forgetting their names within 10 feet of passing. I was a boss, and since I interacted with so many people, they just expected that I would remember who they were.. Remember their faces, yes, names, lost to some corner of my very-gray matter. I used to fear going to an evening event in town, that I might run into someone I needed to introduce to my wife, and not be able to dig their name out of that dark gray matter and be totally lost!
It was June 21, 1969, the day of our marriage. At the conclusion of the ceremony, we stood shoulder to shoulder in a reception line, alternating in-laws and out-laws. We were required to introduce the visitors to our new in-laws. Luckily my hearing was good enough (then), that I listened to names mentioned two people down and then could share their name as they approach my location!
There are some things I’m really good at remembering, or at least I remember it my way. I guess it’s usual that something you’re really interested sticks with you. Must be why I did so poorly in school, it wasn’t really interesting. When meeting people, I am more interested in the person, who they really are, what they do, their experiences,…….. not their names.
I recently advanced into the Medicare world. A couple of weeks ago, I had my second annual medial visit. I had to pre-fill out a general information form, almost identical to the one I filled out last year. Strange, that they seemly forgot what I told them last year, they must of lost last year’s information sheet. As I made the appointment, I asked what would happened if I just skipped this portion, and was told Medicare wouldn’t pay for the visit! Ok, Ok, government redundancy here I come.
Upon my placement in the exam room, I was asked a series of questions, what year is it? Who’s the President? What is the month and day? Then, I was given THREE words, dog, book, grass. The young (seemingly 15 year old nurse) asked me to repeat the words, so I did, “dog, book, grass” We continued with the obscure examination, “write a complete sentence”, blood pressure check, temperature check etc., etc., then……out of the blue, she SPRUNG it on me!
“Repeat the three words I gave you”…..uh……uh………uh…….”the dog did something in the grass???” “BOOK” she said, and gave me a strange look. “Oh, yeah, dog, book, grass” says I.
Ok, so I realized, this is a test determining onset of Dementia or Alzheimer’s. But, in my defense, she has NO idea that I have endured the same level of mental lapse for 65 years! She has no basis for comparison! I became red faced during my stumbling, I waited, I thought she might pick up the phone, and arrange for my transport to the Alzheimer’s unit. She let me off, or more precisely out, of the office!
Not to worry though, I’ve been practicing…………….. every day……”dog, book, grass”, “dog book, grass”. Next year I’ll be ready.
It’ll be my luck that SHE will have forgotten dog, book, grass and give me different three words….but I’ll respond, dog, book, grass!