Lost for words

I decided to phone The Pensioner this morning to see how she was coping in the aftermath of Andy Murray’s defeat in the Australian Grand Slam. The instant picking up of the phone and the blaring sound of some black and white movie in the background told me that she was comfortably installed in her favourite place in the whole world, her bed. After making herself a coffee from her mini kitchen on the bedside table and telling me that she was totally over poor Andy’s defeat, she made the mistake of asking me how things were going at work. About ten hours later, I was tetchily getting to the dénouement of my ‘quest for an amplified phone’ saga when she interjected.

“What do you need a phone for? You’re on the phone just now…you must be able to hear me”

“Yes, but…oh, never mind, I can’t be bothered explaining.” I was having a terror flashback to the hearing aid fitting and the suited audiologist demonstrating the hearing aid-and-phone technique of holding the handset in a very peculiar position far too high up the head. It had the tragi-comic appearance of someone who’s drunk being asked to touch the tip of their nose and missing. But with a phone instead of a finger.

Returning to my fascinating saga, she decided she’d better show some sympathy.

“That’s that thing…er…what’s it called, you know, oh god what’s the word…not constructive dismissal, it’s kind of like that…political correctness, er, to do with dis…disability…”

“Discrimination?” I volunteered.

“Yes! Discrimination. That’s it. Discrimination.”

I was relieved I’d hit the lexical bullseye so early, but I knew we were now about to head off on a tangential journey before I’d got to the bit in my amplified phone saga where Jamie the Janny innocently stopped me in the street to say “DID YOU GET YOUR BIG PHONE MOIRA? I LEFT IT ON YOUR SEAT IN THE OFFICE WHEN YOU WERE OUT. YOU’LL BE ABLE TO HEAR PEOPLE NOW.”

Mama, having lobbed in her conversational smoke bomb, swiftly seized her moment to derail my rant.

“God, sometimes I worry about myself,” she said.”After watching that documentary the other night about that thing, you know, oh god, what’s it called, it’s the thing that really frightens me…”

Jeez, where do I start, I thought, my contextual sensors, despite being honed to a fine sharpness by years of undetected Cookie Bite gap-filling, were failing me.

“Microwaves?” I offered hopefully.

“No, no, I’ve never been able to remember what a microwave’s called, it couldn’t be that.”

This statement sent my brain into a paradoxical spin which threw me further off track.

“Mobile phone masts?”


“Electromagnetic radiation? The Cuban Missile Crisis? Cancer? A stroke? Mice?”

“No, it’s that thing you keep going on about,” she said, “it’s to do with words…getting old…”

“Alzheimers!” I’d finally got it. The Hallelujah Chorus resounded majestically in my head. With the mid-frequencies totally intact.

“Yes, that’s it,” she said gratefully, “but I don’t think I’ve got Alzheimer’s, I think I just don’t get to talk to enough people.” Could’ve fooled me, I thought as I remembered her birthday night at the restaurant. She went on to elaborate,

“Besides, they said on that programme that you lose weight with Alzheimer’s, but that obviously doesn’t apply to me. Not with my embonpoint. Especially since I’ve been on the Metformin and the cholesterol stuff, oh what’s the name of it…begins with an ‘s’…”

2 Responses to “Lost for words”

  1. 1 kentigern February 6, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Sense and insensibility thingy,
    “At my time of life opinions are tolerably fixed. It is not likely that I should now see or hear anything to change them.”

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