Living Matters: Selective memory has affinity for phone numbers

The husband wondered if the bank was still open, so decided to give them a call. He reached for his laptop to look up the number.

“There’s no need to do that,” I said. I recited all 10 digits, area code included.

article continues below

“Can you believe I knew that?” I said.

The husband nodded.

“I can believe it,” he said. “But, of course, we’ve been through this before.”

The this of which my husband speaks is my ability to recall telephone numbers. It’s the oddest thing. It’s not like I try to commit them to memory. But that’s where they happen to stay.

I am, in some respects, a telephone book with hair.

“OK,” the husband has said occasionally. “Let’s do the phone number thing.”

The “phone number thing” is what oddballs like us do when the power goes off and TV is dead and the house is in darkness and we are completely and utterly bored.

It goes like this.

The husband will say something, and I will respond with the number.

The accountant, he will say. The dentist. The elementary school. The Chinese takeout place.

In practically every instance: bingo, bango, yes, siree.

Weird — at the same time, more than a tad frustrating.

After all, it’s not like I want my memory bank to be fully loaded with a zillion phone numbers. It’s not like there are competitions out there where I might vie for the title of Phone Number Queen, emerge victorious and be handed a cheque for several million dollars.

Frankly, I’d rather my memory bank was loaded with other things instead. Like the recipe for my mother’s lasagne, which I’m compelled to consult quite often.

Like the schedule for the ferry service to Nanaimo, which I never can quite recall.

Like the name of that red-haired woman whose child was in our youngest son’s Grade 2 class. (Heck, why is it that I constantly turn down the supermarket cereal aisle, only to be met by someone with whom I’ve drawn a mental blank? Talk about awkward.)  

Heck, I would happily forget the number of my favourite Italian restaurant if I could remember the name of the maitre d’.

But unfortunately, memory doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately, I don’t get to pick and choose what I forget and what I remember. The memory powers that be — whatever they are — are responsible for that, and have decided, in my case, that I’ll be lousy with names, but good with phone numbers, even ones I don’t use any more.

Oh, well. It is what it is, I guess. Don’t ask me when the ferries run. But I can give you the number to call.

Read Related Topics

© Delta Optimist

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Delta Optimist welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus
  • SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

    Subscription Club: $5/month or $50/year - Receive monthly deals from local merchants.

Opinion POLL

What are you doing more of while stuck at home?

or  view results