Greetings and salutations. Happy Monday Fake Sunday. Merry happy Easter peepsters. Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times column:
AMILLION MILES FROM NORMAL – Paige Nick DON’TFORGET TO REMEMBER
Wait,I wanted to write about something. What was it again? Oh yes, that’s right, mymemory. Or rather, current lack thereof. I’m sure I could fix it if only I could remember where I left it.
This freak-out might all be happening because my birthday happens around this time of year, and I’ve been known to sometimes, on occasion, get a little paranoid about getting older. *She says taking her hand off her Zimmer-frame just long enough to wonder where she left her car keys.*
I figure this loss of memory control has come about either because I really am getting old, or maybe there’s hope for me yet, and my memory is simply starting to slip from sheer lack of use. Thanks to this new digital age, (see, I even sound old) there’s definitely less that we have to remember now. Back when we were kids, before the invention of cell phones (yes, I know it might be hard to believe, but there was a time before cell phones. It was right after Tyrannosaurus Rexes and just before Lady Gaga.) Then you had to remember all your friend’s telephone numbers, in your brain, with your mind, all by yourself. Either that or you had a little telephone book which you wrote everyone’s numbers down in, with a pen, and your hand, using an ancient technique called handwriting. I know, things were crazy back then, but somehow we managed.
So what I do remember from those early days is that we could all remember dozens of phone numbers off the top of our heads, just like that. Now I have to look up my own home phone number if I need it, and if I lose my cell phone and all the numbers recorded in it, I’m truly lost. You’ll literally find me stumbling around my neighbourhood in my slippers, mumbling incoherently.
So I got a big fright the other night, because I was driving along, minding my own business, when the song, Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi came on the radio, and I found myself belting out all the lyrics. (I was of course incredibly out of tune, but fortunately there was no one else in the car with me to suffer the torture). I had no idea I even knew that song, and even less of an idea where I’ve been storing all those lyrics all these years. (It first came out in 1986!) But when I needed them, there they were, every single one of them, even down to the wo-ooh’s and the oh-ahs.
And this wasn’t just a once-off lucky phenomenon, I’m constantly astonished by how many lyrics I’ve been able to retain over the years. To give you some frame of reference as to why this should come as such a surprise, at least a couple of times a week I’ll walk into a room and suddenly not remember what I went in there for at all. I’ll stand perfectly still in the hopes that it will come back to me, but it’s usually only once I’m back on the couch and really super-comfortablethat the reason zings back into my brain.
Also something as simple as remembering the pin number for my bank card requires acomplicated set of mental cues and rhyming mnemonics that I’ve had to burn into my subconscious (and write on a little piece of paper folded in the bottom of my purse too, just in case), but fear not, if ‘Wake me up before you Go Go’ by Wham, comes on the radio, I won’t miss a beat, I can remember every syllable of it, even though I have no idea when, how or why I ever had the need to learn it in the first place.
Memory can be a bit of a selective cow, especially as you get older. It’sTeflon-coated when it comes to the important things; such as birthdays, where I parked my car at Cavendish Square, and remembering to buy toilet paper. But it’s fly paper for the more useless stuff; such as the names of each of the seven dwarves, how to spell Mississippi and all the haircuts of Johnny Depp. Hey,we’re only human, we don’t get to choose what we store in our pips. Which reminds me, I must remember to buy grapes. The seedless ones preferably. Wait, what was I talking about again?