I recognise snow when it begins to fall, even if it has been a week since it snowed and all has disappeared since the last snow fall, but it returned while I was sleeping the midday sleep of a golden oldie. So what do you do, you grab the next camera and take a few photos and then realise that the snow flakes are not as conspicuous as you would like them to be. You change the lens on the camera to a zoom and have a perfect falling snow photo, but it has to be uploaded first of all, so forget it. Everyone recognises snow – just saying.
It is a funny thing with recognition. People you have know for years you see in the local supermarket. It might the work colleague you saw every day 8 years ago when you were still working. It might even be a boss, perhaps a neighbour – long time not seen, and suddenly you are confronted with them again. It is a welcome situation, now to say hello and have a few words. I wonder what he/she is now doing. Do they still meet others from the olden days, and the kids must be all married in the meanwhile. I stretch out a hand, they stretch out a hand, we grasp each other’s hand and he/she says “Hello Mrs. Angleoswiss”, I say “Hello Mr./Mrs. sdmflksjflsjlfkjoer, beause I have clean forgotten their name. Of course I know who they are, but they had a name? How embarrassing, but it seems that there are certain parts of the brain that seem to diminish as age appears.
Greeting people by name and hand shakes are a part of Swiss life. Ah yes, the guy is coming, the man you always have for computer problems, or it might be the plumber, it could be anyone, but you do know their name, they know your name, they have a company. Of course, so you have a quick look in your telephone system for their number, although if you forget the name you do not know where to look. Perhaps you did the right thing and have it under “C” for computer, or “P” for plumber. Yes, you even have a photo of them on your mobile phone. If you met them on the street you would recognise who they are immediately, it is just the name that might be missing.
I remember going to London when my dad moved about 10 years ago. He sort of knew I was coming, and my very good friend (whose name I will never ever forget, she is almost family) was doing all the organising on the other side of Europe in London for dad. She met me at the airport and we went straight away to dad’s new appartment. Of course he was a little confused, at the age of 95 you tend to get more confused, but he knew exactly where he was and why he was there. And so I entered his new place, my friend with me. My friend asked how things were going and he replied fine. He had been meeting new people, his carers, and learning the ropes. He then saw me standing there. “And you are?” “Dad, it’s me your daughter” – “oh of course, lovely you’re here” and I stayed for a while and visited him every day for the week I was staying, but in that moment I was out of context. I was in the unexpected place at the unexpected time. We laughed, but at that age, it is to be expected.
I am now 70 years old and can absolutely understand. If I meet people that I do not expect to meet, because it might be the wrong time and wrong place, I forget their name, although their face is somehow familiar.
Tuesday morning I have an appointment with my specialist doc. Of course I will shake his hand, I will know his name, it is all marked in my calendar. If I saw him on the street I would probably walk past and not realise who he is. I only see him once every half year, unless something happens in the meanwhile. That is a case of shaking his hand and greeting by name when I go to my apppointment, but ignoring him completely if I see him out of context.
Sometimes I see only the bare branches and the background is stormy weather. Am I getting old?