I noticed it first when Cinelli and I were heading for a friend's house. I hadn't brought directions, an address or even a telephone number because, hell, we'd been here before and I had the memory of an elephant and remembered exactly where the house was. But it wasn't.
We circled, crisscrossed, double checked the area and, because I don't know how to work the GPS that came with the car, stopped at a gas station where English was a second language and, after pointing to it, bought a mapa.
Searching la mapa we found that we were miles away from where we wanted to be and had to head south if we want to be anywhere at all. After that, we would be at the edge of the Earth and fall off into space just west of Beverly Hills, where life as we know it began.
Through most of the two hours we searched, Cinell sat in tense silence, which was just as well because she was, you might say, quite angry with me. Her fists clenched and unclenched, and even when she tried to smile, it was only to display her incisors
It was my fault that we had gotten lost. No doubt Gypsies had come during the night and stolen the whole neighborhood, houses, trees, flowers and even lawns with their little plastic ducklings spaced evenly in a row from one corner to the other. Really cute.
Cinelli actually found the house, while I sulked in dismay at the failure of the neurons that powered my memory to lead us to our destination. I became convinced that I was suffering from dementia and had to take action. Even before I had gotten us lost I had been displaying memory lapses, forgetting names and household objects.
To prevent that as I aged into borderline uselessness at 85, I bought stickers and wrote on them "chiar" and "table" and "dish," etc. so I would remember what they were called. Well, actually I wrote "the thing you eat at" for table because I couldn't recall what it was in the first place.
Guests would pick up pre-marked stickers at the door ("Hello, My Name Is"). That would work as long as Irma didn't pick up a sticker meant for Chuck.
Cinelli came home, glanced around and said, "what in the hell is this?" "It's a way of apologizing," I said, "for getting us lost. I am sinking into senility and trying to make it easier on all of us..." I paused. "er, uh,..." "Joanne," she offered helpfully, then added, "But you misspelled chair. The thing you sit on."
I'll work on that.