Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Memory Lane

Just the other night, I had a strange memory. I happened to get up and look out the window during a snowfall. The street behind us hadn't yet been plowed. This caused me to recall Mr Workman who worked at snow clearing for a nearby town where I used to teach. I remember his daughter saying how he'd be so anxious for it to snow, so they would call him into work.

The thing is, I don't know Mr Workman, and his daughter never told me that. It was my daughter who told me that Jodie had relayed that piece of information to her. Maybe I remembered it because I had once taught Jodie before Thesha ever know her. Thing is: why would I retain a useless bit of trivia like that — for about 15 years now?

Both you and I have heard that we only use 10% of our gray matter, but I have recently heard that it's not at all true, that our brains get quite full. They get so full that at a certain age the only way to learn new stuff is to forget old stuff. Maybe that isn't true either, but it was said by an expert/scientist, so I tend to give it some credence.

Question: if my brain is so darn full, why it would choose to hang onto that rather useless tidbit, especially in light of all of the things that I do forget?

That leads me to another memory prompted by reading State Street today. He remembers crying after bloodying a kid's nose. Of course, that brought a somewhat similar memory of my own to the surface. Well, it wouldn't be anyone else's memory would it?

Preston and I were arguing about something or other, and I guess we put our dukes up, and I smacked him in the jaw. That startled me so much that I turned and ran away. I guess if I hadn't, I would have had to fight some more, and I knew that I could handle him, and I didn't really want to do it.

I suppose that I am a pacifist at heart and was even then at the tender age of nine or ten.


Rhea said...

My guess is that our brains don't ever become full. They are almost infinitely big, like a gazillion gigabyte hard drive. Or a quatrillion tetrabyte hard drive. Something like that.

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

Good Morning, Anvil, I think your body is saying slow down a little for awhile.

I want to know where the instructions for accessing the full use of the mind and brain are filed!

Seems like they should be in there somewhere!

Laurie said...

Weird, random thoughts seem to be finding their way into my consciousness lately, as well. Maybe it's the time of year or the time of life. I don't know, but it is rather unsettling sometimes.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Your theory about memory loss (or displacement if you prefer) is in doubt because it is recent memory not long term memory that seems to go. You would think recent memory would still be retained as useful.

I was thirteen when I last fought. A "friend" of mine took liberties with my girlfriend (visiting her when I wasn't there) I ran the two miles to her house to get him outside where I promptly punched him in the face and dropped him. It felt good but I thought I looked silly doing it.

I am a life long religious pacifist, in spite of the above transgression. While I think the standard for being a Christian is too high for me to claim to be one, I do take the Beatitudes seriously, unlike George Bush, who I am sure only talks to some vengeful Old Testament God. Save us all from such "Christians".

Pearl said...

I hear you on the brain retaining useless baubles and throwing out useful bits.

It's hard to tell when a memory is accurate.

methatiam said...

I can remember the phone # we had 30 years ago - I remember meeting the new neighbor girl when I was just under three years old.

I was going to make a point here, but I've forgotten what it was ....

Cathy said...

AC, I think that information about Mr. Workman wasn't just an inconsequential bit of information to you. I think tender you (maybe unconsciously) felt concern for Mr. Workman and his wish for snow so that he might earn some money. What do you think? But like you, I too, wonder why these memories surface from the depths when they do.

mreddie said...

It seems that the random miscellaneous stuff is all I do remember, the useful stuff I need to retain just leaks away. ec

Pam said...

It's an odd phenomenon but as we age, more and more of the past comes back on us. It seems, at times, to be clearer and sharper than the memories of yesterday. Brought on by a fragrance, a sound...a snow fall, they come and catch us by suprise.

Our subconcious registers everything that happens to us, to some degree, and puts it on file. Much comes back as memories and much catches up with us, oddly configured, in our dreams.

Coll said...

It never ceases to amaze me.. the things I remember, the things I forget. The older I get the more I tend to be aware of it all. I suppose that when I was younger I just never gave it a second thought.

Ginnie said...

Hi AC; I've been gone for 5 days and this is the first time I've seem your new Spring format. I love it.
I think that odd smells or sounds can bring up long forgotten memories...and what about those bizarre dreams? I've often wondered where they come from !!