I may be a little bit distracted. I went into the kitchen to make a quick cup of coffee while I pondered the most recent in a series of unfortunate events. When I heard the plunk of a K-cup instead of the hiss of brewed coffee landing in my cup, I brought my full attention to the task at hand.
“Not really paying attention, are we?” I asked. We being just me, I answered. “Nope, afraid not.”
I looked at the situation from the point of view of someone who did not know me well, really well. “Early onset Alzheimer’s?” they might ask. (Not that early if truth be told.) No, I didn’t forget how to make coffee, I just went kind of autopilot, but sent the K-cup in the wrong direction.
Going in the wrong way is definitely not a new thing. For one, I was born devoid of a sense of direction. Case in point: Once, at a restaurant, I walked out of the ladies’ room straight into the men’s room because it seemed like that was the right direction. The inhabitants quickly assured me it was not.
More pertinent, though, is the fact that if I am distracted, my body takes over and does things without consulting my mind. To illustrate this, I will mention some of the many places I have visited –accidentally. My sister and I and our kids used to go on vacation together. We once went to Arkansas to see Graceland. Another time, we were headed to Trenton, N. J. to see the Liberty Bell. We spent a long time on the loop around Washington, D.C., calling out, “Kids, Washington Monument,” each time was passed that venerable edifice. (Think Chevy Chase in “European Vacation. ” If you haven’t seen it, watch it so you will understand.) We regularly missed exits because we were talking and, thus, distracted. We did eventually see the Liberty Bell and Graceland, but we saw more of the country in route than we intended.
But this goes deeper than missing an exit. I can remember losing an entire cup of fresh coffee when I was attending college, a single mom in my early 30s. After looking in every room, I finally gave up and went on to class, completely perplexed and with no coffee. A month later, I found the cup — now topped with a green furry layer of yuck – on a shelf in the coat closet. I immediately remembered exactly what had happened. I had taken a sip of coffee, then thought about my camera for photography class, went in the closet, absentmindedly set the cup down, got the camera, walked out to put it with my books, then went to finish getting ready for the day. Sometime in that process, I thought about my coffee and started the search.
Long before that, as a teenager, I would do things like forget I was making a sandwich and start sweeping the kitchen. Of course, I was in the throes of puppy love at the time, which is almost the definition of distracted.
Looking at all this, I realized that with my history, we really won’t know when or if to worry about Alzheimer’s. One coffee pod dropped into a cup instead of the Keurig machine is really no indication of trouble on the horizon.
I went to take a shower, pondering this, but with no great concern. As I was rinsing, I noted the peppermint smell in the air and realized I had just taken my entire shower with shampoo instead of body wash. Distracted? Alzheimer’s? Oh well, either way, I’ll probably be the best smelling resident of the home!