I can remember being able to remember. There was a time when I did not need an electronic calendar to remind me when I had a meeting. There was a time when I would remember what to pick up in the store without a note. There was a time when I wouldn’t have to record everything in order to remember it, but I have slowly accepted that my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Now I am not sure if technology is making my mind a mushy mess of unconnected thoughts or if it is simply the fact that I am aging and my brain is already retiring a little at a time. Why my brain is turning into oatmeal isn’t that important to me, what concerns me is losing perfectly good ideas because my head has a slow leak, so I have become pretty good at recording the little flashes that pop into my mind as I go through my day. These little fragments are usually related to writing and if I don’t write them down or record them they have a tendency to float off and are lost forever.
Last summer I was taking a writing class from Pam Houston and she said that when she has to remember something she tells someone else her idea. Once she tells the story she remembers it and doesn’t have to write it down. Well, I tried that and aside from sounding like a crazy person at times (my ideas are pretty fragmented and random) I also forgot my great idea anyway. So I went back to recording my little ideas on scraps of paper, notepads and my hand. If I was ever killed in an accident, the coroner might wonder what was going on because I might have written “a marble dolphin and Indian Chef” on my palm earlier in the day.
Recently I discovered the app Evernote. Evernote is a handy little program that is on my phone and home computer. If I come up with an idea I just put it into my phone and it magically appears on my home computer. This little app will record verbal notes, pictures and text messages. So last night, as I was preparing to think about what I would write this morning, I checked my Evernote app for my last entry and found this little message: “Orange 444.” I didn’t remember putting “Orange 444” into my phone and spent 20 minutes trying to figure out what my past self was trying to tell my present self. I started to feel a bit like Guy Pearce in Memento. It is one thing to forget what I was supposed to remember, but it is completely different to feel like someone took my phone and typed something mysterious into it just to confuse me. I could not remember anything about Orange 444. I checked the date and time I entered the message hoping that there would be a clue there that would unlock the mystery. Sure enough, I entered Orange 444 around noon last Friday which was just about the time I was parking my car in a downtown Seattle garage.
So instead of having a great idea for my writing, I had recorded a parking space.