Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Amnesiac Old Men

I have to write about this. I'm surrounded by amnesiac old men. Very dear, wonderfully kind, very well meaning men to be sure, but still, that's what they are. Amnesiac Old(er) Men, and bless his dear heart, Koos is one of them. He knows I'm writing this and we've already had our laughs about it, so there's no malice intended, but the only reason I've still got hair on my head is because I promised myself I would write this post. So, here it is...

Three weeks ago, I went to the shipyard boss to ask about booking a week on the slips. "Bertus", say I "when can you fit me in?" "In February", says he. "Hmmm, are you sure? is there nothing earlier?", plead I, worrying about that tiny pinprick leak I have in my hull that has me squatting for hours over it, studying the rate of flow through the miscroscopic gap, and wondering whether I'll live to sink another week, or is that live without sinking another week? " Sorry", says Bertus, studying his charts, "that's the earliest I can slot you in". "OK", I sigh. I make the booking and potter off to buy a wet and dry hoover, so that I can suck out the little puddle that builds up every few days in the lowest point of my hull. Koos is with me during this exchange with Bertus, and we bemoan the fact that February will be cold. It may also be snowy and icy, but it will at least be cheap as I stand to get a 30% discount as compensation for the risk (almost a certainty) of hypothermia, not to mention guaranteed frostbite or at least chillblains.

Now, Bertus, the Yard boss, is somewhere in his late fifties, and is a honey. I am genuinely fond of him. Nevertheless, his short term memory is busily changing places with its long term counterpart, and while he will regale us for hours with anecdotes about the good old days, anything that has occurred within the last month or so goes into some kind of mental pending file where it lies conveniently dormant until it is old enough to be regurgitated as past history. As a result, when on Monday this week a ship that was due on the slipway didn't turn up, Bertus started looking round for a willing replacement. Right. Now you'd naturally think that given my rather recent plea, he might perhaps think of me. Wrong!

Bertus has forgotten my leaky bottom and cheerfully asks Koos if he would like to consider taking the spot. Now, remember that my dearest Koos is also of a similar age. So..picture this scenario.

We are waking up quietly on Tuesday morning, and Koos says musingly."I think I'll put my ship on the Slipway today." I freeze. All feelings of early morning languor have rushed off down the end of the bed to cuddle up with Sindy. "Umm, Why?" I ask in a voice that I hope is loaded with frost. I wait to find out what could possibly have prompted this bizarre statement. Koos explains about the ship that didn't turn up. With icicles forming on my vocal chords, I ask why Bertus didn't offer me the spot. Koos then, with awesome innocence, questions why I should want it. I remind him, through clenched teeth, about my recent request. He has forgotten. He has forgotten too that he was with me when I made the booking for February, but to cap it all, within the space of 24 hours, Bertus has also fogotten that he offered the spot to Koos at all, and later in the morning we find that he has made yet another arrangement for the slipway, meaning that neither of us can make use of the unexpected vacancy. Grrrrrrrrrr!!

Am I reeling? I am. But that's not all..Oh no!

One of the language schools for which I work is run by another dear amnesiac older man - a charming spaniel eyed Englishman called Roger, who I always have the greatest difficulty in refusing. Late last week he called me in desperation. "Val! I need you! What hours can you give me, and when?" "Hmmm", I consider, "I'm very busy, Roger, but if I shuffle a couple of things...well...I can give you Monday and Tuesday evenings". " Great!", he practically shouts at me "Val, you're a life saver. I'll let you know which classes you're teaching but it will definitely be Monday and Tuesday evening." Fine, I think, and dutifully re-shuffle other private lessons, and cancel another course that's in the pipeline but isn't yet definite. I then sit and wait. And wait. And still wait. On Monday afternoon, I have still not heard. I call on Roger. "Oh,um, Val! Didn't I tell you?" "Tell me what, Roger" "I'm so sorry Val, but I've got someone else to do those evenings. I thought I'd told you." I growl at him with all the menace I can muster, lay on the guilt, add on a few extra broken arrangements to further underscore the severity of his error...but then he deals his trump card. Looking at me with those big sad spaniel eyes, he says "I'm sorry Val, I thought you'd be relieved."

Of course, I know he'd thought no such thing. He'd just forgotten. Even more of course, he's just another of my inevitably dear, amnesiac older men. It seems I can't live my life without them. Bless them. Bless them all!


