The absent-minded lowbrow

| Updated on July 24, 2020 Published on July 24, 2020

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Average Joes cannot afford to be forgetful, rues a reader, recalling how memory lapses nearly cost him his marriage

Dear Editor,

I forget... Being absent-minded is the privilege of the genius. We hear stories about the absurd forgetfulness in everyday matters of such greats as Einstein and Newton, and chuckle appreciatively.

However, if we — those of acknowledged mediocre intellect — should occasionally let things slip our mind, we are subjected to severe ridicule and harsh name-calling. Unfortunately, I have suffered this since childhood, and the situation shows no signs of improving even now when such senior moments can be attributed to an early onset of senility.

I can, for one, never remember my vehicle number plate. There was a time — before the advent of remote locks — when I had to peer inside every car at parking lots to identify mine. The parking attendants were suspicious, more so when, on questioning, I could not recollect the number of the car.

Worse still was the fact that in the olden days, your car key could open other cars if they were of a similar vintage. Once, when visiting my parents, I had borrowed my dad’s car and taken my kid to the market. Returning to the parking area laden with shopping bags and child in tow, I opened the door of what I thought was my dad’s Maruti and proceeded to load the packages in the car. A gentleman came over and asked if there was a problem. I thanked him and asked him to mind my child while I arranged the shopping bags. This done, I thanked him, sat my daughter in the back seat and got in. The stunned gentleman protested. “But this is my car,” he exclaimed.

Profuse apologies later, and after the clinching argument that I would hardly be committing grand auto theft while shopping, and that too accompanied by a child, I convinced him that I was not a criminal. But I fear he may have harboured the thought that I was criminally insane.

The other issue, dear Editor, is that I always drive on autopilot. Once the route has been uploaded on what passes for my mind, I don’t have to consciously plan the drive. Thus, as I used to drop my wife off on my way to work, that’s how I went, irrespective of whether she was in the car or not. I usually realised that she was not there after I had parked by her office and waited for her to get off. I fear some of her colleagues may have seen me as some kind of a stalker. I routinely landed up at my daughter’s school, too, even when I was not dropping her off. I think the authorities had a lookout posted for a suspicious person who stopped his car outside the school and sheepishly looked around before driving off.

That’s not all. Being an incurable multi-tasker, I call someone, and then, as I wait for them to answer the phone, start working on my computer. The problem with that is, by the time the person picks up the phone, I forget whom I have called — or why. As I desperately try to identify the voice and remember what it was I needed, the person at the other end shouts, “Hello, hello!” while listening to my heavy breathing.

It’s not always funny, dear Editor. Once, my forgetfulness brought about a crisis in my marriage. I offered a lift to a colleague from work and the LOH — Lady of the House — was in the back seat. When we reached the colleague’s destination, the LOH got out of the car to come up to the passenger’s seat. But blissfully unaware of that, I drove off home, leaving her stranded midway. I remembered her only when she came home in a cab, and icily asked me for money to pay off the taxi (her purse was on the back seat, you see).

Fortunately, my marriage survives to this day. It could well be because I can’t remember the remarks about reconsideration of options proposed by my long-suffering LOH. As I said, dear Editor, I forget.

Yours absent-mindedly,

A forget-all

Yours Sincerely is a weekly record of grudges and grumblings from an anonymous reader

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Published on July 24, 2020
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