For a long time now, I’ve been wondering if I’m becoming stupid. Or, at the very least, senile.
I can come home, wander around the flat doing household chores, have a shower, cook dinner, watch some TV and then suddenly realize that I’ve left the front door wide open the whole time. “I could have been mugged, raped and murdered!” I said glumly once to Sharyn.
“Please, lah,” she replied, “you think you in New York, is it? This is Sing-gah-pore! You mug someone already kena rattan cane. Where got someone so stupid go and mug, rape and murder you, one?”
Or I can leave the flat and halfway down to the bus-stop, I suddenly think, “Did I turn off the stove?”, and then I have to turn right around and go home to check. I once walked back into the flat to find my beloved adopted mongrel dog Pooch in the middle of raping our Ikea sofa cushion. He managed to look both guilty and extremely pleased I was home so soon.
And just the other day, I was talking to Saffy about a recent episode of ‘True Blood’ when I suddenly drew a complete blank. “Oh my God, what’s the name of that vampire…John? Richard? Thelma?”
“What is wrong with you?” Saffy demanded. “What self respecting vampire is going to call himself Thelma?”
“Elmo?” I hazarded.
Saffy stared at me.
“I think I’m losing my mind!” I told Karl.
“Wait till you get married,” he said comfortably.
“I can’t seem to be able to remember anything! The other day, I was at a wedding and spent the entire night chatting to this girl and the next afternoon at a lunch party, I stuck my hand out and introduced myself to someone and she said, ‘Yes, we’ve met. You sat next to me last night at Jeremy’s wedding!’”
I don’t think I redeemed myself at all by laughing nervously and replying, “Hahaha! I didn’t recognize you in daylight!”
“Oh my God, you made her sound like she was a prostitute!” Amanda exclaimed. “Seriously, what is wrong with you?”
You can imagine my relief at a recent report that said Google is making us all a little bit stupid. The gist of it is that because we can find out the answer to anything at any time with just a few quick keystrokes into our computer and handphone, nobody bothers to learn anything anymore, let alone commit anything to memory.
Why bother learning what the capital of North Sudan is if you can just Google it in a few seconds? Which reminds me of the time I was shopping at Tang’s and the cashier asked me to fill out a form and I got stuck when I had to provide my handphone number.
She looked at me owlishly in the same way you’d look at a two-headed cow in a museum. “You don’t know your handphone number?”
“Well, why would I? I never call myself.”
Of course, that didn’t stop me looking up the symptoms for Alzheimer’s Disease. Google was very helpful here, coming up with a nice selection of articles within 0.06 seconds according to the Google clock. I opened one, read it and panicked.
I immediately called Amanda (using my phone’s memory book).
“I’m very busy, what is it?” she asked by way of friendly greeting.
“One of the tests for Alzheimer’s is remembering what you had for breakfast, lunch and dinner yesterday!” I announced. “I can’t remember what I had! Can you?”
“A pear and coffee for breakfast, egg salad for lunch and tofu salad for dinner!” she said immediately.
“Oh, dear God.”
I called Saffy.
“Fried beehoon with extra chilli for breakfast, laksa for lunch, and fish an chips for dinner! It’s now wonder I feel so fat. Listen, are you really going senile?”
Another test for Alzheimer’s is being able to count backwards from 100 in sevens.
“Oh, that’s easy,” Saffy said. “One hundred, ninety-three, eighty-six, uhm, seventy-nine, seventy-two…”
Panic filled my mouth. I called Karl. “That’s a stupid test. I’m lucky if I can remember how many children I have!” he said.
“But you don’t have any children!” I pointed out.
“Well, there you go then. We can grow gaga together!”
I’m not taking any chances. I’ve just set up an appointment with a neurologist. Amanda thinks my problem isn’t senility so much as it is stupidity. “And laziness!” she said the other night. “Stop using Google and exercise your brain!”
I don’t care what she says. I’ve read some very good things about this neurologist online. I just hope I remember what to ask him.