It’s a sunny Sunday and we’re at the coffee shop. There are six of us, all art friends. We’re sitting at one of those high round tables, eating fancy bread and drinking tea.
Pat the oil painter, looks at the rest of us girls and the lone fellow and says, “I need your help. I think something must be wrong with me.”
The six of us lean toward Pat, concerned.
Pat is a wonderful and well known painter. She is also rather quiet and reserved in manner so we don’t have any clue as to what the problem might be.
“You know Joe G.” she says.
Of course we do. He is a very famous wild life painter who lives up in the mountains.
“Well,” Pat says, “I was in the grocery store the other day and I saw him over by the vegetables. I trotted over to say hello. He looked great, you know in that long white pony tail he has and the short gray beard and he was wearing a really bright, red shirt.
I leaned toward him and I said, and I can’t believe I said this, but I said, ‘You look so…’ and I meant to say Christmasy, you know, because of his beautiful red shirt, but what I said was…”
Pat pauses and we wait.
“What I said was, ‘you look so…chicken.’ !!”
We all gasp.
“Yes!” Pat is practically crying, “Yes. I said ‘you look so…chicken.’ And, I don’t know why I said that. And, I don’t know where that word came from. I meant to say Christmasy!
“Joe got all upset with me and he said, ‘You think I look… chicken??’
He was clearly angry about it and I just stood there and looked at him and then I took a few steps back. I mean, I didn’t know how to explain why I had called him a chicken. I had no reason. So, I was mute.
“He kept saying, ‘I look chicken?’
Pat looks at us, pleading. ” Help me…What’s wrong with me? Do you think there is something wrong with me?”
I have my head down on the table. I am laughing so hard I have almost dunked my head in my tea and in the bread plate. All the other ladies and the fellow are laughing, too. And whooping.
When we all calm down a bit, we try and reassure her.
The man friend sitting next to me says that once he was getting ready to lead a group of fifty people on a motorcycle ride into the desert. He was the head man and all the other cyclists were behind him, waiting for him to start up.
But, when it came time to lead them across the flats he says he couldn’t remember how to start his motorcycle.
“I’d had that motorcycle for years and I could start it in my sleep, but for some reason I couldn’t remember how to start it then. I tried and tried and tried. Finally, I looked behind me and all those people had turned their motorcycles around and left.”
Judy tells us how she came home from grocery shopping, brought all the food in from the car and put it away. Then, she sat down and had a cup of tea. Finally, her husband looked at her and said, “So, when are you going to turn the car off?”
I relate how about ten years ago, a man friend was at my house busily working on a lap top computer.
“I said, ‘So, when did you get that computer?’
“He looked at me strangely. ‘It’s your computer,’ he said. ‘You bought it several weeks ago.’
‘Get off it! I did not,’ I replied.
“He looked scared.
“‘Yes….you….did,’ he said.
“I went over and looked at that laptop up close. I touched it. I even smelled it. I had no memory of that computer. At all.
“Than I was scared!
“Well, it’s been ten years since that happened and I haven’t seemed to have regressed into senility, so I don’t know how to explain that lapse.”
Maybe as artists, we have all been smelling too much paint?
Or, maybe the truth is, that all of us, all people, live in different worlds? We’re each off in our heads, in our own reality somewhere and it doesn’t always jibe with what everybody else agrees is ‘real’? And, maybe sometimes when we are trying to function ‘here’ we are really only half here…or we are just some kind of phantom of ourselves, operating without ‘us’?
If it’s not Alzheimer’s, it’s a puzzle.
What do you think?
*By the way, I love it when you leave your comments directly on this blog. I do read and personally answer all your comments through my email. (Sometimes I get behind, but eventually, I answer.) Some of you are so astute and some of you are so much fun that it is a waste of your talent to not amuse everyone who reads the blog. And, I love all the compliments, too! Thank you for reading. Venus
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