Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Great Great Uncle Was a Goldfish.

I have odd memory problems.

My short term memory is fine: I can memorize things for a short period of time very well. This comes in particularly handy when taking tests, or playing stupid baby shower games that involve passing around a basket of stuff, taking it away, and listing what was in the basket. I have a plethora of rattle-shaped pens to prove it.

My long term memory is great, too: I can remember events days, weeks, and even years after they happen. I'll mention something that happened, someone will doubt me, and 99 times out of 100 I'll be proven right by a corroborating witness or other rock-solid evidence (I count the times when people say 'Fine, I believe you!' just to shut me up as a victory).

It's the in-between memory that needs help. The memory that remembers that I have a load of laundry in the dryer, and that I should go get it out before wrinkles set in.* The memory that, after I have noticed that I am out of contact solution, face wash, or some other daily essential, reminds me to pick some up on the way home.** The memory that reminds me that I was baking a cake, and it's been an hour, and I should really go check on it.*** The memory that takes note of the 53 signs reminding all employees that today from 11am to 2pm is Free-Root-Beer-Floats-in-the-Breakroom Day. Because as it is, I won't remember until 5:00 when I'm on my way home and see one of the signs again, by which time I will have missed my window of opportunity entirely.****


*After I finally remember, I'll reset the dryer to go another 20 minutes to fluff up the clothes, forget again, reset it again, forget again, etc. This can go on as many as three days.
**I have used toilet paper in place of cotton balls for a week before finally remembering to stop at the store to buy some.
***I was reminded by the black smoke pouring out of the oven and the pungent smell of death that permeated the room.
****And I really love root beer floats, so that sucked ass.

21 comments:

ZuphChic said...

I have the exact same problem! That's why I am a compulsive list-maker...

Justice said...

Have you considered a string around your finger? Of course, that would require you to remember to buy some string. :o)

Robert said...

At least you haven't run out of toilet paper and had to use cotton balls instead.

Fred said...

Just wait until you get to be my age. At that point, you can't even remember whether you even have a memory.

SystemShaker said...

U know what is really neat about memory? Its pretty much non-negotiable what you remember. I use this fact as a way to value my life experiences and the people that have been a part of my life. If I remember certain details, I tend to assume that they bear some greater significance or will provide a lesson at some later date.

Conversely, if I tend to forget certain details, I normally will chalk it up to a simple lack of interest. If, for example, I forget a girlfriend's birthday...clearly I don't care
about her as much as I think I do.

In general, I think memory serves to value our various life events. Those that we cherish will never be forgotten.....those we forget are best left in the past.

Good stuff.

Walking Wounded said...

SysShaker hit a few nails right between the eyes! (Guess the movie, peops :) )

My oldest and closest friend and I had a talk years back about my wicked memory. You see, my friend has a gift of wiping his memory clean of all sorts of shit. He actually has like 5-6 months out of one year that he cannot recall at all, which is odd as hell from my standpoint. I on the other hand, have the curse of remembering EVERYTHING - even stuff I wish I could forget. My friend tried telling me that I needed to let go of certain things so that I wouldn't eventually drive myself crazy or worse.

But the point is valid that if I had the power or somehow gave myself license to forget, I would not only forget the bad stuff but the good as well. Because memory IS non-negotiable. So I guess I hold onto everything for a fear that I would forget the good stuff, which balances out the bad and makes me a well rounded person.

Early memories for me start to lose senses. What I mean is, at around 13 months old I was bitten by a German Shepherd on my face between the corner my left eye and left ear. (I still have a scar but it is small, barely 3/4 in.) Now, the only memory I have of that time in my life is laying flat on a table, looking up at that huge round and bright light they use in the operating rooms. The picture is blurry due to the tears in my eyes as I am getting stitches. But there is no sound and no sense of feeling or temperature. Just the frozen image, like an individual frame from a movie reel.

