I have found that as I get older, my memory gets worse, or my brain plays more and more stupid memory tricks on me. Lately, I have found it more difficult to remember a word that I want to use, although I know it’s meaning perfectly and even have an idea of what letter it begins with.
In my previous post, I wrote the following sentence: “…we found ourselves at 2 bars.” When writing that sentence, I wanted to add a few words indicating these were bars which we regularly attended. I knew there was a word for this, I even knew the word began with a “p”, but for the life of me I could not drudge up the word from the murky swamp of my brain.
Until about 15 minutes later when, still brooding over it, the word, “patronize” popped out of the mire. (“…we found ourselves a 2 bars which we regularly patronize.”)
It got me thinking: how is it we can know there a word for something, even know the first letter of the word, and yet have an incredibly difficult time prying the actual word from our memory? I knew there was a word that described “giving a store, restaurant, bar, etc. regular business”, but I couldn’t think of what that word was. The word had to be there somewhere in my brain, but my aging synapses made it difficult to locate and extract. Why is this, I wonder? Is it simply some kind of stupid memory trick the brain plays on you as you get older? It is psychological? Or is it physiologic? Has my brain actually started to degrade with age?
I hope it’s not the latter. My body might degrade, but I want my brain to stay how it is.
Ordinarily, I have a phenomenal memory for songs and can associate them with very specific activities when I first heard them. It’s uncanny and often quite eerie. Tonight I heard, for the second time in my life, The Barenaked Ladies “If I had $1,000,000”. I knew all of the lines, which is not unusual for me after hearing a song once. What is unusual is that I cannot remember where I first heard the song and it’s driving me nuts!
It wasn’t in that episode of Scrubs, I know that for sure. Someone played it for me, specifically for some reason that I can’t remember. Either that or it was in a movie, but that doesn’t feel right. I don’t think I first heard it in a movie. (Has it even been used in a moive?) No, someone wanted me to hear it. But who? And why? And when?
If you are that someone, please put me out of my misery. This will drive me nuts and I won’t get any sleep tonight and I’ll be cranky tomorrow and find it difficult to do my work. Help! Please help! Where did I hear this song before?
When I got into work this morning, I had a voice message from someone asking for a reference for a person who used to work for me back when I was managing staff instead of managing projects. The eerie this is that except for the name that they gave me, I have almost no memory of the person whatsoever. (My memory for these kind of things can be best described as abyssmal.)
I went back to my email archive and did a search on the name and got a partial explanation. The person in question worked for me from July 2001 until June 2002. That’s four years ago. In any event, reading through my email refreshed my memory and I am happy to give the person a good recommendation. But I must admit that I was shaken by the fact that the name drew no immediate memory on my part.
When I got on the train this morning, I realized that I might have left my headlights on, and rather than worry about it all day, I figured I’d write about it and forget it until I get back to the train station this afternoon.
I have 2 things in my favor:
1. Muscle memory. It seems to me that I always try and turn my lights off, even when they are not on, as if the movement is some kind of conditioned muscle memory.
2. I always glance at my car once I get out, and it seems to me that I would have noticed the lights were still on, and I don’t remember noticing anything. Yet for some reason, the idea that I might have left them on got into my head somehow.
I have 1 thing against me:
1. I was listening to my iPod as I got out of the car and so I might not have heard the warning bell if, indeed, I had left my lights on.
Too late now to do anything about it. I’ll find out when I get back to the metro station this afternoon. But maybe now I can stop worrying about it until that time.