When I was younger, I used to have entire conversations I didn't remember later. There was a time a co-worker and I were discussing reporters, paparazzi, and journalists. We had been talking about how awful it must have been for Jackie Onassis, having tabloid reporters snapping pictures from near and far, with no regard for her at all. I mentioned that sometimes people who work for the tabloid media can be pretty obnoxious. My co-worker said, "Yeah, like that time that reporter was interviewing Abe Lincoln's widow?"
I turned, narrowing my gaze, wondering if this was something she had learned in school. "What reporter interviewed her?"
My co-worker smiled. "You know. When he said, 'Well, besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?'"
I laughed. "Yeah, that is the type of thing I'm talking about. How did you come up with that?"
She stared at me while the clock ticked, and steam rose from her coffee. "You told me that joke a month ago," she said, scratching her nose and tilting her head to check me for obvious signs of blunt trauma.
I chuckled. "Oh, yeah," I said.
But I didn't remember it at all.
It isn't that I forgot. It is just that I had to delete that joke from my memory because my RAM was full and I needed to remember something else. We only have so much ram, you know. Our minds are like computers. It is my theory that people with kids use up their RAM faster than childless people, because you have to remember your own things, plus the things your children are supposed to remember, but don't. So, when your RAM gets full, and you need to learn something new--like a new computer program at work, or your doctor's appointment--then you must delete something you don't feel you need any longer. In this case, it was the Mrs. Lincoln joke.
This makes life so much easier. Using my theory, you don't ever have to forget anything again. If you come home and your husband says, "Did you remember to pick up my shirts at the cleaners?" and you hadn't, it is because you had to delete it in order to learn something else. Certainly there are times we end up deleting something we probably should have maintained. These are unfortunate computer glitches. Occasionally they can be retrieved, but not without a lot of effort.
My motto is, "It isn't that I forgot, it is just that I had to delete that."
I'm running toward the sunset years, and I worry about it. I'll be deleting more and more as time goes on, and I don't know how to run my brain's defragmentation program.