Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Picture yourself at a holiday party, a wedding reception or a funeral. You're talking with a relative or an old friend when another friend approaches. You are aware that friend number one does not know friend number two so you invite friend number two into the conversation with an introduction in mind. "Hey Bob" you say to friend number two, " I'd like you to meet...uh...my favorite cousin...ah...mmm..." Ever happen to you? I call it short term memory meltdown. When it happens to you alone, without an audience, it just makes you feel stupid in a private sort of way. But when there are other people involved, people with whom you grew up, or see on a regular basis, it is the nut-buster of all nut-busters.I'll deal with longterm memory in a moment, but the annoying lapse of memory that looms its ugly head, forcing me into behavior changing rituals, is usually of the short term variety. I have gone into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and rummaged around the leftovers for minutes before realizing that what I really wanted was a pencil. I have left rhe room in a rush to get something very specific from the closet and then stood staring at my clothes with no idea why I was even there. Consequently, I have come up with ways to remind myself of things. I wish that I could remember what they were now...Oh yeah, that's right, memory. Lost my train of thought for a moment. None of my reminder methods work but one. I used to write notes and leave them around the house. Invariably, as I walked by the table or dresser, I would grab these memos to myself, look at them and say, "oh yeah, can't forget about this" and put the note in my pocket where it would live until laundry day when I would try to decode the crumpled little bastards after pulling them out of the lint screen.When I absolutely had to bring a certain item with me to work or on a trip, I thought it would be good to place the item directly in front of the door and in my path. Most of the time, I would kick whatever it was out of the way cursing as I bolted out the door in a rush not aware that I had just left a tuna sandwich and yogurt to marinate my rug. I finally swore off this method after driving halfway to the airport having thrown my carry-on across the room because I had tripped over it.The only thing that really works for me is a combination of the two failed methods. I write myself a note and hang it at eye level in the middle of the doorway with blue masking tape. There is still the initial "what the fuck is this" moment, but the combination of a written note and a physical impediment to leaving my house just seems to do the trick.Oddly enough, my long term memory is quite good. I'll have some interesting thoughts and experiences on that subject in my next entry. So tie a string on your finger and remember to read me in the next day or so.