MODESTO -- Someone stole my car the other day. Not in Modesto, open door, keys in, motor running, but a locked car on the roof of a nine-story downtown San Francisco parking lot.
My wife and I had gone to the city to see a matinee a Greek tragedy with murder, revenge, matricide and so forth. We parked where we always did and afterward proceeded to do a little shopping, take a glass of wine and discuss the dark ramifications of murder, revenge and matricide.
"I'll just put the packages in the car and we'll head to dinner," I said. But the car was not there. Not so unusual, happens briefly to me occasionally in shopping malls. Just keep looking. But no, still not there.
A bit concerned I did another visual sweep. There was no silver 2000 Toyota Avalon to be seen. There were two aisles, cars on both side, probably 100 cars. Systematically I walked up and down both rows, checking each and every car. Not there. What was I missing?
One of the vicissitudes of the aging process is the gradual decline of certain capabilities along with increasing introspection what am I losing?
About to enter my eighth decade, I am not immune to such thoughts. My wife thinks I am losing my hearing when I know very well she has dropped her voice a few decibels. Besides, selective deafness hearing what I wish to hear and denying what I do not can be an asset if carefully used.
As to memory, I have never been good with names and cannot remember social events when my wife easily recalls who was there and what was said.
Besides, scientific studies, once fixed on increasing memory, have now recognized the importance of forgetting. No mind can remain healthy unless it can properly bury most of its failures and unhappiness.
I could have told them that a long time ago. And then there is the losing of things. Where did I put my coffee mug? Have you seen my glasses? I had the screw driver just 10 minutes ago. All within normal. But losing a car?
Confused and discombobulated, I descended to the parking lot floor, a question in my mind is this the way it begins?
"Someone has stolen my car!" I said to the unbelieving attendant, describing in detail the car and where I left it. As we started to the elevator to show him what wasn't there, I said again to my wife, "My car is gone!"
Ah, my wife she who finds everything. Where are my glasses? In the bathroom on the counter. Where is yesterday's sports page? On the table in your study. We're out of butter. No, look in the other fridge, lower left shelf, behind the milk.
My wife, who now quietly raises her hand and says, "Van, we didn't come in your car. We came in mine."
Epiphany. Senescence postponed? Duh.
Allen is a semi-retired Modesto physician and regular community columnist. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.