This morning I was cleaning my bedroom. I pulled out a basket under my bed and noted a significant amount of dust under the bed. And I said to myself, “Oh, you stupid, lazy woman! You need to stop wasting time, be a more dutiful wife, and get these things done.”
Was I temporarily transported back to the last millennium? A dutiful wife? I have been unmarried for nearly 18 years. Several weeks ago, I was signing a financial document and signed “Donna X. Burke”—that hasn’t been my name for 16 years since my divorce became final.
The dutiful wife is long gone. So the dialogue in my head and my slip back to signing my long-gone name could be alarming. One thing I can say with surety is that it’s not wishful thinking. I’m a different person now and I couldn’t go back to that life even if I wanted to go back.
Is my brain just distracted and unfocused sometimes? Of course. Everyone I know who is my age goes through these temporary blips in thought processes. It takes at least three of us an hour to remember the name of the actress who was in that movie—that movie based on the book, where her husband and family go away and she has a brief fling with that guy. No, that’s not the movie—it’s the one with the horse. That other guy, that famous American actor was in it. Who was that actor? And the actress, you know who she is—it’s that actress with dark hair. She’s English but she lives in France. I read that in a magazine at the beauty shop. She’s also in that movie where she’s in prison and she smokes a lot of cigarettes. I think the movie was in French. An hour later, when we’re comparing about our mothers’ atrocious recipes for Jell-O molds, someone blurts out “Kristin Scott Thomas!”. We all know what she’s talking about.
Or there’s another worst-case scenario. Am I developing some sort of senile dementia? Lord, please protect me!