When my neighbour rang me yesterday to ask me if we were still coming around for drinks that afternoon, I wasn’t lying to her when I replied “Yes… Yes, we are.” Had she asked me “Have you remembered that we’re having drinks this afternoon?”, however, my answer would have had to have been “No.” The truth was that I had completely and utterly forgotten about our engagement.
Well, actually that in itself is a lie. There was one (very small) part of my brain that knew we were having drinks with our neighbours on the 30th. Another part of my brain knew that the 30th was a Tuesday. And then yet another part of my brain maintained the illusion that we had absolutely nothing planned on Tuesday. But was there any communication at all between those parts of the brain? No, sir, there was not. I expect that my brain must be modeling itself on the Australian Public Service these days.
Of course it wasn’t always this bad. I used to have a mind that was so sharp it could cut through diamond – or at least through butternut pumpkin. But those days have long gone, aided by lack of sleep, lack of mental stimulation and that rumoured 25% of brain capacity you lose with each successive pregnancy (which must leave me running at 25% capacity). These-a-days I can successfully maintain two separate sets of plans for the same time on the same date for days, working steadily towards both until pow! my two worlds finally collide and I realise that “Oh! This Saturday is also this Saturday…” But that moments where the neurons finally start firing is like I’ve been woken from a dream by having a bucket of cold water thrown over my head or worked out who Keyser Söze really was at the end of “The Usual Suspects” or at the very least discovered what that awful smell at the back of the fridge actually is. And then I’m left having to sort out some problem like being expected to be in two different places at the same time or – in yesterday’s case – having to pull a platter of hors d’oeuvres out of my arse (probably not the best metaphor there, NDM) using nothing but the scraps in my vegie crisper.
In the middle of it all, Mzzzz E rang for a chat. “Why can’t I just say ‘I forgot!’ and absolve myself of all responsibility for bringing shmancy snacks?” I moaned to her. And then: “If I can tie a carrot in a knot does that mean it’s past its use-by-date?”
Mzzzz E no doubt could hear the mounting hysteria in my voice, especially once I started trying to zest a lemon while still talking to her on the phone. She promptly said her goodbyes before I did something stupid again, like try to slice a knife with my hand (and no, I didn’t get that the wrong way around: I really am that stupid in the kitchen – see “Up in Arms” for proof) and I got on with my Extreme-Creativity-Under-Duress thing, but with two hands and my full(ish) attention (the kids were spending more quality time with the TV and only occasionally calling for drinks and elaborate snack plates).
So when I casually sauntered over to my neighbours’ house with the children, jug of premixed Flirtini and platter of delights at the appointed time, no-one would have guessed what the previous hour had held. However, had they seen the state I’d left my kitchen in, they might have had more of a clue. But of course, when I arrived at my neighbours’ house, I blurted out the truth – not so much in the interests of full disclosure, but so that they could admire my platter of Thai Salad Cucumber Cups for the Miracle that they truly were. And whatsmore, I didn’t even have to resort to using that Smelly Thing at the Back of the Fridge to make them which meant they were edible to boot. Which was nice.