I know an elderly couple who both appear to have the beginnings of dementia, or at least short-term memory loss. Visiting them is interesting, because every time I go to their house, the conversation is the same as last time, but it’s new to them. When they tell me, for the 17th time, that their son and his family are planning to visit them, they’re just as excited as when they told me the first time, because, to them, they just heard the news.
Their short-term memory loss goes in and out, though. Sometimes one or the other will remember something that happened recently, but then he or she will immediately forget the memory.
The other day, the wife called me. “Did you send us something?” she asked. “A box arrived here today.” I had sent them a down comforter for Christmas, but I had only ordered it online the day before, so I did not expect it to arrive in one day. It’s interesting how, when you need something to arrive during Amazon’s two-day delivery window, it doesn’t, but when you’re not in a rush, the thing almost materializes at its destination.
Anyway, I told her that she should open the box on Christmas. “Oh, don’t worry,” she said. “I won’t open it until then.” Then we talked about other things and, as I was about to hang up, she said, “We got the prettiest down comforter today and it looks so nice on our bed. I wonder who sent it.”
“I told you that the present was from me,” I said. “And you said you hadn’t opened it.”
“Oh,” she said. “I didn’t open it. We’re saving it for Christmas.”
“Great!” I said.
I mean, really, what else could I have said?