11/20/2014 12:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What I've Gained Through Memory Loss

Jennifer Boyd-Einstein and Paula Mangin

Last week, I left thr jacket pictured above on BART. I was happy then; I am not happy now.

Full disclosure: I was engrossed in Candy Crush when the "24th and Mission" announcement broke my concentration, causing me to quickly grab my stuff and dash off the train. As the doors slammed shut behind me, I frantically realized my jacket was not in my arms or on my body, but instead was resting comfortably on a seat-back en-route to Glen Park. CRAP. I sullenly stomped out of the station and into the cool fall air sans jacket and wits.

Forgetting wardrobe and words happens with increased frequency, and I hate it.

In the past year, I have left the following items on various modes of transit:

  • Two pairs of vintage reading glasses
  • Three umbrellas
  • One fingerless glove
  • Half a bag of circus peanuts
  • An infinity scarf
  • An Acne Raya mohair cardigan
  • Four Sharpies
  • Two tubes of Winsor & Newton water color
  • Thirty-nine words
  • Twenty-seven punctuation marks
  • Fifteen names
  • Us Weekly, Star, Cat Fancy and the Style Section of the New York Times
  • My resolve

I have become that person. That person who leaves the water running and can never find her keys. That person who goes into a panic when she can't find the iPhone clutched in her right hand. That person who leaves sentences dangling as she madly scrambles for the right word to pick it back up. That person who recognizes a face she's seen 50 times, but can't remember the name of it's owner. That person who forgets the band that plays the song in that movie with so and so and that other guy she can't remember either.

I'm fond of saying, "there's no room at the inn" because it's true. My brain is so packed with a half-century's worth of information scraps that there's just no more space to shove anything else in there. And good luck pulling anything back out. My mind's a mess, and I really need California Closets for my head, or at least a good filing system. I rely more and more on spastic arm movements and hand gestures to help convey what I'm trying to say but can't remember how to. It's like being in a never-ending game of Charades.

When one becomes that person, it pays to have a sense of humor, or you will never want to leave the house. So, I look on the bright side of turning so dim: For one, during those times when I can't find the word I'm looking for, I'm forced to come up with some pretty creative alternatives, like "no waste or extraneous anything" for "efficient," or "that container where you put dirty laundry" for "hamper," or even, "fluffy four-legged meow machine" for cat.

The other day after the jacket/BART incident, I went into the Painted Bird vintage store on Valencia Street for the first time, looking for a cheap leather jacket to replace the one I lost. I didn't find one, but I did find these incredible pony pumps for $24 in a great shop with a well-edited selection of incredible pieces. Which I'd have never found if I hadn't left my jacket on BART.


So, in the end, I turned short-term memory loss into a long-term fashion gain. Which makes me feel a little bit better. I'm about to go take them into get them re-soled, but I can't remember where I put them. ;)

For further musings where we give Father Time the finger, please visit us at Blank Stare, Blink.