It’s Weird Wednesday again, and I’m still a freak.
My memory is simultaneously horrible and awesome, and it’s been the source of much contention in my life. I don’t remember much of what I do or say during any given day. When someone at work asks me if I finished something or if I addressed some problem with a customer, my mind turns to tapioca. Same thing happens when my wife asks me to do something, or tells me we need to be somewhere. In the moment, I’m listening to her, she has my full attention, I respond to her, then once the conversation is over it’s all gone.
This wouldn’t be so bad if I was consistent, but there are some things I remember really well without any trouble. I’ve mentioned before that, given 2-5 seconds of viewing, I could name at Star Trek: The Next Generation episode and provide you with more details than anyone would ever deem necessary. I am well-versed in the history and legend of things that have no value in my daily life, yet I can’t remember if I filed that report or put it through the shredder. And I don’t think it’s because I don’t care. It’s not that I’m more interested in science fiction or food or the million little inside jokes and references I have swirling around my brain waiting to be recalled at a moment’s notice. Iwant to be good at my job, and I want to be a good husband. I don’t want to always remember Ted Mosby’s middle name is Evelyn.
My memory is the absolute worst when it comes to directions. I don’t remember street names, and I can’t tell which way is north at any given moment. By the way, I really don’t understand how people can do that. If I drive somewhere during the day, chances are I won’t remember how to get there at night, and vice versa. I have to drive to a place 20 or 30 times before I’ll remember even a little of how to get there. A couple years ago I had to drive by myself to my brother-in-law’s house, a place I’ve been to a few hundred times with no exaggeration, and is in the same town I live in. I happened to start my journey from somewhere else, not my house, and I ended up 20 minutes away in another town. I called their house to ask for directions from this strange land I found myself in and pleaded with them not to tell my wife, who was already there, that I got lost. My wife, especially when it comes to directions, has a mind like a steel trap; no information that enters her brain ever leaves. Mine is more like a rusty colander; almost all information just falls right out. Neither one of us can understand how the other one’s brain doesn’t function like ours. “What do you mean, you don’t remember the name of the rebel in the first Matrix movie that dressed in all white?!?!?” “What do you mean, you don’t remember how to get to my parents’ house?!?! WE USED TO LIVE THERE!!!!!!!!!!”
There have been plenty of theories to try to explain this phenomenon, from ADD to just plain laziness, but they still doesn’t explain why I remember the things I remember. I can recall with shocking detail a conversation between two characters in a show called Tom Goes to the Mayor that used to air on Cartoon Network, a show I don’t even like. But I remember ever line of dialogue between the mayor and the guest star, their obsession with the Chrysler LeBaron, their secret handshake, and too much more. This particular episode aired almost 10 years ago and I only saw it once. That would almost be impressive if it wasn’t so absurd.