September 18, 2002

Cute Young Male

My primary care physician of some years recently left a family practice to become the medical director of a Geriatric Care Center. He invited his patients age 46 and up to join him in the switch. I had some reservations about going to anything labeled “geriatric” at age 52, but it was easier than looking for a new doctor.

My recent trip to the center for my annual physical confirmed that I was in the right place. Everything was so quiet, which I love. The usual hubbub of fast moving people was absent. I was in my element.

And then the nurse told me that it was so wonderful to have a “cute, young male” in the office. OK, she did not use the word “cute.” But I could hear that she meant to. She did say “young male” which sent me into seventh heaven. It has been many years since I have been referred to as a young male. I am so glad that this nurse was extremely perceptive and intelligent.

I felt somewhat like an interloper in this geriatric care center. I liked it there, but I wondered if I belonged. The nurse said it was nice to have someone who could actually understand what they were saying – no dementia, no Alzheimer’s. As I left I wondered if I was in the wrong place.

But then I went to look for my car. I walked down the street which was just a few feet below the level of the parking lot. I looked up to where I left my car and it just was not there. I shook any cobwebs from my head and looked more carefully. My eyes went down the row of cars carefully, and again mine was not there.

Where was my car? No one steals ’89 Volvos. This was not a big parking lot. Did I just park in some other part of the lot? Was my mind that forgetful? Did I really qualify for the geriatric center?

I am happy to report that there was a good explanation for all of this. I was not wrong about where I had parked. I found my car about 50 feet away in the middle aisle of the lot. It seems that I had forgotten to put the shift in park and the car rolled across the parking lot.

So my long term memory is still intact. I am not sure what this all says about my short term memory. I suggest that you not park downhill from me. But this is no big deal. Cute, young males should be given the benefit of the doubt.