March 11, 2008

Fast Processor, No Memory

I think all of us have certain things we just can't remember. My father-in-law, for instance, maintains that he can only keep track of six unrelated facts at any given moment. I think I'm a little better than that but not by much. What surprises me is the astounding amount of useless stuff I hang on to contrasted against the shortage of seemingly important information I just can't hold on to.

I can't remember how old I am. I mean, I can now that I'm thinking of it but stop me on the street and ask me how old I am and I'm likely to give you a blank stare. Not just because its an odd question for a perfect stranger to be stopping me on the street and asking. I'll struggle a little bit with the response. Then I'll do the math. Current year minus 1972 equals....

I have no clue how much money I make a year. I guess that's a good problem to have - I like what I do so the money is secondary. Still, isn't that something you're supposed to remember?

Trash day is my nemesis. Since we moved - in August - trash days have been Tuesdays and Fridays with a recycling pickup on Wednesdays. On Sunday night I threw on shoes and a jacket and headed towards the back door. "Where are you going?" Beth asked. I was about to tell her that I was going to take out the trash when I caught myself. Of course, that didn't stop me from waking up yesterday morning at 5:00 worried about getting the trash to the curb before they showed up that morning. That thought rambled around my head for the next hour or so, until I was dressed and heading to work, pulling the trashcan down the driveway only to notice that there were no other cans out. Then I realized.

I don't remember much about high school. I feel I should. I remember some of the choice nuggets. I remember the times hanging out with friends cruising the backroads of Virginia with some metal band blaring. I remember being the editor of my high school newspaper for three years. I remember getting continually kicked out of a creative writing class my senior year because I couldn't stop laughing. I took it with three friends and we all cracked each other up, particularly when one of them took one of the aging school desks to a shop class so he could arc weld it back together. That in an of itself wouldn't have been funny had it not collapsed with him sitting in it several days later. I remember senior year, during the modified schedule for finals; when my best friend and I had finished our finals, we bought wine coolers with her sister's expired license and got drunk while playing tennis. The thing is, I don't remember what it was like day-to-day. I went back to my high school to vote in the primaries last month and there were whole hallways and classrooms I don't remember. It was strange. I felt old. And big, since the hallways seemed smaller than I remembered.

I'm not sure how I landed on this topic. But I suspect that it was because of the trash. Which I took out last night. The appropriate night. What can't you remember that you feel like you should?

Posted by Chris at March 11, 2008 7:12 AM
Comments

Like you, I have lots of useless tidbits floating around in my haid.

But remembering to call the dentist or the hair stylist? Nope.

Posted by: Alison at March 11, 2008 7:27 AM

I frequently forget how old I am, which is scary considering I'm only 26. I also forget whether or not I've started the dish washer or if I've fed the dog.

Posted by: Kate at March 11, 2008 7:47 AM

So true- especially about the age thing. Glad I'm not the only one. I forget "paid for" information that I worked so hard to learn in college. Hmmmm...or maybe I blocked it out? Maybe you just blocked out high school?

Posted by: Jolie at March 11, 2008 7:51 AM

I dont remember as much as my school friends about school either, they find it really frustrating that i dont remember the people they are talking about.
I also have a tendancy to block out certain dates for no apparent reason, such as my parents anniversary, i only managed to remember it when i eventually lived with a guy whose birthday was the same date.
We split and so did my parents, maybe it was a sign lol
GP x

Posted by: Grilled Pizza at March 11, 2008 7:53 AM

O..so...many things, sigh.

Definitely my age...1973 minus (insert year i can never remember). I have the same blank look when asked.

Where I put my dang car key...which usually happens to be in my pocket.

Where I parked my car...unless I specifically make a point to remember...airport parking can make me hyperventilate...until I figured out how to make a note in my cell phone. Mall parking on the other hand - I park in the same area nearly every time Dillards, covered, lower level. :-)

I am convinvced my memory of my own things is weak due to the fact that I am the sometimes kind and sometimes snotty *remembering service* of one additional adult and two boy children - but that is ok.

Posted by: Steff at March 11, 2008 8:14 AM

I wish I remembered more from my high school years, but sadly I don't. I also seem to have lost a lot of the years married to my ex-husband. (probably for the best)
I think what I wish I could remember better, or more of, are all the little times spent with my second daughter, Katie. All those moments. With Amanda I know I can create new memories, but with Katie, I only have those ever elusive, finite memories.

Posted by: Maribeth at March 11, 2008 8:16 AM

"I have no clue how much money I make a year." This one is also on my list too.

Most weeks I cannot remember what day of the week it is. I blame this one on working 6-7 days a week most of the time.

In the morning, I usually can't remember what I had for dinner the prior evening.

I rarely remember my birthday. It might have something to do with my not having really celebrated it since I was 9.

