Life & Culture

The week according to Peter Rosengard

How to delay Dementia, phone troubles, and lost keys


Italian urban scene with a Vespa, a very typical italian motorcycle

Monday 11:41 am

I get on my Vespa and zoom over to Harley Street to test my new ‘How to Delay Dementia’ theory out on my brilliant GP friend Dr Adam Hazell.

‘ You have to make 1000s of instant decisions a minute riding a Vespa around town-all the time you’re looking for kids running out from behind buses.. old people suddenly walking out into the road, crazy SUV drivers turning right without signalling. I've always read that to delay the onset of Dementia you have to keep your brain active. Correct?'
'It certainly helps.’ He said.
'So how about ‘ Ride a Vespa to Beat Dementia !' -What do you think!? '

‘Hmmh! ..a very interesting new theory Peter -the only problem is with thousands of 80 and 90-year-olds suddenly racing around on Vespas - let alone when they get on 1000 cc Ducatis and Harley Davidsons - the number deaths of old people on Vespas will go through the roof!’

I hadn’t thought of that.

Monday 11.32 pm

I’m woken up by the bleep of a text message.

Who calls or texts at this time? It must be an emergency! My daughter in New York? I spend the next two minutes in the dark, desperately looking for the phone and finally find it under my own pillow 

I look down at the text message on my phone …  it is from Juan the window cleaner. It says: “I want to buy life insurance.”

Nobody ever calls me to buy life insurance — even though that’s what I do — let alone at midnight!  He could have given me a heart attack! Is he stuck 20 floors up on the outside of a City skyscraper?  Hoping he doesn’t fall off his ladder, I go back to sleep.  

Tuesday 12:30 pm

My phone bleeps. You spent 15 hrs reading breaking news stories yesterday.”

So little?

10 pm-12 midnight 

I watch BBC News at 10, ITN News, Newsnight and CNN, all the time clicking on the BBC and Guardian, CNN and NYT live breaking news updates on my iPhone .

 Wednesday morning

l I have a great idea. I am going to start Mobile Phones Anonymous — a 12- step recovery programme for phone and news addicts. “Hi, my name is Peter, I’m a compulsive phone news addict. I haven’t looked at BBC News, the Guardian, CNN or the NYT for one whole week, and not even sneaked a peek at the Daily Mail.” Just then I get a breaking news notification bleep.

 Wednesday 2.15 pm

I turn on on the radio: “This afternoon we’re talking about poo. Dog and cat poo.”

“Poo” is everywhere these days. Whatever happened to good old “faeces” or  “excrement”? Those were the days! The whole world is up to their ankles in “poo.”

Would HE be where he is today if it was spelt “Pootin”?

 Thursday afternoon

I pop into the Apple store in Regent Street to buy a new iPhone. I dropped mine in the bath yesterday — trying out my new under-water reading glasses that I bought on Amazon during lockdown. The glasses work perfectly but the iPhone now does not.

Three hours later the young assistant is still transferring my pictures from the old iPhone.

“You’ve got a lot of pics,” he says. “Seventy-three thousand, nine hundred and twenty-one. It could be a world record.”

“But only half of them are selfies,” I point out. “Did you know that selfies are now one of the biggest causes of accidental death among young people?

“Two hundred and fifty have died over the past 11 years falling off mountains — let alone cranes and sitting on the edge of suspension bridges — taking selfies to post on Instagram.

“And that’s without ‘selfie death while driving’ — they’re just recorded as car accidents,” I tell him. 

“Only 35,282 to go,” he said.

I ask his name.

“Lester,” he says.


“No, like Leicester,”  he said.

“No — not where are you from? What’s your name?’

“Leicester… LEICESTER!”

“No… what’s your name?” 

This went on for quite a while… for at least another 20,000 pics.

 Friday 10 pm

After dinner at my local Italian I’m about to get on my Vespa to ride the whole 100 yards back home, when my scooter keys fall through a hole in my trouser pocket down my trouser leg, bounce off my shoe and go straight through the manhole grille into the drain I am standing over. If you tried 100 times to do this it would never happen.

I leave the Vespa and walk all the way back home.

I think God is trying to tell me something.

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