I couldn’t remember what I was going to blog about this morning – and guess what it was? Yes, our old friend STML. No, this is not a weird version of HTML; it stands for Short-term Memory Loss. Now, as you all know, I have been suffering from this for a very long time and I am now officially Fed Up. I keep thinking it will pass, but it doesn’t seem to be passing – and frankly, I am not prepared to spend the rest of my life in some kind of Dory-esque, senile fog.
So I have done something I should have done a long time ago: I have started taking some medicine.
Short-term memory loss is not merely inconvenient. It can be highly embarrassing: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said to people, ‘Nice to meet you’, only to be told that I’d met them several times before – or ‘I don’t know when we last saw each other’, only for them to say, ‘you spoke to me at so-and-so’s party last week.’ For some reason, telling them I suffer from STML doesn’t seem to make things any better: usually when I tell people that, a clouded look comes into their eyes and they edge away. I don’t know if they think I’m bullshitting them, or if memory loss is close to mental illness in their eyes – and therefore scary – but I could really do without the whole scene. I’ve had enough now – and so I’m going to try whatever I can to get over it.
STML is not funny. Sometimes it’s more disturbing than embarrassing – I have phoned Mark in tears on more than one occasion because I’ve been on my way somewhere in Leicester – a city I have inhabited for more than 20 years – and I just can’t remember how to get there. It’s not that the place looks unfamiliar, it’s that the connections in my brain are broken, so that I can’t remember how to get from one part of town to another. Similarly, the links between days are broken, so that I can’t recall on one day what I did on the previous day.
And today I noticed another interesting feature of this phenomenon: that my sense of smell has gone AWOL. It was a real DUH! moment because obviously memory and smell are closely intertwined – and it just hadn’t occurred to me that my sense of smell might have disappeared at the same time as my memory. So clearly I am the anti-Proust, because instead of remembering stuff and writing it down, like he did, I forget stuff and then write it down.
But hang on, that’s not right – because the stuff Proust was remembering was not recent; it was in the distant past. And sometimes we have to let go of the recent past in order to recall earlier events. So perhaps all this stuff is about me remembering my madeleines – or in my case, the planes going over the garden and the shadow of the church spire in which I grew up.
Reading this blog is a good way to try to remember what I’ve been up to.
So I shall be off now to catch up with myself.