I have to gingerly approach blogging about dementia--I am worried that Ramesh might actually make it a point to come all the way to Oregon to kick me in my behind!
I decided that it was time to create new neural networks in my brain--the synapses that I am hoping will help fight off dementia as long as I can.
I drove to the grocery store that was all the way south of town--a much bigger, newer, version of the store in which I typically shop. Which means, no familiarity with the aisles. And no familiarity with the employees too--no Rod nor Cathy nor Demi nor ...
I didn't take the path that any normal person would take, or what Google would recommend. New streets. I had to pause and think about making the left and right turns. And watch out for speed bumps.
As I was ready to turn right on to the one of the streets--my light was green--I noticed two young women trying to make up their minds on waiting for the their crosswalk light to turn green or to walk the other way, which would then put them in my path.
When I see women trying to decide, it is trouble--that is the conclusion that I have reached over the years.
Once, back in Bakersfield, I was at a coffee shop waiting in line. A woman about my age was ahead of me and soon it was her turn.
She reached the counter. Ordered something. As the cashier was ready to ring her up, she changed her order. And, she changed it a third time, after which she turned around to look at me and said those immortal words that are forever etched in my memory: "it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind!" And smiled.
What can one say when a woman says that and smiles, right? I simply put my hands up in mock surrender.
So, when I saw these two women, I was worried they would jump into the crosswalk at the last minute and I might hit them. I didn't care for the car behind me. This being Eugene, nobody honked anyway.
Sure enough, the two women, who were chatting throughout, did exactly what I was afraid they would. It was a good thing I waited that two seconds.
I am sure it was all good training for the brain.
I reached the store. Everything was different--from the parking spots to even the hand-carry baskets at the store. A different branch of the same grocery store chain and they have more upscale hand-carry baskets!
I slowly walked the aisles. After picking up the few items that I needed, and Vitaminwater that I didn't need and which tastes horrible, I reached the express counter.
The cashier was a young blonde. Perhaps a high school senior or a early year college student.
"Hey, how you doin'?" I said. The part of the chit-chat that is pretty much the norm.
She mumbled something.
Turned out that it was not my old-age hearing problem or comprehension issue.
"I'm sorry" she said with a sweet smile. "I am supposed to ask customers those typical questions and I am getting them all mixed up and they are not coming out right."
I was ready to burst out laughing. I controlled that urge. I didn't want to mess up that young woman's chit-chat skills any more than the horrible state that it was already in.
"You need a summer break" I said with what I hoped was a big grin.
She mumbled something again as I processed the card payment.
"I didn't get what you said ... something summer....?" I asked her.
"Working here is my summer break" she replied.
I wished her well and exited into the hot outdoors.
As I drove back home via a different route, I was glad that she was working over the summer. Even if she didn't care for it that much. To work in the summer is not only an American tradition for teenagers, it is also a phenomenally valuable and important experience that has significant effects over the long-term. Unfortunately, the decade has been brutal for the young:
I am sure I have created enough new pathways to postpone the dementia by at least one more day ;)