  1. ha ha ha this made me laugh val ..a comedy of errors..but i felt your frustration oh my sister droog ming...this is of course outrageous..but what can we do with the lesser species...bless their cotton socks you gotta love em...

  2. Val, what a funny post. Speaking as an not-really-old-yet but amnesiac woman, I have made my share of forgotten mistakes.

    Men are just lucky that as they get older and forgetful, they also forget all our faults and therefore endear themselves into our hearts anyway. :)

    You can't stay mad at Koos for too long- he's much too charming.

  3. Hi Val,
    Fell asleep while typing this.
    But didn't forget, this time, well... almost.

  4. Yes Gypsy, their cotton socks have been well and truly blessed....and I do love them...I do...

    Anne Marie, I NEVER forget things myself (said with wide eyed innocence), no, it's always my dear old men... And Koos is always forgiven ;-)

    Aren't you Koosje? Thanks for remembering this time, my love. You can go back to sleep now..;-)

  5. hehehehe.... careful now mumsy... one of these days you're going to lose track of where you alst left your spectacles *wink wink nudge nudge*

  6. i've stopped laughing - for the time being - I can post a comment.

    I can oh SO relate to this!

    The only advice I can offer is to use the frosty innuendos in this post to your advantage...February weather, hypothermia, frostbite, chilblains, you froze when Koos said he'd use the slip and frost developed on your larynx...

    With all that coldness you won't have to wait till winter to remove your finger from the hole in Vereeniging's hull.
    Remember frozen water won't flow.

    I know you'll remember - you're a woman and only in your very early fifties...

  7. Speaking of cold - my fingers and nose are frozen and I have a fire lit in the woodstove this morning... brrrrrr

  8. lol!! >>>With icicles forming on my vocal chords, I ask...

    Thanks for the post - I'd tell you a similar story with my dad but I forgot! lol!

    lol - Koos! You have a good woman to 'remind' you!

  9. unforgettable..thats what you near so i forget the rest...

  10. Ok..Just finished my last lesson of the day! So..Dale, it was such a pleasure to 'see' you laugh! I think we can all relate to this situation one way or another! I'm not looking forward to the real icicles forming

    Alecia, You're far too young to be an 'amnesiac'!! All sorts of other 'iacs' maybe, but you need at least another 10 years to qualify for this one..;-) Would love to hear about your Dad! When I think back on this week, I have such a good laugh with Koos about it all.. be forgettable would be unforgiveable so we have to be unforgettable...hmmm what was I saying? LOL

    Jojo! Get back in your box! We want no incriminating revelations here...he he

  11. The French only tease those they love (or like).



  12. Lovely, well articulated story. And, of can I relate.


  13. the defeated daughter10:31 am, September 08, 2006

    *grmbl grmbl*

    Honestly, you make one little itsy slightly incriminating statement and its back in the box again

    *grmbl grmbl*

    and there's no newspaper in here!

    *grmbl grmbl*

  14. Now Val, not the box for Jo, you might forget where you put the key ;-)

    I suggest the bathroom and no pocket money :-)

  15. i forgot where i was going, i think im lost!!??

  16. The doctor told me I'd got high blood pressure and high cholesterol but I can't remember what he told me now...

  17. Baz, there isn't room in the bathroom for Jodie AND Sindy... but you can stop giving her pocket money if you like..;-)

    Lost memory?.....what was that?? Can't remember what's lost now...

    Jo...knowing your ability to put both feet in it, I wouldn't bother getting out of

    Amnesiac...that's worse than the schizophrenic joke!

  18. Hmmmm..I'm in two minds about that.....

  19. Hehehe, being as I am a person of the academia, another term for that is "absent-minded professor". Anyway, I'm so glad I wandered over to your blog after my morning coffee (well, okay, midday coffee, I like to sleep late). Couldn't stop laughing :-)


  20. *LOL*!! Oh dear, what a mess!! That would drive me up the wall.

    Forgetful men don't have to be old, as David forgets stuff all the time, and he is convinced that, in addition to the few gray hairs appearing at his temples, he is developing senility at the ripe old age of 34. Sometimes I think it's selective hearing rather than forgetfulness. *L*

  21. if you check my recent post...i'd really like to forget...

    the 70's?


  22. Thanks Val, for letting me know what the future holds....

  23. erm....ive come to blogland by mistake..was supposed to be going to the shop!...

