Retroladytyping …


on 07/03/2016


Several days ago a “breakdown at the interface between attention and memory” (Schacter) caused a tsunami of stress, self-doubt, fear for mental health, paranoia and possible marital breakdown  in my house.

Wednesday evening.  It had been a long day:  difficult drive through  hailstorm, meeting,  too much cake,  too much coffee, traffic jam, in need of comfort break.  Home.  Throw bag in direction of stairs.  Remove coat. (Take comfort break). Cook meal.  Speak to husband.  Television.   Normal.

Thursday morning. Asda shop.  Boots on, coat on, pick up bag, find ‘green’ carrier bags,  open front door, left hand into handbag  …. no keys.  Calm and breathe, check bag pockets, check coat pockets.  Still calm. Remove old till receipts, bus tickets, out of date money-off vouchers, purse, credit card wallet, husband’s spare car keys (why have I got those?).  Calm.  Think.  Tip bag upside down and shake.  Silence. Hold breath.  Think.  Breathe.  Think…  Check yesterday’s coat pockets, check today’s coat pockets, check all coat pockets, check coats under stairs not worn for months, check husband’s coat pockets, check downstairs loo,medicine cabinet, cleaning products basket.   Logical thinking.  Retrace steps.

S-t-e-p-s … three, from front door  to telephone shelf where bag lives.    Upstairs.  Increasing  panic.  Breathe.   Check laundry basket (why?), bathroom, under bed, airing cupboard.  Downstairs, check fridge, washing machine, microwave (why?), cupboards, side of chairs, under chairs.

Rising panic.

Self doubt.




Must have opened front door.  Check door.   Check car.


Re-check door.

Search under hedge by front door.



Calm.  Phone husband.  Has he picked them up by mistake.  No.

Rant at husband to check his car, pockets, etc.  No.

PANIC.  Think.  Door hadn’t been opened overnight.  ‘Someone’ may be waiting till house is unoccupied.  Phone locksmith, arrange for locks to be changed – tomorrow.

Locksmith arrives.  Changes locks and reassures.  Not reassured.

Occupy self.  Washing. Hoovering.  Ironing.  Not thinking.

PANIC.   My car?    Arrange for man with computer to source and programme new car keys in three days time.

Check Alzheimer’s Society website – symptoms of dementia.  Read reassuring messages.  Not reassured.

Google “Memory lapses.  What is normal?”  Not reassured.

Shout at husband.

Buy new keyrings from Amazon.  Comfort shopping.

Normal life.

Saturday evening.  Husband, “Shall I check bag one more time?”  Me, “If you like, but they’re not there.”  Shrug.  Husband, “Are these the ones?”

The End… nearly …

The plus side:

  • I’m £200 better off, as no need for man with computer who sorts out car keys.
  • Front door lock which has been awkward for years now operates perfectly.


Thank you Tom Tidal for the phrase “Keygate.”




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