Wheaton’s Way

What is this column about? I can't remember.

Whoever coined the phrase ‘It’s just like riding a bike’, clearly never went years without their feet on the pedals before getting back on one.

When I last rode a bicycle, my best friend Lynne and I were traversing the quiet roads of one of Ireland’s beautiful Aran Islands – Inishmore. You couldn’t rent a car there, and a pony-and-trap was one of the only other modes of available transport.

I hadn’t been on two wheels for ages, but it didn’t take long for the skill to come back to me. What I had forgotten, however, was the time needed for one’s nether regions to become once again familiar with the seat. After getting off to walk and explore for a while, the return to what felt like a carving knife surrounded by a thin layer of leather was most unwelcome. It was a painful journey back to the bed and breakfast that evening.

It’s extraordinary the things we forget. I don’t know what is going on with my memory at the moment, but it is getting beyond ridiculous.

Watching ‘Jeopardy!’ genuinely scares me, as I think it’s proving there’s something happening in my brain. I know a good few of the answers, but I can’t put them into words. I don’t see Alex Trebek accepting, “Oh, yes! Who is… you know, that actor, he was in the film with the aeroplanes. It was also starring… that guy, the one who was tall with the moustache!”

Beep. Beep. “I’m sorry Ms. Wheaton, the answer we were looking for was Tom Cruise.
Tom. Cruise.”

I believe the combination of having more time on my hands and subconsciously fretting about the COVID situation has officially turned me into a turnip.

I walk into the kitchen from the bedroom and I’ve already forgotten what I went there for. By the time I’m back in the bedroom, I’ve remembered, and I make a beeline for the refrigerator before it’s gone again. On the plus side, my Apple Watch is rewarding me all over the place for the brilliant number of steps I’m achieving each day.

A couple of months ago, I could not find my iPhone anywhere. I’d barely covered any ground at the house, so there were limited places it could be. I turned my mattress upside down, combed through every surface, went in and out the front door several times (Apple Watch: Well done! You are way ahead of your steps so far for today!), but to no avail. In a cruel twist of fate, the Find My iPhone feature wasn’t working either. It was almost as though the thing wanted to stay lost.

After heading outside for the umpteenth time, I was about to give up, when we found I’d left it on top of a plant.

That same week, I searched high and low for my car keys. I finally discovered them on my car’s back bumper, where they had been all night. I keep the cracked corn I feed the wild chickens (no judgement, please) in the rear of my SUV. I’d gone out to feed the ungrateful feathered mafia and had left my keys behind. Note to self: metal objects that have sat in the sun for many hours are very hot.

One of my favourite tales to impart is when I realised I hadn’t yet tested the jacuzzi bath located in a spare bathroom in my ‘new’ house. The way to do it was to fill it with water first. At 5pm, I plugged the bath, turned on the tap, and went off to do a few things before circling back.

At 10pm, Lynne came into the living room where I was relaxing on the couch to ask me why the bath was running in that room. She’d gone to get something out of the closet and was wondering why there was a thin layer of water on the floor and the tap doing an excellent impression of Niagara Falls.

I never knew, until that moment, that I could leap from a sitting position at that speed.

Mercifully, the overflow drain had kicked in so I got away with murder, but I bet the next day Cayman Water was booking a happy hour for its employees based on an overnight surge in profits.

Last week, I was lying in bed late at night, trying to get to sleep. This is the prime time for any paranoia or worries to really take root. I decided to quiz myself to see if there was a genuine issue with my memory and, at that moment, I could not think of Peter O’Toole’s name. Who was the actor in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’? He was British, tall, drank like a fish… it would not come to me.

In a panic, I Googled names of serious diseases that could be related to what I was experiencing.

Conclusion: Apparently forgetting the name of a legendary thespian is not a symptom of any of them; however, it is a great indicator of getting old.


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