I was in my doctor’s waiting room recently and started thumbing through one of the magazines that are left out for me so I might busy myself reading rather than getting worked up by the lack of courtesy in keeping me waiting. It doesn’t work. Not by a long shot.
Curious term, “waiting room”, when you think about it. I don’t know any other business where an appointment is made and it’s assumed that one of you will spend some period of time waiting for the other, instead of meeting at the time agreed to. In a perfect world, I’d like to have my doctor over to dinner sometime and leave a note for him with my doorman saying that I’m running late but I’ll be home later that evening. Not really sure what time. But why not have a seat in the lobby. I’d even leave a few old New Yorker’s for him to browse through while he waits for me. But sadly, it’s not a perfect world….and then again, I don’t cook. So this will have to be someone else’s fantasy.
In any event, I came across a small article (in one of those magazines in the waiting room–remember?) that dealt with ways to keep one’s mind fertile, engaged and relevant as one gets older. The main point of the article was that, in addition to the usual bromides like doing crossword puzzles and other mind games, exercise is an important antidote to mental decrepitude. This article and others like it really get my attention because since my reti…retirem..retirement, I’m more concerned than ever about losing my mental acuity.
The business about the connection between exercise and mental health is not new to me. So lately, I’ve been exercising more than I ever have. The downside to this is that I seem to be losing weight and may be in danger of disappearing altogether. I expect I’ll run into Al Sharpton on my way to that oblivion.
I’ve also taken additional measures beyond crossword puzzles and word games to challenge my brain. I had read somewhere that walking on cobblestones is supposed to be good for the mind. But going to DUMBO or SOHO just to take a walk seems a bit impractical; so, I’ve bought a couple of cobblestones which I’ve placed on the floor just outside my kitchen. I have to tell you, I feel a bit smarter each time I make it to the fridge.
But, as evidence that the old noggin is firing on all cylinders, I’ve developed a regimen which I think may be the single most effective way to keep my mind high-functioning. I now reverse the order in which I put clothes on, i.e., where I used to put my right leg into my pants first, I now start with my left one. I’ve made similar changes to putting on my socks, shirt and coat. I know it doesn’t sound like much but, apart from making getting dressed really interesting, I can just feel the IQ points adding up. Of course, it now takes me two, maybe two and a half hours to get dressed in the morning, but really…where do I have to be?
And when the weather gets warm enough for bike riding, I’m going to challenge my brain even further–I’m going to start mounting my bike from the side other than the one I have for sixty some odd years. Of course, mounting a bike may be exactly the kind of act that is evidence that my mind has gone completely off the rails.