You’re on the phone reporting, what is nowadays referred to as a “bullying incident,” at your kid’s camp, and forget the offending rat’s name. In mid-sentence. No amount of memory search will produce it when asked, as if someone has deleted a file from your over-processed mommy brain. “Can I call you back with that?” you say.This lapse can easily be chalked up to multi-tasking, which includes family scheduling, career, personal upkeep, walking the dog and that incessant buzzing that eminates from the refrigerator. Instead, it becomes, OMG, early stage Alzheimer’s.
You obsess further. It’s no secret you came of age in the eighties. You luxuriated in the naivete of the post-disco era: casual sex, drug-fueled nights followed by hair-of-the-dog-chased-with-Excedrin mornings, and an unhealthy sense of narcissism, all seemingly, without consequence. Before AIDS, Wall Street and rehab snapped the entire generation back into lock-step. It’s a wonder that you even became a decent contributing member of society and aren’t loitering, soiled sign in hand, at a freeway entrance begging for a meal.
How do you pull off this supermom-sandwich-generation thing without dementia?
You panic about the recall failure. Not really. But you think, you should get it checked out, see a neurologist or something. Maybe it’s what you have coming after all that self-indulgence. Perhaps root color and botox only goes so far, there are dead brain cells to be accounted for! You feel great, though, don’t you? Sure there’s that clicking in your left knee and that occasional lower back pain but nothing like your parents at this age, who actually looked old.
Like many of your contemporaries, it was feminism before family. Career first, keep the maiden name, put off pro-creation until your ovaries sent you screaming into a Beverly Hills clinic to fix the cosmic error. Now that babies have returned to accessory status, hipsters everywhere are sporting them as effortlessly as iPhones and Uggs. You’re jealous. What do young moms know about short-circuiting?
It strikes you, that while trashing yourself in the great Me experiment, yours was also the first generation to embrace the work-out. Thanks to Jane Fonda’s mid-life crisis and her leg warmers, you’ve still got it going on. All these years of muscle-toning and aerobics has to mitigate some deterioration, even in the cerebral cortex.
It’s going to be OK, you tell yourself.
At Bootcamp you see women twenty years younger, who have no sense of how beautiful they are, finding it difficult to keep up. You think to yourself, they have no idea how long I’ve been at it. You wish them well. In the meantime, you’ll pass on the neorologist appointment and get the new laser to fix the sun damage instead. To hell with a few dropped thoughts. You’re not that hard on yourself anymore. Long live Jane Fonda.
Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com