As  all of you know, when you get older the old memory begins to fail you. It’s like finding your car in the mall parking lot without that key bob horn honker. On any given day you can see seniors wandering the parking lot, shuffling their feet and staring off into space pensively. Their zombie like behavior might remind you of a scene from Dawn of the Dead.

The clincher for me usually occurs on the basement steps. I go roaring down those steps to get something and by the time I hit the last riser I’ve forgotten what I went down for. The only solution is retracing my steps and heading back to where I began in hopes that the scenery around me will remind me of what the hell it was I went down for in the first place. The good wife often remarks about how we’ll have to replace the stair tread soon seeing as they are beginning to show signs of excessive wear.

Sure this is extra exercise for old Grumpy. But I’ll tell you this; stair climbing does absolutely nothing to improve that six pack – given that the beer fridge is down there.

Bill Cosby maintains that when you become older your memory centre slips downward and finds a home in your ass. His reasoning is that because we sit on it so much we restrict blood flow to our memory center. No doubt, the shrinking of our posteriors also signals loss of efficient function in that particular area. An African Canadian friend of mine calls this, “White Man’s Disease” –big gut with a small ass.

Bill might say, “Get off your ass and you’ll find what you’re looking for and remember what it was.”

The problem, as I found out, means that you are doing more looking than finding and often find things you were looking for days ago; things you don’t even need at the moment. You become a zombie within the confines of your own house.

WIFE: Why are you wandering all over the house?

GRUMPY: I’m looking for something.

WIFE: Looking for what?

GRUMPY: I’ll let you know when I find it.

WIFE: Well you better find it soon because your scaring the dog.

Inevitably, Pumba the Farting Dog is hunkered down under the dining room table, nose between his paws, thinking, “Grumpy has completely lost it again.” (No pun intended)

This very situation became more apparent to me on a recent sojourn to Toronto. We were at the Phenoms basketball tournament and decided to stay an extra night. We went back to the same hotel but, of course, were placed in a different room.

The good wife and the boy were about to watch a movie when I discovered that we had no ice for the scotch I had brought along with me. I said, “Just hold the movie a minute and I’ll run out and get some ice. It will only take me a few minutes.”

So, without me key-card, and dressed in bare feet and sleep pants I made my way down the corridor in search of ice. However, I could not find a machine on our floor.

Easy solution, I used the stairwell to go up and down floors in search of the illusive frozen water. Apparently this was akin to spinning around in a circle with a blindfold on because:

ONE: I was disorientated

TWO: I forgot our room number and what floor our room was on.

(Remember we had changed rooms and changed floors with this new booking)

I was lost and keyless.

So, I went up and down the elevator (Breaking Grump’s #1 Hotel Rule) and slinked down the hallways, listening at doors, hoping to hear the family’s chatter, but to no avail. I’m sure good folks were perched at their peepholes observing me, thinking perhaps that a mental patient had escaped from the local institution.

You see, I do talk to myself a lot and in this instance I was dropping the odd “F” bomb and mumbling expletive deletives. I do mumble rather loudly.

“How could I be so %$ # @ stupid. F-bomb! Geez, how am I gonna find my *& $ # 2 room!”

I thought maybe I could knock on a few doors, especially the ones that seemed familiar. But, I was barefoot, in sleep pants with a full day’s stubble on my face. I was also wearing one of my old tee-shirts that was less than pristine in appearance. Really, I looked like a grey haired 60 year old senior who had escaped from some kind of sketchy pajama party. After all, the clock was ticking towards midnight at breakneck speed.

My next strategy was to keep to the stairwells in an out-of-sight –out-of-mind kind of exploration. Maybe I’d recognize something that would, at the very least, get me on the proper floor. However, like any typical old guy under stress, I now had a tremendous urge to pee. The ice bucket I held in my hands was surely tempting solution to that.

I swear I didn’t give in to these urges.

Also, if you’ve never traversed a hotel stairwell at night you are in for some surprises. I met up with some sketchy characters as I went up and down in my random sprints of search and non-discovery. Like the dude talking on his cell phone in whispers, or the muscle head carrying a whiskey bottle in his hand, whistling some random tune. Of course, I also came upon a hovel of partiers (Wedding Reception) smoking up and doing lines in the first floor stairwell. I discovered there is a whole world of no good happening in these access routes after 10 o’clock at night. I’m surprised I didn’t pass other seniors looking for their rooms.

Finally, I decided that there was only one thing to do. I didn’t have a cell phone to text the good wife, I was keyless and really I was wandering aimlessly like as rat in a maze. I had to go to the front desk for help.

As I emerged in the front lobby I realized I must have looked really out of place. This is a Sheraton Four Points, a pretty classy looking place. The lobby was crowded with several well dressed people, several of whom were just checking in.

I approached a clerk who looked up in surprise and babbled, “Are you checking in, sir?”

Duh, ya right, I just flew in on a red eye and didn’t get a chance to change out of my PJ’s.

Instead, I whispered, “I can’t remember my room number and I need to you tell me that so I can go back to my family.”

To which the clerk replied, “Give me a minutes!” as she slipped into a connecting room, out-of-sight behind the counter.

I can just imagine what she was doing back there. Possibly she was calling the police to report this strange occurrence to the constabulary. I’m sure the desk sergeant simply said, “Don’t worry, mam, we get a lot of these calls, especially from mall parking lots. Just a lost senior, I’m thinking. Sometimes we drive them around to help them find their cars. The old guy is probably harmless.”

Indeed, upon her return she was very accommodating. We played 20 questions to determine if I had genuine credentials and a room at the hotel. Without ID, of course, this took a few minutes.

Finally she said, “You are in Room 432, sir!”

To which I replied, “Would you mind writing that on a piece of paper for me?”  You see, you have to be proactive in these situations, especially when you have “Oldtimer’s Disease”.

When I turned around to head back to room 432 those people in line behind me had shuffled well back from the counter and looked at me like someone being stalked by a zombie in Dawn of the Dead. At that moment I reached down to be sure that front gap in my sleep pants wasn’t exposing something naughty.

Well, I arrived back at the room about one hour after I had left and, yes, I did manage to score some ice. After telling my tale to the Phenom and the good wife, they could hardly contain themselves, laughing uproariously.

The boy actually cried out, “OH, my God, dad, I think I’m going to pee myself.”

But I’ll tell you one thing. That cheap scotch that I sipped tasted every bit as good as 12 year old single malt whisky that night.  After all, a sixty minute workout makes you quite thirsty, thank you very much.


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