‘Just call me a homing pigeon,’ said the old man smugly as he traversed the narrow streets of our neighborhood, Italian Job-style style, to avoid the traffic on the main arterial road to the city.
Me, not so much. In fact, never.
Only a few days before, I had got on the bus to meet NC in the city and ended up about twenty kilometers further north and had to call her anxiously to tell her I was lost.
‘I thought you told me that all the buses go to the city,’ I said accusingly when she picked up, as I dug around my handbag for my glasses to check Google maps, only to realize that I’d left them at home. Then the heavens opened and the new umbrella I’d bought from the two-dollar shop only that morning, refused to open.
‘Where are you?’ she asked me calmly.
‘Fuck knows,’ I answered bleakly, praying this was just another one of ‘those days’ and not an early sign of dementia.
In fairness, I’ve never had any sense of direction, which I choose to blame on my school’s timetable for making Geography clash with Art, and I think my current issue is more of a distraction problem than short term memory. More and more, I find it difficult to concentrate these days, particularly when I’m not interested in things. I zone out, I drop out of conversations, or more rudely, veer them in the direction I want to take them. Even when I’m watching Netflix – something I’ve chosen to do – I struggle to stay with complicated plots as my mind wanders to tomorrow’s dinner or my plans for the next day.
I can concentrate on my writing, on reading books and articles on social media – the pastimes I enjoy – but the rest of the time it’s like I run around in a permanent fug on autopilot.
Can I blame menopause? Fuck, yes, because every road leads to Menopause and because it has been universally acknowledged that hormone fuckery and lack of sleep contribute to poor concentration in both the Perimenopause stage and Menopause itself. So I’m not Julianne Moore in the early stages of Alzheimer’s – one of the early symptoms of which is getting lost.
But there’s more to it than that. I think that I’ve been sucked into this instant gratification vortex that we accuse our kids of, due to my addiction to social media. I’m so used to ten tabs open on my computer at any one time during the day, that when I’m not hooked up to a technology drip, I find it hard to relax. Also, like most women, I’ve made a career out of multi-tasking and now that life has become less hectic and I’m not running around like a headless chicken, my body doesn’t know how to cope with the shock of being able to sit still for periods of time and it seeks distractions.
Which is most likely why I took the wrong bus and didn’t notice I’d ended up in ‘Burbsville before I spotted the stick figure families on the back windows of the biggest SUVs I’ve seen in my life.
‘And breathe,’ NC said at the end of the phone. ‘Describe to me what you can see.’