Thursday, January 13, 2022

losing my mind

I should have known that the day would bring unexpected news.

The omens were certainly there.

Not that I believe in omens other than as story devices. That would give circumstances far too much control over our lives. But, perhaps I am a bit too hasty to consign portents to the outer limits of The Enlightenment.

Several months ago, I bought a Fitbit. I had lost all patience with my Samsung health tracker. Its design flaws were a constant irritant -- the worst being the wristband's penchant for falling off of my arm at inopportune times.

One of the features of the Fitbit that I particularly like is the sleep monitor. I can wear the Fitbit to bed and it will gather information on how long I slept, the stages of sleep, and any period where I experienced breathing irregularities. Of course, I can do nothing with the information -- other than to compete with myself on how few hours of sleep I get each night without degrading my sleep score.

Yesterday morning I woke up early thinking about how I had to time my covid test for my flights to San Juan. The Fitbit is also a watch. I took a quick glance at it to see the time. I have no idea what time it was because the Fitbit was not on my wrist.

Being a rational person, I assumed I had taken it off before taking my shower. It was not on the bathroom counter. It was not on my night stand. It was not on the computer table. And, after tearing my bed apart, it was not there.

Then, my writer's mind took over. It was quite evident what had happened. While I was asleep, someone had crept into my room and had managed to undo the clasp on the Fitbit without waking me up. It made perfect sense.

Well, it made perfect sense if I was living in another reality. The thought had no more presented itself than my rational side responded (perhaps, a bit too brusquely): "That's nuts."

I have been thinking about these delinquencies of the mind recently. Literature and movies are filled with characters who can say, like George III: "Yes, I've always been myself, even when I was ill. 
Only now I seem myself. And that's the important thing. I have remembered how to seem."

Anyone who has seen a parent or aunt or close friend deal with the vagaries of the wide ranges of of dementia knows too well the change that takes place in conversation and actions when that border between the odd hypothesis and the reality in which the rest of us live is erased. What we consider as "nuts," the patient experiences as absolutely logical.

Instead of realizing that forgetfulness has set in, an alternative universe of malicious girls, thieving staff, or high-spirited demons take the place of the world in which the rest of us are confined. And, we, like an audience, are left trying to figure out what that other world must look like. It is a major reason Anthony Hopkins won the Oscar for best actor in The Father -- because it was art explaining what we cannot otherwise understand.

And, if we live long enough, a good portion of us are going to cross the senior version of the border of Toyland where "you can ne'er return again."

It turned out that yesterday was not that day for me. My venture into a far-too-clear reality right here was my positive covid test.

As for the Fitbit, I came to the conclusion that I must have dropped it into one of my packed bags or that it was somewhere in my bedroom. If it was the former, I would discover it on the Explorer of the Seas when the butler unpacked my suitcase. If the latter, Dora would rescue it.

If it was simply gone, I was fine with that, as well. I relied on it for its heart monitor, and the measurements always seemed a bit off to me. If the Fitbit had walked out on me, I did not need it.

As I was leaving my room to walk to Melaque for my covid test, I dropped a one-peso coin on the floor and bent over to pick it up. I caught a slight glint under the edge of my bed. Because it is black on a dark floor, I did not see it earlier. It was my Fitbit.

Like two spouses that had had a spat and were now reunited, I wrapped it around my wrist knowing full well that nothing would go wrong that day.

Then I got my test results (don't be so positive).

The moral? Omens are all about reading them properly.

No comments: