Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meno Brain: "I Swear It Was Here a Minute Ago"

My Saturday morning started off like this: I'm at the checkout counter of one of the local discount stores, rummaging around my wallet for my debit card. It was early, so there wasn't a line, and only one other person waiting (patiently). No card. So I pulled out everything in the bill portion, which, like any woman, includes an assortment of junk. Out came a JC Penney hair salon punch card, my credit cards, a Pottery Barn Gift Card, my car registration, my library card, an expired appointment card for my dentist, and a couple of reciepts. But no debit card.

At this point, I'm just annoyed because this happens all the time: my card gets stuck in between the checks or is facing backwards and I simply miss it. So I proceeded to do a thorough examination--the kind you expect when you go through airport security these days. I went through every zippered pocket, every pre-formed credit card slot, every extra pocket--twice. No card. Now both the cashier and the guy behind me are starting to get impatient. I apologize. And do the same pat-down with my multi-pocket purse. Still no card.

Now I'm starting to panic. Fear of finding my checking account drained is bringing on a cold sweat. I apologize again and tell the cashier I'll have to come back later. At that moment, all I could think about was the total white out over when, where and why I used my debit card. I got in my car and the first thing I did was check between the seats. Nothing. I looked under the seats. Lots of lint--how do you get a vacuum hose under there anyway?--a couple of pennies, a pen, and a map I'd been looking for for months. But no debit card. I checked the side pockets--both sides--even though the card would have had to leap out of hand into the passenger side pocket to be hiding there, but you never know. I did find my watch which was a pleasant surprise, but given the possibility of a drained bank account, I wasn't whooping it up.

Even worse, my brain was now going into spasms as I tried to retrace my steps from the day before. I bought gas, but was that before work or on the way home? I made a bank deposit--definitely in the morning. Maybe the ATM ate my card or I drove away without it. That would be a good thing because at least my bank would have my card. But, wait. I ran out to the local discount food mart at lunchtime to buy bagged salad. Did I use my debit card or cash? And didn't I stop for something else on the way home? What was it? I couldn't remember. That was the cold, hard thruth. I COULDN'T REMEMBER!

The whole time I'm racing home to check the coat I'd been wearing the day before I'm thinking, dementia is setting in! I can't recall what I did only 12 hours ago. So now I'm panicking because I'm going to be both penniless and brain damaged. Long story short---I found out by going to my online account that the last time I used my card was at a Rite Aid to buy some Sharpies. Good news: no other trasnactions. Bad news: the card wasn't in my coat pocket, and when I drove over to the drug store they told me no card had been turned in. I resorted to dumpster diving to go through the garbage bag I had just thrown out that morning to see if I had inadvertently tossed out the card with the junk mail. No dice. My last desperate act was to call my daughter at work to find out if she had borrowed my card for any reason. In panic situations, you start thinking ludicrous things. Of course, she thought I was nuts. She was like: "Why would I take your card?" Well, because honey, the only other explanation is that your mother is losing her mind!

Needless to say, I headed directly to the bank to have my card cancelled. The young teller behind the counter was very patient and deactivated the card without making me get into an embarassing discussion about why I needed it cancelled. He has no idea how much Prozac he saved me from consuming. Or of the mortification I felt for being so reckless/distracted/ menopausal that I couldn't remember putting my card back in my wallet after using it.

This is what an estrogen-depleted brain does. It forgets. It loses track. It turns perfectly clear memories into white noise. It occured to me later in the day, when I finally was assured that no one was enjoying an unexpected shopping spree on my behalf, that if medical science spent less time trying to invent ways to give eighty year old men erections, and more on finding ways to cure menopausal brain lapses, we'd all be a lot better off. Besides, what difference does it make if your hubby or significant other can be frisky well past his golden years if you forget you even had sex? You want to do it again?!?!? We just had sex fifteen minutes ago! No, honey, it's been two weeks.

Honestly, if they can embed a GPS chip in dogs, why can't they come up with something that a woman can attach to anything she's likely to lose? I know, some of you are thinking why not put one on Mr. "I'm Happy, I Have Viagara." You could buy them by the six-pack at Staples. Make them in fashionable colors, and you're on your way to Trump Towers, my friend.

PS: That's my new alter ago, Evie, on top, who'll have lots more to say on midlife in the future!