Welcome to My Brain’s Filing Cabinet

Welcome to My Brain’s Filing Cabinet

Last night, Kenny was sitting on the couch flipping through photos on his phone. He’d scroll then tilt his phone my way and say “where was that?” and I’d answer. The answer would be something I knew immediately. Some were obvious if you’d been there. Even seemingly nondescript places have tell-tale giveaways. But some were a little more obscure, like our dog sitting on an outdoor carpet in front of the RV without a telling backdrop. But, because I took the photo, I knew exactly where it was.

It isn’t uncommon for him to ask me things like, “What year was that song…, where is that giant…, where did we see…?” I’ve got a good track record for being able to pluck those details out of the ether. But, I cannot seem to apply this type of recall to things I use in my day-to-day life maintenance. For those tasks, I have to write lists. Without one, I might walk into Target and say “what the hell did I come here for?” I may even struggle to remember what I ate for lunch the day before. And people’s names? Forget it.  I’ll immediately know all sorts of details that surround them, but their name is something I have to mine for.

When I read about things I might like to ride to, they become particularly sticky in my brain. For a casual observer who isn’t especially interested in stuff like ghost ads, Mail Pouch barns or muffler men – those things might all look the same. But when I take an interest in something I’ve read about or saw in a photograph, it is almost like it becomes imprinted. I know the city or town, what makes it different, etc. Occasionally, Kenny will say “why do you know that?” And in turn, I wonder why he doesn’t.

I would love to see what the filing cabinet of my brain looks like. It’s probably covered with travel stickers, has a dent in the side and the fun stuff drawer is overflowing with scraps of paper. When you open the drawer labeled useful, moths fly out.

4 Replies to “Welcome to My Brain’s Filing Cabinet”

  1. You are not alone! Rob remembers nothing I remember everything. I too write lists for the mundain things. I keep a pad next to my bed because I seem to get the best gift ideas and aha moments at 2am and if I don’t write it down quickly, it disappears

  2. The way our brains work is fascinating and usually misunderstood. It’s why eyewitness testimony has been shown by research to be unreliable. We “see” what we expect and overlook what’s actually there; we remember what we care about and forget everything else. Your brain is no stranger than everyone else’s. Then again…

  3. Ditto!! My former husband could not – CAN NOT – remember what he had for breakfast, let alone what town has the giant fiberglass Strawberry (um, Strawberry Point – duh…) … my current boyfriend has had two blood clots removed from his brain and remembers “facts” incorrectly but insists he’s right to the point where I doubt myself… and expects me to remember the names of people in his before-me life based on their circumstances that he might have mentioned one night while we were drinking (“He’s my sister’s youngest daughter’s boyfriend who racked himself trying to jump his skateboard over the handrail at the courthouse… don’t you remember I told you about that…?”) Sheesh. Meanwhile, I really just want to remember where I put my car keys…

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