I miss my memory. It was so fun to have around. My memory was a hit at parties, where it would show off how it could still remember our phone number from my high school years (665-0104), or the name of the little girl who lived next door (Ginger).
But now, my memory is not as good as it used to be. I have to use Google way too much to look up the name of that actor from that movie–you know, the one with the boat and the little kid with the pet squirrel…just wait, it will come to me at around 2 am.
I could blame it on the accumulation of fifty years of information in my brain–just like my computer hard drive, maybe it’s just really full and running out of RAM. But I empty the trash on a regular basis, both my computer and my brain’s. I don’t keep running the program of last year’s vacation in my head. That’s what I have photos for.
So I’ll blame it on what I believe is ruining so many of our recollection centers: the Smartphone.
Don’t get me wrong–I love my iPhone. I’d marry it if it weren’t against the law to be married to a man and a phone. But since I can use my GPS and navigation device to find my way around, I don’t need to remember directions anymore. I’ve driven to San Francisco at least 100 times, but for the life of me I couldn’t find Fisherman’s Wharf without my car’s navigation “nag-ivating” me to turn left in 500 feet.
Then there’s ‘speed dial’. I’ve had the same dentist for thirty years, but have to go to my contacts list, find his name and touch the screen to dial. I can’t remember a phone number that I’ve been calling twice a year for thirty years? What’s up with that? I can also talk to my phone or my car’s telephone system and ask either one to “Call Home” for me. So there’s not much motivation for me to remember anyone’s number. But if I lose my iPhone, I’m in deep trouble unless I remembered to sync my information to my computer. Wait–did I remember to do that this week?
So where is my memory? I would think that since all those phone numbers and directional information has disappeared from my mind, I’d have a whole bunch of room in my temporal lobe (where memories live), and be able to at least remember what movie I saw last night. No such luck. What is replacing that information in my brain? The know-how on how to use my GPS? Or how to edit the contacts in my iPhone? Or where I left my cell phone charger?
I’ve taken to recording voice memos on my iPhone, or making lists on bright yellow paper to remind myself of errands to run, people to call, shopping lists to follow. Trouble is, I forget I made the memos and misplace the yellow paper.
I hear there is a natural remedy for a weak memory, called Ginkgo Biloba. At least that’s what I think it’s called.