Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wandering Behavior

Wandering or Wondering?

Forgetfulness is normal and as we age memory loss increases.  There is no escaping occasional memory loss.  Have you ever walked into a room and don’t remember what or why?  This becomes more common the older you get.  The fix is to start over and have a mini AH HA moment.  Your spouse or friends may ask why you did something stupid or exhibited poor judgment and you don’t really have a satisfactory explanation.  You don’t want to change something you’ve always done because you’re stubborn.  These behaviors are actually part of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease; fear of which causes anxiety in most of us who seen its dreaded effects. 
My wife, Iris, claims I exhibit wandering behavior, another Alzheimer symptom, coupled with a small measure of antagonism now and then.  My behavior involves taking my camera and driving through the older areas of San Antonio.  On these photographic excursions I would drag my wife along with me.  The stated goal was to photograph outdoor art, mostly done by average people or community service organizations to beautify a neighborhood or to promote a compelling social message. 
I started these photographic adventures a few years ago with no agenda or plan.  Sometimes a newspaper story about some piece of outdoor art would peak my interest, or I saw one while driving and I would make a mental note to go back with a camera.  My satisfaction came not with the original location found and photographed but with an accidental bonus shot.  A random piece of art on a wall or fence, on the side of a warehouse would catch my attention and it would be added to my collection.  Over a 1000 photographic images fill my digital files and many are displayed at
The antagonism would come when Iris would find fault with my driving (looking around, missing a turn or driving on the wrong side of a deserted street).  Her anxiety level increased when I would park, get out, leave her in the car alone and walk around with a $1,000 camera. 
I would claim my actions are normal and safe.  And I would proclaim this loudly.
My actions were not clearly thought out and perhaps even a little dangerous.  Sometimes I would go on these trips alone early on a Saturday morning.  My rationale was anyone up to no good was probably still asleep.  I would drive to my target area, circle around once to check out the neighborhood and then call my wife to give her a report.  Her paranoia became contagious; I would park, shoot my pictures and hurry back to my car.  After a quick look at the pictures on the camera’s preview screen I would return home.   My return would be delayed by a ride around the general area trying to locate other outdoor murals or paintings.  On the way home I would call Iris and ask if she needed anything at the supermarket, an automatic behavior induced by 42 years of marriage.
Yes, I was wandering.  Yes, I was sometimes antagonistic.  Yes, I was inappropriate.  Three strikes and you are out.  Don’t put me away just yet I still have a lot of life to investigate.  I am just curious and somewhat creative.  Perhaps I was wondering about life, not wandering without direction.
My recommendation for channeling creative ideas is: KISS.  Keep it Safe Seniors.

Print Blog Post

No comments:

Post a Comment