I disappointed myself last night.
Not the fact that I couldn’t be fagged to make dinner so took the chicklets out for pasta, ( actually only 2 of them with me last night), nor the fact that when they said they’d rather watch The Simpsons movie, I let them rather than insisting we were on a promise to play Blokus.
Myself and Sunshine were watching ‘Knocked Up’ which incidentally is so much better than you think it’s going to be given the premise, and there was an actor in it who I just couldn’t place.
‘ Where do we know him from?’ Sunshine and I asked each for about 20 minutes.
Now usually I am brilliant at this, it is a skill I have, I agree not a marketable skill, nor an enviable skill, but a skill nonetheless, and I don’t have many, so I own it with pride.
I will sit and focus on the actors face and after a few minutes I’ll get images from other scenes I have seen them in so I can get a sense of whether it was comedy or drama, TV or silverscreen.
(The Man, clearly green with envy, claims it isn’t so much a skill as a lifetime spent watching way too many films and too much TV.)
Then I start to tease the info through, my mind working like an industrial shredder, ripping away irrelevent images, until I have a clear picture, sometimes the hint of a name or just an initial on the tip of my tongue and I start unravelling it , pulling at threads like Granny’s old scarf.
Sometimes it’ll just take me a couple of minutes, other times hours.
I have been known to wake up in the middle of the night and realise, ‘ it’s the guy with poodle in the Bill Murray film’, ‘ it’s the woman in the car Kathy Bates backed into.’
Then, drained by my powers, I can sleep the sleep of the dead, exhausted but satisfied.
Last night though, I reached a new personal low and my personal low was already close to the ground.
After 20 minutes of insisting he hadn’t been in any crappy Lindsay Lohan or Hilary Duff films, I turned my back on my gift, betrayed my superpower. I got up and I GOOGLED it!
So weak and fickle am I , I just went straight to the source, and it wasn’t even a hard one, I would have got it soon anyway if I hadn’t just given up, he hadn’t played an anonymous truck driver, or barmen or police officer, he was MIKE, gorgeous gorgeous Mike who married Phoebe in Friends.
I am getting to an age where I really need to be exercising my brain more not less.
I can remember our phone number from when I was a teenager ( we never had a phone until I was a teenager, yes darling that’s right, not only did we live without mobiles, we had to phone boys from the red box at the end of the street), I can remember my JHS best friend Liz’s parents number, but these days I don’t even make an effort to remember a number, I put it straight to speed dial, I have to look up my own cell number in my profile.
I write down all appointments, work requirements, things to do, things to buy, without running them through my memory first. the writing down should be a back up, should my memory fail, but actually I am cutting out the middle-man all the time, which in theory should be okay, not necessarily healthy, but still functional, but then I never remember to look in my schedule book or at the dozens of post-its I have stuck all over the place.
If memory is like a muscle that requires regular flexing, will it simply atrophy ( like many of my other muscles)?
I think I don’t remember things as well as I used to, but in reality, I make no effort to commit them to memory. I’ve become Read Only Memory, nothing gets stored on my hard disk.
Will our children have real memories based on their own perspective of events , stored in the recesses of their minds, or will they just soak up the hours and hours of video footage of their childhoods, never needing to remember for themselves or form their own unique picture, because it’s there on the shelf, alphabetically and chronologically organised. ( well in our case 4 whole video cassettes spanning 16 years)
The Man on the other hand claims his Hard Disk is full. If he has to remember something new, something old has to be let go of, and he doesn’t select what he lets go of, it’s all random.
So if I give him new information, information he really needs to keep, for example, ‘ I wont be here for 3 weeks this summer’, he will have to make a space for that, so something will be sent to the trash.
It might be something he no longer needs, like dental appointments from 1997 or information he has but chooses to ignore, like ‘put down toilet seat after peeing’, but it might be something important, ‘get car M.O.T.’d, ‘buy wife birthday present’, there is no knowing what stays what goes, no rhyme or reason to it.
I can see us now 20 years hence, doddering along, his brain full of useless information and mine entirely empty. ( Okay, maybe 10 years.)