I can’t remember what this column is about

I’ll take my sources anywhere I can get ’em. So when I came across a little blurb in a little publication found in many cafes in just about every city and town, I immediately thought: I should steal this idea!

I’ll take my sources anywhere I can get ’em.

So when I came across a little blurb in a little publication found in many cafes in just about every city and town, I immediately thought: I should steal this idea!

What I mean is, I was having some fairly fast food of questionable health benefit the other day when I picked up one of those one-sheet advertising pamphlet thingies with the wacky news tidbits and quotes and trivia questions and saw an item that immediately caught my eye. And when it finally gave my eye back, I thought my friends in Columnland might be interested to hear about this little news item.

And then, by the time I got back to my home office, fired up my various computer devices and laid the old fingers on the keyboard, I took a deep breath and stared at the blank page. Well, I stared at the blank screen actually, but you get my drift.

My mind was as blank as the page (screen) and while that is not at all surprising for Yours Truly, the point is, I had completely forgotten what it was I was going to write and rant about.

I had not forgotten to remember that I got some interesting information from the little free paper at the café, mind you; I just couldn’t for the life of me remember what the idea was.

So later that evening, when I finally remembered I was supposed to be writing a column, I ventured out to retrieve my memory by borrowing one of those little brochure thingies.

I drive all the way back to the café, walk in nonchalantly (knowing I wasn’t planning on buying anything) and stroll innocently over to the place where the newspapers are kept for the enjoyment of the paying patrons, with the intent of purloining said paper. If I have to, I’ll buy a Pepsi to go, I think to myself.

I can always use a Pepsi. But, of course, all the little paper thingies were gone. I can’t remember why.

Forget about it, I thought, and then I remembered that there was another place nearby that often has those papers and — bonus! — that place has ice cream!

So a short drive later and I’m sitting enjoying a chocolate fudge sundae with whipped cream and peanuts and wondering what I was doing sitting alone in a restaurant at 9 o’clock at night eating ice cream.

And by pure chance, on my way out, all dejected and confused again, I somehow noticed what I’d actually come there for in the first place. I grabbed a copy of the little one-page advertising brochure thingy with the trivia and the jokes and I left feeling pretty darned impressed with myself that I had more or less remembered something for a change.

Of course, I had forgotten where I parked the car.

News item: A study by the American Demographic Society found that “Americans spend nine million hours looking for important items they have misplaced.” To put that into more relevant Canadian terms, I believe that would translate into the fact that Canadians spend approximately nine million metric hours looking for stuff. Also, I doubt that Canadians would have something called a Demographic Society, because we Canucks know that our American neighbours obviously just made that part up. The society part, I mean, I’m sure the nine million forgetful hours is totally true. And nine million hours a day is lot of honkin’ hours.

Be that as it may, the point is — if I can remember what it was — is that most of us are generally somewhere between somewhat absent-minded and pathologically forgetful.

And I don’t know about you, but I find the further I get along the path on the trail on the road of life’s great journey, the more forgetful I am becoming.

The article referred to above, which I had previously forgotten to remember, blames all this forgetfulness on the fact that many of us are not very organized or tidy. It argues that this causes us to waste time trying to find things and makes us “emotionally and physically tired.”

It concludes with this important news nugget: “A cluttered environment tends to clutter one’s mind.”

Or as my Better Half puts it as she points to my noggin: “You can’t remember anything because your computer is full!”

This may be true but how can I remember anything when I’m spending nine million metric hours looking for “important items I’ve misplaced?”

So with my computer being full and me being not exactly overly neat and tidy, it’s no wonder I arrive at an important photographic shoot and at the exact moment I need to take a picture I realize I’ve forgotten to bring my camera! (True story).

It’s no wonder that I head out from the house and drive earnestly for quite a few minutes and quite a few blocks until I realize I have no idea where I’m headed or why.

It’s a good thing I keep my appointments and other daily reminders on the calendar thingy on my phone. However, it’s not such a good thing to realize, as I often do, that I’ve forgotten my phone at home.

Lately I’ve gone to the wrong place at the right time, the right place at the wrong time and, I hate to admit, to the wrong place at the wrong time.

I’ve already lost one of the nice winter gloves my BH gave me for Christmas, and I haven’t seen my clip-on sunglasses since September. (My fourth set. I lost the other three.)

But I’m sure all of this forgetfulness will go away once I reboot my “computer” and tidy up a bit around my office, my car, my head, etc. But it’s no big deal, really. It’s January and I’ve only used up about one million metric hours looking for misplaced stuff. Hey, I’ve got eight million left!

And I really think I’m starting to improve — I don’t forget things nearly as much as I used to. Now, if I could only remember how I was going to end this column. Oh, yeah — I really think I’m starting to improve — I don’t forget things nearly as much as I used to.

Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate. His books can be found at Chapters, Coles and Sunworks in Red Deer.

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