More than one person has suffered at my hands. I don't do it out of malice; more because I'm a cretin. There used to be a superb TV program called The Mary Whitehouse Experience and on this program was a character called Ray. He was afflicted with a sarcastic tone of voice. Look him up. Maybe he's on YouTube. I'd give a link but a) I'm too lazy and b) I'm on a Guatemalan bus. Space age this ain't. Do you really think I've got wifi? There's another reason but it's kind of to do with this blog.
I'm like Ray. I am afflicted. I am afflicted with a comedicly shitty memory. Oh, the important stuff I've forgotten. I met a stranger once. She was lovely. She was the cousin of a friend and I'd been invited to stay at his parents house at the seaside. Quite early into the conversation, some might say too early for me to apply much significance to it and that I'd be quite justified in using that as an excuse, she told me her mum had died about six months earlier. Cool, I thought. Grieving. There might be a chance here.
Ten minutes later we're inside and the cousin is joshing with some woman and the dude's parents. Those of you who know me know where this is going. Especially those I've already told the story to.
"How are you related?" I asked. "Is this your mum?"
Tuumbleweeds. Uncomfortable silence. Red faces. I was oblivious.
My amnesia has spoilt perfect jobs for me and got me in so much trouble. I've said before that these days all I think about is what I'm eating and where I'm going to be sleeping and that I don't plan. It's because I can't think about much more. I'm going somewhere right now. I haven't any idea what's there. I just know I ticked it when I read it. I'm not exactly Leonard in Memento with his polaroids but at one point I seriously considered it. It was a constant argument with my frustrated ex-wife.
"Buy a notebook" she'd say
"How will that help?"
"You can write things down. Lists. Ideas and stuff you have to do"
"Yes but then I'd have to remember to write it down. And remember to check it once I'd written it"
I started a diary for this trip. After three weeks I remembered I'd not written a second entry.
Having a bad memory also means I lose things. I put them down and forget about them. As soon as they're outside my vision they've gone. I left my iPad in a restaurant the other day. I just got up and walked out. It wasn't until 3 hours later as I wanted to watch some TV I realised it was....somewhere. Where had I been.....? Umm....I'd eaten at some point during the day, surely....I went to the cafe....they had wifi.....let's try there. The waiters can't have had a concept of how much it was worth or I'd never have got it back. It's about 3 years wages for them.
Within 3 months of travelling I was on my third iPhone charger. I'm on about my 23rd pair of sunglasses (no, im notvexaggerating. I have a sunglasses budget equivalent to the national debt of Luxembourg). My record is an hour. About to get on a bus and I didn't have a book. I spy a bookshop across the road, take off my sunnies, put them down, pick up a book, pay, get on the bus, bus pulls off, where's my....
Then one day I got to Mumbai. The hostel was classic. Toilets you wouldn't want to use, grey beds and flies. So many flies. The pillow on my bed was about the depth of a piece of paper but that was fine. I was carrying a pillow case for this purpose. I'd been carrying it for six months and not used it. Result. I'd considered getting rid of it but this justified the weight. I stuffed it full of clothes, put it under the paper/pillow. Come to check out and I forget about my pillow. To this day I have no idea what I left behind. I just know it made my bag considerably lighter.
I once went out to make a delivery for work. It was 'Important'. A factory had a broken down machine and the entire workforce was at a standstill unless they got this vital part. Jay to the rescue! I takes the delivery sheet and off I goes and as I pull into the gate I realise I'd not actually bought the stuff with me.... I don't think my boss saw me pull back into the car park thank god. Not that time anyway.