You know how some people are bad with names? And others are bad with faces? Me, I’m terrible with both. I’ll often be greeted by someone and spend thirty seconds having the following conversation in my head: I know you, I know you, I KNOW I know you… It always comes to me, but it’s a horrifying half-minute of momentary Prosopagnosia, Anomic Aphaisa and utter non-comprehension as my brain scans through the files, desperately trying to find a match. (Oddly enough, people always remember me, which makes it all even worse. Folks I met for five minutes when I was really drunk in 2005 are all like, “Oh hey, Molly!” as I struggle to remember their names. I guess the loud, short girl who tells wildly inappropriate stories and has a piercing between her eyes is hard to forget?)
It’s not just this horrifying social discombobulation that I struggle with. Really, I’ve got a memory like a sieve. Names, dates, birthdays, where I put my keys, why I have stood up and walked into the kitchen, the majority of 2003… You name it, I will forget it. It would be a worrying trend if it was a new phenomenon, but it’s not – I’ve been this bumbling and forgetful since I was a kid. On calling my Grandmother two days late for her birthday this year, she laughed off my many apologies. “I’ve known you for thirty years,” she said. And it’s true. I’ve always been like this. I’d forget my head if it wasn’t permanently affixed to my shoulders and it’s one of the more awful entries in my catalogue of ‘Wacky & Disconcerting Personality Traits!’
Sometimes it’s funny – often all you can do is laugh. When I travel I make a game of what essential object I’m going to forget. Perhaps I will begin the trip in my bikini (long story) and forget to pack a bra? (also, true story.) Or I will remember to bring my laptop cord but not my laptop. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lugged my camera somewhere, pulled it out to take a photo and realised that my SD card is still in my computer. I forget my wallet on the way to work in the morning and leave my phone at work in the afternoons. “Oh that Molly,” they say. “What will she forget next?”
But really, I hate it. I feel like a terrible person, like perhaps people think I’m too wrapped up in myself to notice the rest of the world. Which is lame, because after spending a good number of years as a self-absorbed hysterical brat, I’ve made a concerted effort to do my very best to be a good person, think of others, and not be an asshole. And only assholes don’t remember their grandma’s birthday.
“Write things down,” you might say. Oh, I do. And then I lose the bit of paper or the notebook. Or I add it to my phone calendar or notes and forget to save it right. Or I get a new phone and don’t transfer it across. Or…and… Excuses, excuses. I must remember to not forget.
There’s also the sad aspect of having a bad memory: I’m sure there are a great many things I did and places I went and people I met that were awesome…and I simply don’t remember or only half remember. My good friend, the Epic Goth, will often say to me: “Remember when (such and such hilarious, madcap, fun-filled adventure) happened? That was so cool!” And often, I’ll scratch my head and have to admit that, no, I actually don’t. Did I have fun? Certain amazing trips I took, warm afternoons I spent and wonderful conversations I shared are fuzzy around the edges. I often remember the things that happened, but not the timeline – I get the sequence all mixed up. I try not to kick myself too hard about it. After all, my memory is just that – mine. Who cares if it’s a bit all over the place? I guess I’m lucky in that if something is not a great memory, I can let it go. Allow it to simply fade out. And good memories? I work hard to keep those by thinking about them a lot. Making sure the details stay crisp and sharp and getting to experience them often. Keeping them close and in focus.
Are you forgetful? Does it make you feel like a jerk? Tell me some of your wacky& sad not-remembering stories below.