That time I learnt French and forgot how to drive

I stand in the playground, waiting for my kids to appear, and I wonder who all these people are. Some of them speak to me, some of them don’t. Some of them look at me, and wonder who I am.

Perhaps their brains, like my brain, are full.

The bit that stores faces – is it the amygdala, or the temporal lobe? It’ll have to be, those are the only bits I know – has reached capacity.

For many years, storage space was not an issue.

I was like an iPhone user who’d splashed out and gone full 64GB, and wondered why others seemed to spend at least a third of every day deleting stuff to make room for more stuff.

Then I had kids, and they had friends, and I had to start remembering who they all were so I could be nice to them. Leaving no room for the faces of their parents. I look at people, and I know I know them, but I’m not sure why.

I recognise a nose shape, a look in the eye, or a funny walk, I match them to a kid with the same trait, and I assume the parental connection.

‘Is that Bethanys mum?’ I wonder, ‘she’s got Bethanys bow-legs…’

“Hi…how’re you? How’s Bethany getting on?” I say, warm and friendly.

“Erm…yeah…she seems fine,” Bethanys mum replies, with an arched eyebrow which seems to say, ‘I’m not Bethanys mum, you fuckin’ moron!’

I’m tempted to comment on her bow legs, but I resist, and move on.

There was an episode of the Simpsons once where Homer bemoaned the fact that his brain was full: “do you remember that time I learnt French and forgot how to drive,” he said.

I know how he feels.

In ten years from now I’ll reminisce with friends: “haha…do you remember that time I had kids and forgot everything…ever!”

And they’ll say: “erm, sorry…do we know you?”

(Image: via


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