Here are a few useless facts crowding my brain:

Chewing on gum while cutting onions can help a person from producing tears.

The banjo is the only true American instrument.

Jerry Lee Lewis is the only performer to give liver performances on American Bandstand instead of the standard lip syncing.

The "you are here" arrow on maps is called an ideo locator.

Posted by: Maria at March 11, 2008 8:20 AM

I alway forget 3 very important things. My bank/credit card PIN numbers, my home phone number and... hmmm, can't remember the 3rd one.

Posted by: Amber at March 11, 2008 8:23 AM

I'm much like you in the forgetful area. Trash day is my enemy. It's Wednesdays. Has been for the past two years I've lived in my house. I always remember this on Tuesday nights, but I can't take the trash out at night. Lots of critters around here (foxes and deers are a near daily sighting). But come Wednesday morning, I forget. Usually I hear the trash truck backing up down the road and go hauling butt outside to get the cans to the curb. Which, is great for everyone involved, because I've usually JUST gotten out of the shower.

I'm with you on the age thing. I can never remember. If I'm with my sister, I'll ask her "Wait, how old am I? How old are you? Take your age and add five years, or depending on the time of year, just four." I'm glad I'm not alone on that one, because people always seem dumbfounded that I can't remember my age.

I don't remember hardly anything from highschool, or really, my life at all before about 20. Even family vacations and stuff. If you say "Hey, remember when we went to Gatlinburg?" I won't. But if you start providing me with lots of detail, I will slowly start to recall it. That really bothers me though.

Posted by: js at March 11, 2008 8:26 AM

Being pregnant pretty much everything is fair game at the moment.

However, trash night is also our evil nemesis. Since moving last year our trash pick up went from Friday to Wednesday. We miss more then we make which is fine since we recycle so much there is little trash for weeks on end but still... AND we just plain forget. Like two days after trash day one of us will comment on the fact that we forgot. Oh and we even went around to all the trash cans in the house, emptied them and had the can ready to go and we forget...

Posted by: Christina at March 11, 2008 8:30 AM

You know, now that you say that I don't remember much about high school, either. There are large spaces of blankness where I feel there should be memories.

I also have a difficult remembering what years my kids were born. I mean, I know their ages. Ask me, I'll tell you. But to say the year of each of their births requires some serious thought on my part...

Posted by: Alissa at March 11, 2008 8:34 AM

I have the worst short term memory but an uncanny knack for remembering where I parked the car and usually I just have to drive somewhere once to get back there (barring an extended absence from said location, that is). I blame the short term memory thing on stress because I notice it's much worse when I'm under pressure (and now that song is stuck in my head).

I don't really remember high school either, likely from the trauma but also, I think I was asleep for the first 24 or 25 years of my life. I don't feel like I came into consciousness until then.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at March 11, 2008 8:34 AM

I forget all kinds of stuff too. I have to do math to figure out how old my parents are, and though I don't do math for my own age, I usually have to give it two tries :P
I don't remember much about high school, and it wasn't that long ago. And I have freakishly few childhood memories...that always bothers me, because I'm relatively sure some stuff is blocked. I think what I do remember I only remember because I've been told about it, not because I actually remember. (if that makes ANY sense?)
But! I remember people's license plate numbers and phone numbers for years and years after they're even remotely relevant, and have the chord progressions in my head for every song we've played in church since 1999.

Posted by: Heather at March 11, 2008 8:35 AM

I moved halfway through my freshmen year of high school so sometimes I get memories from the first 15 years of my life confused with things that happened post move. Included are a lot of high school memories as well.

I can never remember TV channels that I watch frequently.

Unfortunately, I always remember how much (or little) money I make. Not because I don't like my job, but because I just don't make enough.

Posted by: claire at March 11, 2008 8:39 AM

well...I feel now! LOL! I often have trouble remembering how old I am. Then I do the math and I still have to remember that my birthday is at the end of the year so I am not really as old as the math comes out until after my birthday that year. Confused??? Me too!!!

I dont know how much I make until tax time. LOL! Then I wonder where it all went because I dont remember that either! LOL!

Posted by: linda at March 11, 2008 9:04 AM

Oddly enough 3 of your 4 are things I can't remember either. My age gets me all the time and I usually have to ask someone close to me. If I give an answer I almost always make myself older!

Posted by: daisy at March 11, 2008 9:06 AM

Where my work badge is. You'd think they'd have a cool way of attaching it, but they all just suck.

Posted by: Brad at March 11, 2008 9:11 AM

I don't remember how old I am either, unless I think about it. I'm all, "Okay, so last year I was ... how old, again?" And I don't know how much I make either, although the reason why is kind of the opposite of yours.

