I've been off work Thursday and Friday, feeling unwell. I've been burning a lot of plates at both ends, spinning a lot of candles in the air, and generally mixing my metaphors; never a good idea. It's finally given me a sore throat and a splitting headache. As I'm normally up at 6:30 (a.m. these days, sadly) just those couple of extra hours in bed are enough to take me into Oddly Meaningful Reverie territory. Once, I would spend most of the daylight hours wandering around in there, my favourite form of exercise. Given half a chance my daughter would, too. She has inherited that idle daydream-believer gene.
Thursday morning, I found myself inwardly contemplating a colour scheme. A table-cloth, in large pastel-coloured squares. Then a sort of bold pattern of hooped stripes, running round a cylinder. Very bold, same colours as the table-cloth -- pink, yellow and green. A roll of sweets. Pastel-coloured round tablets, with a concave surface. Smooth on the tongue, then fizzy... What the hell were they called? The effort of trying to remember the name brought to mind a sequence of corner-shop sweets, packaged in a similar way: Smarties, Fruit Pastilles, Fruit Gums, Rollo, Munchies, Spangles, Love Hearts, Trebor Mints, Polos, Fruit Polos... No, none of the above.
Then my inner eye was distracted by the large glass jars of loose sweets on the high shelf behind the counter. Sherbet Flying Saucers, Liquorice Allsorts, Dolly Mixtures, Murray Mints, Chocolate Rainbow Drops, Sweet Peanuts, Aniseed Balls, Cough sweets, and various other soft, hard, moulded, dusty, fuzzy, lemony, and medicinal-looking lozenges I never quite got around to trying. So many sweets, so little pocket money!
Yeah, yeah... Sweets, sweetshops, childhood, nostalgia, etc. I can go there any day. But what were those concave fizzy things called? Not knowing and not being able to remember steered me into some more unpleasant thoughts and feelings. Frequently, these days, I'm getting these "senior moments" when the names of things seem to come adrift from the things themselves. If I am destined to get dementia in old age, I expect this is how it will start. For all I know, it may already have started.
When I finally roused myself and started stumbling around the house, I asked my partner, working at her laptop in the kitchen, if she knew what these sweets were called I'd been dreaming about, and described them, but she gave me The Look. One of the reasons our life together works is that she doesn't put up with any of my nonsense. There is an entire alternative life story, probably spent dreaming in bed, which that Look has saved me from. My life may not have turned out quite as I'd imagined -- whose does? -- but I dread to think what might have happened if I'd managed to hook up with another lazy daydreamer. It was a silly question, anyway: in the families of the professionally moral middle-classes, kids didn't spend their time with noses pressed against the glass display of confectionery in the local cornershop honing their connoisseurship of brands, flavours and trends, consumers in training.
In the end, Google saved me. Refreshers! Of course. How could I possibly have forgotten? Good question, but I don't think I'm a candidate for the brain scan quite yet.