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.