Posted by: Fraulein N at March 11, 2008 9:21 AM

There are some things that you should DEFINITELY forget, and high school is a high priority on that list.

If it's any consolation, I can't remember how old I am, either. I consistently think I'm about 3 years younger than I really am. When the telemarketers call and ask me what age bracket I'm in, I mess up all their research by announcing that I am 29.

It'll be fun when I turn 40 and still pretend to be 29.

Posted by: moo at March 11, 2008 9:41 AM

I can NOT for the life of me remember people's names. And I mean, people who I just spent the ENTIRE DAY with. So that, when next week swings around, and I see them again, I'm all, "Hey you there, how's it going?" It's pathetic.

And yeah - school. Can't remember much of that either.

Posted by: Sarah R at March 11, 2008 9:50 AM

I can NOT for the life of me remember people's names. And I mean, people who I just spent the ENTIRE DAY with. So that, when next week swings around, and I see them again, I'm all, "Hey you there, how's it going?" It's pathetic.

And yeah - school. Can't remember much of that either.

When I was in 10th grade, I forgot that I was in 10th grade and filled out my school photo info that I was in 9th. Yup, you guessed it - my pic ended up in the 9th grade section of the yearbook. Needless to say, I was mortified.

Posted by: Sarah R at March 11, 2008 9:51 AM

I'm so glad to find others that have forgotten their previous lives! I have no recollection of high school - aside from a few snippets here and there. When I talk to my mother, she mentions all kinds of people who are doing this and that, and I don't know who they are! I told her last time that I was home to tell anyone that talked to me like they knew me that I'd been in a horrible accident and had amnesia. It's that bad. Funny, I don't remember college either. I've finally gotten to the point that I don't try. I think I was just so self-conscious and introverted that I was always only thinking of me and what other people thought of me (ha!) that I didn't pay attention to anyone or anything else.

Thank God the lights are back on in my head! I can at least remember the past year....

Posted by: K8 at March 11, 2008 10:22 AM

I remember pretty much everything, which is part of the problem. I need a vacation from myself, but I'm always there.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at March 11, 2008 10:24 AM

I, too, keep forgetting how old I am. I think I am just in the lost years....I am over 30 but now where near 40 yet. The difference between 31, 32, and 33 just don't really matter. My daughter asked me this week how old I would be at my next birthday, and I had to quickly do the math in my head. She thought it was oh-so-funny that I couldn't remember how old I was. this coming from the kid that loudly yells "FIVE AND A HALF" anytime someone asks her how old she is. She is so proud of that half.

Posted by: Jen at March 11, 2008 10:47 AM

FUnny you should mention high school. I was in my old HS not that long ago because i needed a copy of my transcript. So i get there and they are all like 'go to the main office'. and i was like 'ok, where is it?' and the guard was like 'you went here right?'. i completely could not remember where it was. and when i found the office, nothing looked familiar. It was like being there for the first time. As i walked around a little i remembered more and stuff looked familiar, but not the office. And it was then that i realized that in my years spent in that school I never once stepped foot in the cafeteria. Damn, i guess I cut class way more than I thought. but i turned out ok anyway ;)

Posted by: madmom at March 11, 2008 10:48 AM

My cell phone is the biggest one. I left it at the gym on Saturday and almost had a heart attack at the thought of buying yet another one. But we found it. It just had to involve a rather odd scene of me walking around, clutching my husband's cell phone, calling myself over and over again, while pressing my head aganist various lockers to pick up the distinct rat tat tat of cell phone ring.

Posted by: Amy at March 11, 2008 10:57 AM

OMG...me too! Me too! Me too! Me too!

And apprently, my teenage son can't remember to bring the empty trashcan UP on Wednesdays, when he walks right past it sitting on the curb coming in from school.

Posted by: kalisa at March 11, 2008 11:14 AM

OK, this is weird. But I have a lot of trouble remembering what people look like, and I mean people close to me like my husband. I can tell you he has green eyes and a goatee but when I'm not with him, I have a very hard time picturing his face in my mind. I know that's weird.

Also, I can't remember the words my husband said he asked me to marry him. Isn't that like the ONE thing a woman is supposed to remember for the rest of her life? In my defense, he doesn't remember either.

Posted by: donna at March 11, 2008 11:33 AM

I don't know how old I am either. I also don't know my phone number or how to open my front door.

Posted by: jessica at March 11, 2008 11:48 AM

Names, and the punchlines of jokes. I can remember everything else in the world--my ridiculously good memory is well known among my friends and family. But it takes me three or four times meeting someone before I can remember their name, and I have to write down jokes so I don't forget them halfway through. It's pathetic.

Posted by: samantha at March 11, 2008 12:14 PM

I too forget things like my age, people's names, most everything from high school, and how much money I make. Why is that?

