The neurologist told me my brain was okay but had age-related atrophy. The news about my middle-aged shrunken brain blared at me like a trailer headline from a sci-fi B movie. Suddenly I was “The woman in the Land of the Shrunken Middle-Aged Brains.”
There are many people from this land where the short term memory is the size of a pea. We walk into rooms knowing we went there for some reason, but suddenly forget as soon as we arrive. And unless we put sticky notes with lists of things to do right on our forehead, there is no hope for remembering. Conversations have a point, but somehow the point evaporates into the olden mists of aging synapses. The shrinking seems to happen overnight and makes you wonder about alien invaders who secretly laser beam your brain while you’re sleeping to make it shrivel.
I was sitting in a chair getting a hair cut when a young stylist named Karla told me that my formerly dark brown hair was coming in all salt and pepper like. Karla pronounced that she looked forward to when her hair turned grey because silver hair could be so pretty. Not completely agreeing with Karla’s view regarding silver locks and searching for the elusive fountain of youth, I decided to try dying my hair blonde. It made me look like a mummified punk rocker. No one recognized me with my golden tresses at work and when they did, they would gasp a little and scurry off. Coworkers sheepishly peered around the corner of my cubicle and left pamphlets that offered counseling. One bright spot was that I didn’t have to spend too much for a Halloween costume and enjoyed being in a punk rock nineteen eighties time warp.
As the blonde faded and salt and pepper appeared again, I embraced Karla’s appreciation for silver colored hair. One advantage of a shrunken middle-aged brain is that the memory of my brief stint as a mummified punk rocker would quickly fade into the mists of the Land of the Lost Short Term Memory.