  24. LOL LOL LOL – simply roaring….. you are a saint VallyP
    Amnesia is a good word.
    I, probably would have past the ice and frozen stage over to the over-boiling point, pronto!
    Wonderfully narrated!

    Try some temporary “duct tape” placement over leak - I am sure you have them over there… it was the favorite “repair” method at COSA (Central Okanagan Sailing Association) where I took sailing – and repair – lessons… all the boats are still afloat!!!
    Of course, we were mainly dealing with fiberglass hauls… J
    You probably have other cleaver “home” remedies for it… chewing gum, perhaps?

    Seriouly, I hope you get it fixed and get some peace of mind soon.

    Nice to pop in for a visit, read and see photos – must have been a nice World Harbor day.
    Hope all got resolved to satisfaction with your father…

    All the best for you and Koos, and all the wonderful amnesiac darlings in your life.
    Have a joy-filled, magical weekend!

  25. Hi Val,
    Thanks for checking in. I'm not sure whether it's jetlag, back to reality, or a mixture of both. I seem much better today, although the morning yoga class was brutal. :)

    There are many teachers who didn't look much better all week, and they stayed in town, so perhaps it;s just the shock of work to the system.

  26. By the way, Val, I have never actually read The Mists of Avalon- it is in fact Austin's book. My sister has read it though. I'll have to come back and borrow it. :)

  27. is this the everything for a pound shop?...

  28. Do you mean the dollar store?

  29. Hi Val,
    This is the best story ever!!!!
    Now I finally have an excuse...and I'm only 49!
    I'll make my girlfriend (Katinka)read it.

  30. Maria! So glad I made even my favourite absent minded professor laugh!

    Mary Beth, I have a sneaking suspicion that selective hearing may well be involved here

    Ian, Koos will tell you it's a happy may not remember important things but you don't remember bad things either, and there are always people to remind you of the important things..;-)

    Angeldust, how lovely to hear from you and what a kind and thoughtful sugggestion! Duct tape doesn't work too well on an iron hull, but we do use chewing gum sometimes, and also that silicone filler that you can use in the bathroom for sticking tiles! In my case, I could use quick dry cement, as enough of it would stop the water coming through, but of course I'd rather fix it properly. In the mean time, creativity is the name of the game..;-)

    Anne Marie, I hope you're right and it's just the work shock, but I do hope you feel yourself soon. I really thought you'd read Mists of Avalon! It's far from being a romance I must say, as it's quite dark and at times, heavy. Seeing as how I have never managed to finish Lord of the Rings...tried three times...I'm quite proud that I finished this one. It's a very different 'Arthur' book, in that Arthur is a secondary character...very well written though!

    Dale and Gypsy, in for a penny in for a pound...or just a fistful of dollars will do!

    Erik story wasn't meant to give you an excuse...tsk tsk..;-) You are much too young! Glad you enjoyed it, though!

  31. lol. It's a shame that you have not got your hull fixed yet but that did make for a funny story....

    and I thought some of my friends had bad memories.

  32. Hi Val,
    Very interesting post. Despite being forgetful, those men sound very nice.

  33. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  34. Val, you are very forebearing! Similar things happen in our household quite often, but not on such a grand scale, and few with frostbite as the end result.

    I often forget things, but I tell Colin (who ALWAYS does), that my own forgetfulness has more to do with a programme of careful information-filtering. I only remember what is absolutely necessary, and discard the dross. Unfortunately, our respective concepts of necessity and dross do not always coincide.

    Efficiency is so dull though, don't you think?

    M x

    P.S. That deleted comment was mine - I forgot to edit before I posted. (Sigh.)

  35. Good Morning Val!

    It's five thirty in the morning your time and I'm on a bit of a blogger roll...not to be confused with a log roll.

    I am speaking to you from the past and all is/was well...

    Have a great day.


  36. Stu, the thing with bad memories is that we all forget things that aren't important to us..;-) I was just hacked off that I should have been forgotten quite so I put it down to

    Metalchick, they are all lovely men..truly...that's the problem. You can't stay angry with people who are that nice!

    Margie, you're right about these differing opinions on dross....but it's a bit sobering when things that materially affect my home and livelihood are someone else's!

    Efficiency is boring, yes, but there are limits to the converse.;-)

    Hi Dale, only checking in now, and it's evening here, so must be morning still there, and I'm looking're in my past..well your future shouldn't be too bad cos it's been a lovely day. Hope you have a good one too, my friend!


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