Daily Archives: March 6, 2006

I don’t know what’s become of me[Someone Was Watching v.2]

Someone Was Watching

I like to get out in front of trends. This first-person but happily not autobiographical song about the confusion and sense of displacement and loss of self some Alzheimer disease victims experience was written when I was about 42.

I live in my head, pretty much — or maybe on the internet.

A disease of the mind — I mean, beyond what already besets me, of course — scares the daylights out of me.

I saw my grandfather succumb to the disease — before it had aquired its current name — and it was, as I would have told you then, really f—– up. He was an extraordinarily smart man for over 80 years and then it all fell apart. He disguised the symptoms as long as he could — which is maybe why, when it hit us what was going on, it was so surprising. In retrospect, I know the disease had been chipping away at the foundation of his life for some years.

Throughout his retirement he had worked hard to keep his mind active, taking up new hobbies and enthusiasms, keeping up with advances in his professional field, chemistry, even taking Spanish language lessons because he said, when he lived in Pennsylvania’s “Dutch country” he spoke German, and when he moved to California around around 1919 with his wife and two young children, he decided he should learn to speak Spanish. I remember the day, perhaps around 5 years before he died, when he said something like, I think senility is taking over my brain faster than I can learn new things. In past years, I used to learn a few new words of Spanish every week. Now, even though I take classes, I can feel my vocabulary shrinking, slipping away…

And there was a far away look in his eyes.

But it’s not always like that. As I wrote when I posted an earlier version of this song, I became reaquainted a few years ago with a gentleman from my old neighborhood when I was a little kid. He was always an easygoing guy when I knew him and he was aproaching his disease with the same equanimity.

Maybe it was because he didn’t fight it, I don’t know.

But I think I know that, all too likely, I’ll be like my grandfather, dragged screaming and fighting into the final dark tunnel.

previous AYoS version October 11

someone was watching
I dont care what they saw
this terrible truth is a
secret all over the block

someone has fallen
someone can not get up
someone forgets what
someone was thinking of

now I don’t know what’s become of me
now I don’t know what’s become of me

toys sparkle in the sunshine
sixty-five years ago
I reach out and touch them
but it’s not like I dont know

whatever was just happening
its all just like a dream
but this time I cant wake up
this time — I can’t even scream

now I don’t know what’s become of me
now I don’t know what’s become of me

(C) 1993,2006, TK Major