When I was little, Grandma would tell me that God had given me a brain and that if I didn't use it, he'd give me an aneurysm. That's a heck of a thing for a grade-schooler to worry about, and I've been mortally scared of waking up with the IQ of an eggplant ever since. As an adult nothing frightens me worse than the thought of Alzheimer's, of having my essential me-ness float off, never to come back, so what happened yesterday morning was pretty rattling.
I've got a pretty good sense of direction. I don't get "lost" in that I don't think I've ever been in a place that I couldn't find my way back the way I'd come, and once I've been somewhere, I can almost always dead-reckon my way there again. Well, yesterday morning somebody misplaced the coffee shoppe that sells filters for the Chemex at Roseholme.
I mean, I knew where I was; I certainly wasn't lost. But where was the ferschlugginer store? I could picture it in my mind, but it wasn't at the expected intersection. Or the other intersection. I had to orbit the block to find the joint, and was thoroughly shaken by the experience.
So I told my roommate about my experience, and my Alzheimerphobia, and she decided that the thing to do would be to awaken me from my evening doze on the futon and check to see that I was oriented in space and time:
RX: "Tam. Wake up."
Me: "Mmpph... huh? Wazzat?"
RX: "What's the date?"
Me: "Huh? I don't know. The 26th?"
RX: "Name two states."
Me: "Denial and confusion."
RX: "Who is the president?"
Me: *pause* "Oh... damn it!"
RX: "You're oriented, all right."