Commentary: Call it a mental block

A memory long on some facets of life proves less adept with matters of ‘fix-it’ recall

Harriet Cuthbert

I have a mental block when it comes to how things work and how to make minor repairs/improvements. Sometimes, I even shock myself when I realize how quickly I can forget instructions service people or friends have given me, all the while pretending I am following them.

What truly amazes me is that I have an incredible knack for remembering phone numbers and birthdays of friends from long ago, but I cannot seem to concentrate long enough on these piddling parts of everyday life to remember how they function.

Some examples immediately come to mind: opening my car hood and checking for oil; replacing the vacuum cleaner bag; changing the outdoor light bulb; replacing the battery in my thermostat; changing the toner in my printer. I could probably think of a few more, but this is getting depressing and maybe even embarrassing.

Well, here is another one: turning the pool faucet to let out the overflow. Luckily, there is a “lip” in the pool to prevent the water from flooding my patio.

Friends and neighbors have offered their help. I usually tell them, “No, thanks, I’ve got it,” because I don’t really want to admit my ignorance and ruin my image of being independent. So, when I need my oil checked, I go to Reese’s in downtown Sarasota, where the guys pump the gas, and I ask them to please check the oil.

For changing the vacuum bag, I take the whole vacuum back to the place where I bought it and ask for help.

My son is very adept at changing the outdoor light bulb, and my pool service person certainly knows about water overflow.

YouTube is an excellent resource to show us non-geek-freaks how to solve cyber-related problems in simple language (read that as “for a second-grader”). Once in a while, when I actually do ask a friend for help, I rationalize and tell myself, “It’s only one little thing.”

And then, when all has been said and done, I tell myself, “Mission accomplished.”

Call me with questions about anything. I am here to help.