Sometimes, we tell ourselves things that are blatantly false. One of the most common of these has to do with our ability to remember things. We convince ourselves that we don’t need to write things down because we’ll remember them later. This is untrue far more often than it’s true, yet we continue to repeat this mantra. It’s a silly thing we do, but it can make for some interesting moments in our lives – be they good, bad, or indifferent.
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Episode One – Driving
My latest long distance drives was a great opportunity to do some reflecting. Brilliant idea after brilliant idea flowed through my mind, and I found myself getting excited at the prospect of new projects. It crossed my mind that I should perhaps write some of these thoughts down, but I was driving and it’s best not to be distracted while doing so. Instead, I vowed I would get to work as soon as I sat down in front of my computer.
The moment finally came, but something wasn’t quite right. There I sat, staring at a blank document and wracking my brain for any remnant of what I had dreamed up. Tiny bits and pieces slowly came back to me, but by then, I’d lost a lot of my momentum. These projects would either be lost forever or very slowly regained over time (though they’d probably never be exactly as they’d been when I initially thought of them). I closed my computer and hoped the elusive ideas would return if I stopped thinking about them.
Only time will tell, but I’m rather certain these ideas are lost to the jumbled mess that is my mind. While I may not have been able to write them down at the time, I certainly could have made a recording; yet, for whatever reason, I thought I would be able to remember everything later.
Episode Two – Into the Cellar
Growing up, we had a root cellar in our basement where we stored a variety of foods. We weren’t hoarders or doomsday preppers (we happened to have a steady stream of company and needed a lot of food to feed everybody), but the room was filled to the brim. The shelves were lined with boxes and cans just waiting to be selected and used.
I would frequently be sent down to the cellar to retrieve needed items, which made for a great game at a young age. I’d grab a basket and a list, then pretend I was going to the grocery store like a real adult. It was a dream come true for me (I had weird goals as a child), but this changed as I got older.
I reached an age where I didn’t think I needed a list or a basket anymore. Trying to carry everything in one trip became my new challenge, but I realize now what the real challenge was – remembering everything. I refused to bring a list because I thought there was no way I could forget something in the short amount of time it took to walk downstairs.
Oh, how wrong I was. More often than not, I would get to the cellar and find myself staring at the shelves without the faintest clue as to what I was looking for. I’d move a few items around, hoping it would come back to me. It did, sometimes, but usually my mom would end up yelling a reminder down the stairs. I’d grab what I needed and bolt back upstairs, where I’d then claim I couldn’t find something, even though my mom clearly knew I’d forgotten why I’d gone down there in the first place.
Episode Three – Forgotten Ingredients
I like to cook, and I don’t mind baking at times, but they both present a common problem for me. I’ll be happily dancing around the kitchen, adding a pinch of this and a dash of that, when I’ll suddenly realize I’ve forgotten what ingredients I’ve added and which ones I still need to add.
I’ll then stare at the bowl, wondering if I can figure out what’s in there and what’s missing. Some ingredients are easy to identify, such as eggs or brown sugar. However, when a recipe requires ingredients that look the same, such as baking soda and cream of tartar, things start to get a little trickier.
It’s these instances where I end up staring at the bowl, hoping the ingredients will reveal themselves to me. They never do, though, and I end up adding whatever I think I’ve missed and hoping for the best. There have been times where it’s turned out splendidly and others where I’m not completely convinced the food I’ve made is edible.
I used to tell myself these things only happened occasionally, but really, they happen all the time. It’s a side effect of not paying full attention to what I’m doing. Although, I don’t think that’s the only culprit. Memory is a fickle thing, and it likes to set ideas just outside of our grasp. Writing things down would certainly help, but hey, where’s the fun in that?