2- A Short-Term Effect
"Did I say that already?" That must have been the twentieth time I had said that all day, and it was only noon.
"Say what?" asked Janine, looking up from her phone.
"I don't know. What was I talking about?" I couldn't remember. I knew it was something though. Probably nothing important.
"You weren't really talking about anything. You've just been kinda staring at the table, and I've been looking at my phone."
"Oh..." I could have sworn I had been saying something. Did I say that out loud? I might have just said that out loud. I was sure we were talking about something, but I guess she's probably right. I returned to staring.
I was told recently by a different co-worker, Catherine, that of the few times she had joined us at lunch a few months back, she had noticed I had been a bit quiet. "We used to have conversations, but then for a while you'd just kind of sit there and say 'Yeah.' 'No.' or 'Mm...' more than anything." She also agreed that one of my most common phrases lately has been "Did I already tell you this?!" and that most of the time, yes, I had already told her whatever I was saying.
One day, only a few weeks ago, I had the same exact conversation with Janine at least twice that same day, possibly three. I'm not really sure if it was two or three times... Possibly more, to be honest. My recollection is mostly of her telling me that I'd already told her every little thing already, and that I could only recall talking to her before, but not what about. Even now, I remember the first time I had talked to her and that I had been pretty alert for 6 in the morning, but I don't recall telling her any of whatever it was I told her again at lunch. I also remember telling her something at lunch, her patiently waiting and listening until I was done, for me to ask "I've already told you this haven't I?" noticing by the slight smile on her face and the look in her eyes... And I remember saying "Yeah, I don't remember that at all. I was awake right?" Right now, I don't remember what it was that I had told her in either of those occasions... but I am pretty sure I tried telling her again the following day.
My short-term memory is shit now. I still have some gaps in my long-term memory, but I might write about that on another post. This one is about short-term memory.
That sentence was not for you, but for me to go back and read when I get on another topic after a few more miniutes of writing.
On more than one occasion, I will send a text message, put my phone into my pocket... and then pull it immediately back out, not only to make sure I had sent the text to the correct person, but also to figure out what I had just said. These sorts of "brain farts" are relatively common, as far as I can tell, but I get the feeling they happen to me a lot more often than they do to most people. It's part of every day life for me, and I know I used to be well known for my "amazing memory" before.
"What are they talking about?" I'll ask my wife as we watch TV. "Oh my god, they JUST said..." I feel a bit embarassed, but whatever, that's no big deal. "I know... I just didn't catch it." I caught it... I just forgot it already.
I have an incredible problem with being given verbal lists. When a manager starts listing off things that need to be done, no matter how slowly he says things, I've forgotten the first one by the time he's on to the second item. By the time he's at the third or the fourth, I've not caught either because I'm both trying to remember the first and trying to remember what this list is even about. I've had a bit of luck writing it down, but sometimes I forget why I'm writing... or I stop listening altogether because I'm looking at the words I've writen, thinking that they don't look at all correct. "Is that even a word? That looks like jibberish." But that also another topic for another post.
It's been getting better... but as with everything, there are good days, and there are bad days. Sometimes I don't remember the bad days, which is kind of nice. That's a joke, I think. But to be honest, it's not often I lose an entire day. Usually it's just bits and pieces, things that have been said, mostly things that I've said, and tiny fragments of moments.
For the most part, I'll remember watching a TV show, but I won't remember what had happened... or where I left off last time... I'll make it part way through an episode before I see something that makes me recall seeing it already, even though it was only yesterday that I had seen it.
I can remember when I talk to you, or send you an email, or chat online with you... but I won't often be sure what I had said, or if we've had that exact conversation before or not. Many times, I hesitate to say something, thinking that I must have said it before... but I'd rather just say something a few times than not say it at all. I simply don't remember.
Did I say that already?