Holding Forth

Published on August 2nd, 2014 | by Richard Black

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Muttering the in Parking Lots, Thoughts on Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and…Uhhh…Thoughts on Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

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Me. In a parking lot. At the age of 39.

Somewhere over the past few years I’ve begun muttering to myself.  Not in the same way a bag lady talks to her feral cats but close enough to be disturbing.

My father used to do the same thing when I was a kid. He’d narrate what he was doing as he was doing it.

“OK now I’m going to head out of the driveway,” he’d say as he was…well backing the car out of the driveway. The old man would do the same thing as he turned on the TV, took a nap or really performed just about any sort of action that he thought required an explanation no matter how mundane.

“OK now I’m off to work,” I can still hear him as he left the house with his briefcase at 7:30 am.  He’d been leaving the house every day at the same time for the past ten years and why the action required an announcement was always beyond me before I had a child.  He never walked out to “go get a cigarettes” one Friday and stroll through the front door a few weeks later with a minor STD and a new found sense of purpose.

As a child I just thought that the old man was just being chatty when he’d recap the latest rerun of Columbo or describe how to appropriately use a vacuum cleaner. Once I was a bit older I assumed that he’d had some sort of incident, a stroke perhaps or the onset of senile dementia, that compelled him to give a running commentary on every single possible event in which he happened to be taking part.

Now that I’m around the same age I seem to be sharing the same infirmity and I think I know why. I firmly believe that the reason I stand in parking lots and grocery store aisles muttering “OK” to myself in an attempt to remember where my car might be or how to get to the creamed corn is because of my daughter.

After having spent the bulk of the past four years with a small child, a baby, ‘ve found myself talking to her pretty much constantly. It’s pretty much a running dialogue on the same sorts of things my father would’ve have rambled on about when I was a tike.

“It’s time to go to the hardware store sweetie,” I find myself saying, “Let’s get you in some shoesies”!

“So I’m going to strap you into your seat and then we are going to go cliff diving!”

“I hear Afghanistan is lovely this time of year. How about a quick trip overseas while your mother is out of town?”

It was cute when Darcy couldn’t’ talk but now that I’m doing it when she’s cogent and able to respond I’m pretty sure she thinks that I’m autistic.

“OK,” I’ll say as I step out of the car at the local fireworks tent or shooting range, “let’s go shopping!” The words are out of my mouth before I have a chance to bite them off. Of course we’re here to go shopping. Why else would we be at a store?

Darcy will inevitably cast me a confused glance, the same one I would give my father, i.e. one that implied that he’d lost his mind as I step out of the car. I’ve caught the same look from my wife when I load the dishwasher and give a blow by blow about where I’m going to place each plate, bowl and dish but that’s beside the point.

The most upsetting part of the whole deal is that I now find myself announcing my intentions when my daughter isn’t around. I’ll be at the bank, gas station or taxidermist and saying, “OK, here we are” as if I’m trying to remember exactly what in the hell I was supposed to be doing with a pocket full of cash and a dead antelope on the hood of my car.

I’m not happy about it. Not happy at all.

It should come as no surprise that I’m muttering those very words as I type them.

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