Goddess mug shot The Goddess Speaks

By Carol T. Chun

‘Mental pause’ wreaks
havoc with memory

Did you hear the one about the chicken crossing the road? He can't remember why and quite frankly, neither can I.

I love a good joke, but after the second or third telling, I can't remember the punch line or why I bothered to tell the joke. These days, if I want to retell a joke, I have to write it down, so what's the sense? I can't run in to Longs to pick up a few things unless I have a list with me. If I go in there without a list, I end up wandering up and down the aisles hoping to spot what I need. Invariably I end up with a cartload of stuff.

To avoid this, I don't push a cart or carry a basket. Once my arms are full, I get out of there. By the time I finally remember what I needed from the store, I'm in the car heading home, but by then it's too late -- I can't write my list and drive at the same time.

If I'm at home and think of something I need to do at work, I call and leave a message for myself on my voice mail. This works when I'm at work, too. I leave messages for myself on my home answering machine. I'd leave myself a message on my cell phone, but then I'd have to remember how the retrieve-message function works. One of my kids in school was so frustrated by my attempts to retrieve cell phone messages that she wrote down the steps for me. Now, if I could only find that piece of paper.

I HAVE A DAILY planner on my desk at work in which I write my appointments. But, you guessed it. It's a challenge to remember to check what I've written. I rely on Post-its a lot. Mine tend to have a little more permanence than they were meant to, so I tape them to my computer screen and my cabinet. Today I threw out the one about an appointment at the hairdresser's because my appointment should have happened last week. I had to run my fingers through my hair to check if I kept that appointment.

I think I only had two children for a reason -- I can count one on each hand. I don't know how other women manage more than two kids. One day, I couldn't find my daughter anywhere in the house. My son gently reminded me that I dropped her off at a Kamehameha School basketball game and that I was supposed to pick her up afterward. Fortunately, the game had a late start, and I actually made it to the gym on time so that she wouldn't suspect I had briefly forgotten.

I blame my memory lapses on menopause, which I refer to as "mental pause." I remember the basic stuff: getting up in the morning, brushing my teeth, going to work, finding my office, getting back home. I figure as long as I can still drive a stick shift and I can find my way to Kapolei when I have to, then I'm doing OK.

I remember that trash pickup is on Tuesdays and Fridays and that the dog likes to eat at 6 p.m. I don't wear my underwear as outerwear, and quite frankly, I could not care less why anyone would want to remember a joke about chickens crossing roads.

Carol T. Chun is the mother of two and works at Punahou School. This much she remembers.

The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and
about women. If you have something to say, write
"The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813;
or e-mail


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