Paris, the last word
Posh WHO?

The Absent-Minded Expat

I've always prided myself in having a pretty good memory. I'm especially good at remembering useless trivia on subjects like history, geography, movies, and especially geeky topics like Star Wars and Star Trek.  I also have something of a photographic memory when it comes to places, directions, maps, and where things are placed.  Whereas Mrs. Crab would misplace her head if it wasn't attached to her neck, I rarely lose things. I don't think I've ever lost or forgotten my keys or wallet.  I've never had a problem finding things...Until recently.

Lately I seem to be misplacing everything.  A few months ago, I left a very expensive pair of hat and gloves on the bus.  A few weeks later, I lost Mrs. Crab's favorite umbrella on the Tube.  Just this weekend, I left a pricey razor in the hotel bathroom in Melun, France.  I can't seem to find my glasses when they are on my head. I left my umbrella at the grocery store. And on that same trip on Monday, I also left by debit card there in the self-checkout cash register. 

This was the lost item that really freaked me out.  I didn't realize my debit card was missing until Tuesday night, when I opened my wallet to pay for pints at our local pub.  I spent the next few hours losing sleep, wracking my brain to recall where I last used the card.  On a whim, I went back to Sainsbury's customer service desk to ask if any missing cards had turned up.  The woman acted as if she had heard the same question about 10 times a day. In fact, she had.  She opened a drawer beneath her register and pulled out a giant STACK of about 50 debit and credit cards. "I'm glad to see I'm not the only idiot," I told the woman. "It happens ALL the time," she said with a smile as she rummaged through the cards. Indeed, my card was in the pile, in an envelope ready to be mailed back to my bank.  I had to present my passport to prove it was my card, but all was well.

The whole incident still has me freaking out. Do I have early-onset Alzheimer's? Or am I just an absent-minded idiot? I'm going to go with the latter!  It's easier to deal with, but unfortunately not a very good excuse for my failing memory of late

Although I've always had a pretty decent memory, I've never been good at recognizing or remembering names and faces. I'm a complete blank. Everyone looks exactly the same to me.  I'm a complete blank with faces, not a good thing when you're a journalist.  Occasionally, somebody will come up to me on the street and say "Oh, hello Mr. Crab!" and launch into a conversation, while I'm standing there smiling, listening, and thinking to myself, "Who the HELL is this person!?!?"  When I'm with Mrs. Crab, it's a bit easier because I can flash her a silent, inquisitive look as if to say, "Throw me a bone -- who is this and how do we know him/her?," at which point she'll insert a clue or two into the next sentence.

Turns out there is actually a medical condition for this problem with the really original name of "Faceblindness." The scientific name is prosopagnosia. I think I may have a less severe version of this memory impairment. So now I have a scientific excuse for not remembering you! 

Mrs. Crab chalks up my forgetfullness to stress. I think I'm just a moron. But if it is stress, I've found a new outlet.

Last month, I joined a gym.  It's nothing fancy; just a local community gym about a mile from our flat. It has a large indoor swimming pool, sauna, and very nice gym with new equipment. The locker room could use some help and it's packed with bratty kids during the lunch hours but it's otherwise decent, and relatively cheap.  It's the first time in nearly two years that I'm going to the gym regularly again. I've been putting it off ever since my 2006 ski accident that broke my right collarbone. Ever since then, my right shoulder has felt weaker than my left, and sometimes aches and feels sore after a bit of heavy lifting.  Met with the fitness instructor yesterday, who wrote up a training regimen that will hopefully get my collarbone back in shape. 

However, the gym is making me feel even more sore. I wake up the next morning feeling like I was hit by a double-decker bus. My drill sergeant used to say that, "Pain is weakness leaving your body!"  But since I've started my gym routine, I've noticed that I'm sleeping a lot better now and feeling, yes, less stressed.  But so far, exercise is not improving my memory!