Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Memory and Recollection

I have availed myself of the files in my personal memory bank, aka cells in the grey matter, for blog fodder. It has served me well and betrayed me seldom. Yet as I age I have reflected on this thing called “memory” and have a few questions that have gone unanswered to date.

 What started me thinking about this today in particular was this. I took a digital camera to our friends’ flood ravaged home to take a few pictures in case they need them for future reference. I have a two-gig memory chip in the camera, and although I store all my photos in the computer, I leave select ones on the chip so that they are portable and I can inflict them on my friends and family wherever I happen to meet them. As I was attempting to snap the third picture, nothing happened. Almost nothing.  “Out of Memory” message was displayed on the screen.

 Good enough. I now know that a two-gig will hold six hundred pictures. Not a problem, though, and not because I had an extra card with me, but rather because I had not edited the last couple of weeks of shooting, though I had stored everything on the hard drive at home. So I simply deleted twenty or so shots and continued shooting.

 Now to my personal memory. This set me to thinking how marvelous it would be if we could select those memories to save in the memory bank, and pick and choose the ones to delete. It does not work that way. There are many things I would like to access which I can no longer order up from the files. My father, though, averred that everything that had ever impinged itself on memory was still there; we simply fail to have the proper trigger to elicit some items. Be that as it may, I struggle a bit with aphasia and language difficulty. Having been a bit of a language geek, I find it extremely frustrating when in conversation I cannot dredge up the exact word to express my thought, though I know the word and know I know it, but it will not out until an hour later, unbidden and entirely too late to be of use.

 An added benefit to using the delete button for our personal memories might be that we could create additional room for building new memories. This is particularly appealing to me in light of the fact that at my age I often find that I truly can remember stuff, even useless stuff, that happened seven decades ago, but cannot remember where I put my shoes ten minutes ago. (The keys are not a problem, for I keep them in my right-hand front pocket at all times. And that would lead into another issue, because BBBH chides me about carrying stuff in my pockets, which, apparently, the well-dressed man does not do; and she wants a well-dressed man if he’s nothing else.)

 So we live with what we have, not what we dream up. I am thankful for my memory bank and for the fact that it is not empty. Yet, anyway.  I am grateful for the gift of continuity. I am who I am because of the sum total of the experiences I have had, and without memory I wouldn’t be much. There is more to this than I have presented, but this entry is quite long enough.

 Happy memories!

12 comments:

Shelly said...

Ah, yes. The memory conundrum is always so interesting to me, particularly as I see the changes especially my in laws are going through as they lose more and more.

A very thought provoking piece, and I agree. A personal delete button might be nice.

Sharkbytes said...

The reason we can't remember everything when we get older is because there is simply too much stuff we are trying to pack in. Something has to fall off the back of the load. :-) That said, I spent about 30 minutes yesterday trying to remember cairn. I came up with quoin, quern, and kiosk. FINALLY, cairn returned. Sigh

vanilla said...

Shelly, there it is then: we get it all together, then we fall apart.

Shark, seems you are having personal experiences akin to some of mine.

Now see, we need the delete button not only so we can edit our past, but also to make room for new things.

Grace said...

Ah, a delete button for memories! I want one!

Marsha @Spots and Wrinkles said...

Indeed, I just hate it when I want a word, and cannot dredge it up, only to have it pop out unbidden and irrelevant ten minutes later.

By the way, thanks for the fun (and pitifully true) comment today on Spots and Wrinkles. Ethics have also gone the route of the dodo and punctuality.
Gads, what's next? Character? Oh, wait ...too late.

vanilla said...

Grace, there is a certain appealing aspect to the idea.

Marsha, truly, and unfortunately, character just naturally follows. Sorry situation, but keep the faith!

Secondary Roads said...

The "delete" key is a wonderful idea. There are things that I'd like to forget. Some of us could also use a backup system with [nearly] instantaneous recall. Could you work on that one too? Please.

vanilla said...

Chuck, I like your idea of backup with instantaneous recall so much that just as soon as I succeed in developing the delete button I will work on BIR.

Lin said...

I would like a delete button for some bad memories--geez, that would come in handy!

Words escape me too, pally. You are not alone in that one.

What's with the no-carrying-stuff-in-your-pockets? Criminy. She gets a purse...you don't get a pocket?? Sounds unfair to me.

vanilla said...

Lin, thanks for the support on the pocket thing. I mean, there is no purse for me in my future. (I've carried stuff in the pockets much too long to change now!)

Vee said...

Just don't start keeping toothpicks in your pockets. Tiny holes turn into big ones very quickly.

vanilla said...

Vee, seems like good advice. I shall try to heed it.