I won’t deny that the memory diminution that comes with aging is a pain in the neck, if not regions well south thereof, but it’s particularly annoying when that faculty was fairly faint and whimsical from the beginning.I seem to have always had a mind less like the proverbial steel trap and much more decidedly iffy—more like, say, a somewhat loosely constructed sieve. It’s pretty good at catching and holding on to big chunky things: that air can be walked through but concrete walls cannot, or that elephants are large and mosquitoes are much smaller yet probably more dangerous in general. But so much slips right on through where I had hoped to store it that sometimes I think it’s a miracle I managed to remember to wear clothes when leaving the house, or to use deodorant rather than shoe polish under my arms. Not that shiny taupe underarms wouldn’t be a wonderfully glamorous fashion statement on anyone.
Perhaps it’s a contributor to my innovative and playful artistic soul, this having a mind so ill equipped to deal with quotidian and purposeful information in useful ways. When I can so seldom remember anyone’s name, let alone his birthday, or what appointments I made with which doctor, let alone what the dates were, it forces me to do some clever detective work and further develop my problem-solving skills, so maybe that’s just nature’s way of keeping me on my toes. In any event, I hope no one takes too much offense for too long that I keep asking them to repeat their names and hope that they’ll drop some hints about the context in which I am supposed to know them, when I think it’s a major feat of memory and deductive reasoning on my part to have realized that I might know them at all.
It truly isn’t that I don’t care; I simply find that getting a memory and keeping it where it can eventually be retrieved intact are not necessarily related, nor are they either one fully functional facilities in my would-be Taj Mahal of a memory palace. Of course, it’s hard enough to try building a memory palace if I forget what one is, or that I meant to try it, too. Apparently the elephants-who-never-forget have long since sashayed out of the place without me.