If you know Bo, you know that he loves cars. He knows all about them, keeps up with ratings, blue book values, reads car magazines, goes to shows, quotes zero-to-sixty statistics. People consult him before they buy a car.
He’s also a fanatic about keeping them clean, waxed and scar free. The worst moments in our marriage were when I “did something” to one of our cars.
For example, I was in a rain storm and literally flooded his Porsche 911S. I was taking my mother to the doctor and she suddenly screamed, “My purse is floating!” And it was. That was a dark day in Haddonfield.
Then there was the time I was driving his new Toyota sports model and a guy hit me broadside. I’ll never forget Boris in his dark gray business suit, brief case in hand, standing in the driveway gasping over the gaping dent in the side. Another dark day.
I liked to remind him that he never asked how I was, just how the car was. “Why would I ask?” he said, “You were standing there.”
In college, he had a big, four-door Chrysler with automatic windows, quite a luxury then. He wouldn’t let me put the windows down because he wanted to “save them.” Then he moved from that to a little Austin Healey sports car which he pampered.
You also know that nothing was ever missed in the maintenance department. Everything was done on time, records were kept, and he was researching the next thing.
He was a fanatic about waxing cars to protect their paint – how he loved a good paint job. One time not too long ago when a friend was visiting here with a rental car, he washed and waxed the whole thing.
But all that has changed.
When I got new tires this winter, he didn’t even ask what kind.
The wax, polish, scratch paint, Armourall, Lexol, wheel cleaner, Rainex, leather cleaner are all sitting on their shelf in the garage. He has no interest in it. Last month I finally talked him into washing my car. When I told him it hadn’t been washed in many months, he simply ignored me. Later I got him to wash it, then it took a couple of weeks to get it vacuumed inside. I think he just doesn’t see the point.
Several weeks ago as he was driving his car into the garage, he scraped the cabinet that it’s parked beside. Quite hard. When I showed the rather big scar to him, he said, “So what.” “But shouldn’t we do something to keep if from rusting?” I asked. “Why?” was his response.
The other thing is that he doesn’t remember many things about the cars. For example, he can’t hold onto the concept that if we get out of the cars and the headlights are still on, they will go off in 30 seconds. He’s not sure how to open the trunk of my car. He forgets how to turn on the fan, how to move the passenger seat back, how to check the air in the tires.
This spring I asked him about refilling the windshield cleaner. He had no idea what I was talking about or where we might have some stored. Didn’t remember ever doing that.
This loss of interest is such a big characteristic of Alzheimer’s. Loss of interest and no recall of any of the details of a favorite interest.