Posted by: Fabs at March 11, 2008 1:15 PM

I don't remenber any of those things, either. I was telling people that I was 26 for three years straight. I wasn't lying, I just really thought that. But this is a universal thing for me. I can't remember how old my cat is. Or my parents. Or my sister and brother. I can't even remember when my siblings' birthdays are. Or how long my parents have been married. I. Remember. Nothing.

Posted by: GreenCanary at March 11, 2008 1:44 PM

I can NEVER remember if I
A) Locked my car
B) Unplugged my iron

My mom SWEARS that I have OCD (um, probably because she has it, and so does her mother, and so did her mother) b/c I always check and then re-check if I have done these things and I always have. Thank you so much for this post, as I will now go out in the cold to hear my car beep, and then stress about the iron for the rest of the day.

Posted by: Mymilabean at March 11, 2008 2:25 PM

sounds like the memories you do have of high school are a lot more awesome than the day to day!

Posted by: Vaguely Urban at March 11, 2008 4:40 PM

Yeah, I have that remembering my age thing too. I also have to do the -72 equation. For the first few months of pregnancy I even confused myself into thinking that I was actually a year older than I am because I was thinking about the fact that I would be 36 by the time the babies come. That went on for 3 or 4 months. I couldn't even believe it myself when I realized it.

Posted by: ocdcontrolfreak at March 11, 2008 6:02 PM

I'm the same way about high school. It seems so surreal to me, Like it was a dream. I don't remember much of it.

Posted by: jodi at March 11, 2008 8:06 PM

I'm the same way with my age!! It's easy for me to remember, because I was born in 80 so the math is easy, but I always want to add a year to my age. LOL At least until October, when my age is what I've been telling people it is all year. LOL

Posted by: Manda at March 11, 2008 9:58 PM

I can't remember how old I am. Ever. My mom keeps saying, "I can't believe you're going to be 25." I hope she says the same thing next year when I'm going to be 26 - otherwise, I'm afraid I'll be eternally 25.

I had no clue how much money I made per year until they asked me how much I made in my Big Promotion Meeting. (I was off by $2,500. I felt stupid.)

I can remember all three of my parents' birthdays but couldn't tell you when my grandparents were born, even if you offered to pay me money.

They moved my trash day, and I'm the only one in the neighborhood that seems to remember it, which is kinda neat, I suppose, as it makes me feel like I'm remembering SOMETHING.

I can remember useless things from my childhood (the carpet in my grandparents' house in Vernon, my grandmother telling me not to move when she sandwiched me between the sheets, watching the neighbors play outside in the rain while my mom made me stay in) but I cannot seem to remember important things (who was on the line when I answered the phone at work four whole seconds before I transferred it to my boss who wants to know who is calling - gah!). I also never remember when our office holidays are, what I gave people for Christmas last year or what kind of toilet paper I like. I buy new toilet paper at the store every time because the blue package always looks right, even though I know deep down it's the green kind that I want. I always leave with the blue. Why? I have no idea. It's on the grocery list this week. The footnote says (BUY GREEN!)

Oh, and I never remember to water the yard. And if I do somehow remember, I forget to turn the water off. As a joke (and to save me money on my water bill) my dad gave me a timer. I turn the water on - it turns itself off. Priceless.

Posted by: Emily at March 11, 2008 10:13 PM

I get freaked out when I can remember things from years ago but then forget things like what I did last weekend, why I walked from the kitchen to the garage, what I was going to say and what the heck my point was! What *was* my point anyway?? Oh yeah...my memory...not what it used to be!

Posted by: Judy at March 11, 2008 11:06 PM

What is is with men and trash day - Scott is surprised on a weekly basis that trash day has come yet again.

I'm always a year or two behind on my age - I usually have to sit and think, "no 35 was last year".

Posted by: Mandy Lou at March 11, 2008 11:17 PM

I am so relieved that all of the above posters cannot remember their ages! I thought I was defective or something since I can never remember my age.

And the high school thing, too! I was just talking to some teenagers who are all very serious about all the drama they are going through at HS, acting like it's going to be the end of the world if they don't have the pink flip flops to go with the pink tee! I told them that "high school is just barely a minute of your life and you have no idea of how much life is awaiting you, blah, blah, blah..." They just stared at me blankly and continued the quest for the pink flip flops.

I do not remember 90% of the names of people who were my "best friends", or very close friends at least, in high school. I try hard to remember them and it actually hurts my brain, so I just stop worrying about it.

Save them there brain cells for looking for my car in the parking lot and important shit like that!

Posted by: Julie at March 12, 2008 1:16 AM

I often forget how old I am. I recently told somebody that I was older than I am by accident. Then later, when I corrected myself, they thought I was full of shit.

Posted by: Sphincter at March 12, 2008 11:16 PM


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