By: Ann Brown
I could not remember the word “table” the other day. This is the second time I have forgotten that particular word. This can’t be good.
In general, I am not unduly freaked by what my brain does in this post-menopausal veil of tears. I have managed to get by for the past 57 years on what the Lord gave me to fill my noggin. True, I cannot calculate gratuities in restaurants (or even see the bill in a poorly lit joint) and so I pretty much just give the waitperson ten dollars, walk into a wall and say goodbye to the coat rack. And true, when I am standing in my bedroom wearing only my pajama bottoms I often cannot remember if I am in the middle of taking them off or putting them on, oh, and I often introduce myself to people I have met only moments earlier, sometimes introducing myself to them over and over again at one event, but, you know, whatev. That kind of shit happens to me every day. You deal with it. No big whoop.
Still, not being able to retrieve the word “table” was troubling. Especially since I was at a restaurant and my friends were waiting for met at a corner table and I was trying to tell the person seating me that my friends were already there, waiting for me over there, at that…uh….er….shit…fuck…
Thankfully, the word did come to me. On my drive home. TABLE! Fuck. I wanted to call my friends to tell them that I finally remembered the word but I couldn’t remember where I put my phone. Fuck. (It was in my hand. Fuuuuck.)
Maybe the brain has a limit of words it can retain. I have been endeavoring to increase my vocabulary lately; perhaps my brain had to delete some words that have been in there since 1954. “Table” would certainly be one of them. As in kitchen table. The words “more” and “more food!” and “are you going to finish that?” have probably been in my rotation since my verbal beginning, as well. Food words. Learned them early, used them often. Served me well.
I grew up with a mother who took after her mother who ate lunch from the backyard garden. Nasturtiums, herbs, whatever was edible and grown in the soil of her West LA apartment, that’s what was for lunch. No Fritos or Wonder Bread for the Browns. I foraged and sowed my meals there, managing still to eat myself sick. Truly, the tastiest thing in Grandma Esther’s house was the box of Aspirgum, which Karen and I devoured each time we were there. If you were born after 1954, you will not know what this is, so I will tell you: aspirin in chewing gum form with a candy coating. I know, right? Why, you ask? And, delicious, is my answer. Also, I never had even one headache as a child. Although I have about a gajillion stomach ulcers.
My point is, I will eat anything, evidently. Also, on an unrelated topic, all my underpants are shrinking. Cheap cotton is my guess.
Wait, no. My point is, why can’t I remember the word “table”?
Well, as the old words leave my brain, leaving room for the new arrivals (“osteoarthritis”, “thinning vaginal wall” and “Xanax refill”), I suppose I will have to make do with hand gestures, nodding and a smattering of Esperanto.
I better hold on to “nice to meet you”, however. You know, for when I say hello to the coat rack for the third time.