Tom’s thinking about the family coming later today,
what needs to be done before then, how much his
grandson will have grown, as he confidently moves
forward to change the oil in the car, fully expecting
his automatic mind to kick in and follow through.
But there’s only a blank!
He can’t remember how to do it – confused
caught off balance, a time of panic, before
the memory’s returned and he can proceed.
Tom doesn’t realise how easy it’s become
to transfer repetitive, physical actions over to
the mechanical mind – no need to stop and think
where to reach for the salt, the bedside clock, the
breakfast bowls, the oven cloth; no need to think
of the correct sequence of tying a Windsor knot,
he’s done it all so often before.
As he takes a shower, he’ll think of the shopping list.
As he cleans his teeth, he’ll think of his credit card.
As he washes the car, he’ll think about his, then the
neighbour’s garden - which will make him think
of how he likes spring, which leads onto his thinking
about the summer coming, which leads onto…
on and on it goes, the wandering unfocused thinking
which travels easily over well-worn paths…
with a start of surprise he finds he’s mowed the lawn!
Unused, the active creative mind, tuned to play
waits to be charged, fired up by something/anything;
be scared, be brave, adapt to the unknown - now
reduced, it has gone into a holding pattern, bored,
loop-taping memories when life was new and raw
for Tom’s mechanical mind is gaining, more and more
power and ever-efficient it drops into a growing
archive any automatic activities Tom’s not used
for a while. When a “blank” happens, it will take
longer and longer before he’ll remember again.
He’ll worry. Believe it’s the first signs of Alzheimer’s
affecting his brain. As his confidence weakens, his
activity will slow. He’ll rationalise it’s easier to shop
at the local village than drive further afield – like a
self-locking washer the mechanical mind clicks,
clicks again, into a tighter and tighter circle
locking his mind until Tom, like his father before him,
will feel more secure staying at home. He’ll buy what
he needs via the phone. Fall asleep in front of t. v.