I do see memories as ultimately quantifying "value" for events and experiences for each of us. But this is personal and values vary from person to person, even for experiences/events that would seem to be of higher value. Memory is a bitch!

TYSEN said...

I think its safe to say lots of other people share your problems! As do I... I just with other people wouldn't get frustated with my memory abilities when I have come to terms with them...

NCTRNL said...

Yeah, nothing pisses me off more than forgetting little stupid things that I have been reminding myself of for months. Damnit...I knew I would forget about that...

mysterygirl! said...

I've heard that it's that "middle" memory that's the hardest to improve.

I do the same thing with laundry. It was fine when I had my own w&d, but now that I have to do my laundry in the apt. building basement, it makes remembering more critical...

And Robert totally beat me to the cotton ball / TP idea.

bigfootcookie said...

I have problems with my..err..

Ah yes, memory.

I can recall all kinds of useless crap and trivial information, and stuff from my childhood that my parents confirmed really happened, but short-term stuff? No chance.

I can recall my National Insurance Number by heart, but forget to call into a shop on the way home to buy something my wife called to tell me to get before I left work.

I can recall passages from books, lines from TV shows and registry fix's for PC's, but forget to even look into my Filofax to read the message I left myself to not forget my towel I use for my shower at work. (I cycle commute). Which I did (or rather did not) do today.

Doh!

Storm said...

I have the same problem with forgetting that I have a load of laundry in the dryer. I once went an entire week of fluffing over and over before I finally took them out and folded them. It's not that I was being lazy...I truly just kept forgetting about them.

LocuTus of Borg said...

Robert .. that was funny and disgusting - cotton balls LOL!

My memory sucks all the time .. what were we talking about? Actually my memory is funny because I will remember the most obscure things like phone numbers from years ago. Then I forget to take my freakin' lunch with me as I am walking out the door and it is sitting there on the counter grrrrr!

JJ said...

Over time I've developed a system of checks and balances to step in for my terrible memory. I put things where I will see them on my way out the door. I send emails to myself. I got a desktop calendar for my PC and I set alarms on that.

And I still forget every damn thing.

Sigh.

S.Klassen said...

I can name movies and the actors in them, I can even quote lines and scenes from quiet a few movies as well. yet I forget alot of trivial things, and just like walking wounded's friend I have huge blank spots in my memory, alot of my childhood -poof- gone. It sucks at times to forget silly shit like that but if it was really important to my survial don't you think I'd remember?

nic3oz said...

My first memory is from when I was 2 which people find hard to believe, but it's true. I have problems recollecting if something actually happened or if it was something I dreamt!

justanothernickname said...

go read my blog to find out my memories...k

Ruben said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog! I will be blogrolling you. Hey wait...that sounds dirty! Sorry!

Anyway, my memory sucks also. My fiance thinks it is selective because I can always recall her telling me that she wants to make love but I'll be damned if I can recall that she also told me to mow the lawn, take out the trash or feed the dog.

So then it all goes to hell. The dog is starving, the lawn is a jungle and the trash develops that special scent of funkiness. All this equals no nookie becaue she is too pissed to think about me after doing all my chores.

I need to focus! Thanks for letting me ramble and if you have some time send me a few pics for Flickr Friday. Have a great weekend!

Geez said...

A burning cake evokes the pungent smell of death (paraphrased)

A cake dying a painful death is truly one of the great tragedies of life.

justanothernickname said...

midwest girl..do you do.....pageants?

Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

Do I do pageants?? No....

JRae said...

Yes, that's because during that time your brain is trying to decide whether to make that memory a long term one. It takes a while to form permanent, long-term memories. You have to be paying a lot of attention to the event for it to "make the cut." And unfortunately for some of us, boring chores often do not make the cut since they are so routine...

I find workarounds. Like I have a digital watch with a countdown timer on it. I set my timer whenever I am doing laundry or baking. And voila, your watch remembers for you!!! Gotta love that. I recommend it. :)