Do you remember playing The Memory Game? It involved a tray of household objects, maybe twenty or so, random finds; a torch, a match, a pencil, a drawing pin, elastic band, stick of lip balm, pebble, candle, that kind of thing. You'd have a minute to memorize everything in front of you, and then the tray would be taken away and you'd have to write down all the objects you'd seen. I'm not sure Max has the concentration for it yet and Oli would just eat the items, but I'm looking forward to playing it around here one day. I don't remember being particularly good at it, but for a while now my daily activities have resembled an elaborate form of this game. During the day, I will see things; a digger on a windowsill, a sippy cup lid under a bookshelf. Sometimes I'm conscious of it and sometimes I don't even know I'm registering these sightings. But when a digger is called for, I am usually able to say, with some precision, where it is. Of course, it's only me who is ever going to be looking for the sippy cup lid, and that's when I go back to the bookshelf, get down on hands and knees, and retrieve it. It's at this point, that I wonder why I didn't pick it up when I saw it in the first place. Perhaps I had my hands full. Or maybe my brain was preoccupied. I sometimes worry about what is going on in there. It's not helped by my eldest: Max's latest thing is to ask me a question so random he could be sleep-talking;
'Is the shark going into the waterfall?'
This verbal trapeze comes out of nowhere and swings across my comprehension. I'm thinking about supper or laundry or life's eternal admin.
'Yes.' I say, while still grappling with the image I have just confirmed exists.
The glittery leotard disappears from view. There's a pause before the sequined artist swings back;
'What is the shark saying?'
I have to think for a second. 'Whoooooooooaaaah splosh' I manage.
The oscillating stunt performance comes back at me.
'Why is the shark going into the waterfall?'
I feel like saying 'hang on, you started this...' but I know that won't work. Sometimes I manage to make something up, something that might have caused this curious dream sequence to materialize. Sometimes my brain never quite catches up with the scene that was created. These are the conversations that are dominating things around here. Who knows what it's doing to my cerebral core. At the beach the other day, Max knocked his bike over and I was telling him to pick it up; except that it came out as 'Max, please can you pick up your swimming costume.' Where did that come from? Early dementia? I think I will start assembling that tray of objects, and consciously exercise what brain cells are left.