You know, I have this condition

My memory cache (talking about my memory, not my computer’s or my laptop) seems to have suddenly diminished. My life seems to have become very Markovian. In fact, a few months back, I used to think that a Markovian existence is the best kind of existence, since in that kind of a situation, you respond to every situation on instinct, don’t make plans, are always on the lookout to optimize, etc. Now that I’ve actually reached close to that state, I don’t know if it’s desirable.

So basically my already weak short-term memory has become weaker. I’ve already talked about one paradox – I’ve traditionally had great long-term memory but awful short-term memory. I remember strange things, dates when those things happened, the colour of the shirt I was wearing when certain things happened, etc. And I typically can’t remember much of what someone told me recently, or what my mom asked me to buy at the market. The explanation I give myself for this is that I’m weak with details – and missing out on details is not as critical when you are talking about long-term stuff as it is in the short term.

Anyways what has been happening to me of late is that days seem very long. Towards the evening of most days, I really can’t remember what I did that morning. Ok, it’s not that bad – I can remember with some effort, but that effort is approximately equal to the effort required to remember what I did a year ago or some such. Once I get into doing a certain activity, I completely forget about everything I was doing prior to that particular activity – it all goes into memory, rather than staying in cache (like it used to earlier).

The most interesting (and scary) part of the deal is that my memory loss seems to be especially bad when it comes to numbers. This evening, I was out shopping for a computer table. I checked out stuff at some four shops, but as soon as I entered one shop, I completely forgot about the prices quoted in the previous shop. So I actually didn’t have a handle on comparative price. Tomorrow, I’ll mostly go buy that table which I liked best, and trust the shopkeeper to rememeber the price that I’ve bargained.

Considering that I’ve traditionally been a “numbers guy” and have a good eye for numbers, this is extremely scary. I just hope it’s some minor problem caused due to something like lack of sleep (i sleep only 8 hours a day) or hunger (i eat at least 6 times a day) and not something more serious. For example, I use a prepaid mobile phone. And each time after a call or a message I see the balance, I don’t know how much I’ve spent becasue I don’t know the previous balance. I remember that the last time I used a pre-paid phone (the same number; back wehn i was at IIMB) I would meticulously keep track of expenses.

While the condition lasts, I seem to be enjoying myself. Days seem so much longer, so I can relax so much more in the given time. I occasionally feel bored, but quickly find myself something to do, and get engrossed in it. I don’t get easily distracted like I used to. I don’t multitask (earlier I was a compulsive multitasker). I’m able to concentrate again, like I used to during the days of blindfold chess in the backbench. I don’t get worried. I don’t remember a thing from my previous jobs – though I’m sure I can pull it up from secondary memory if absolutely required.

But you know, I have this condition..

12 thoughts on “You know, I have this condition”

  1. I have been having this condition for close to 2 years now. The theory behind this is called ‘brain’s crap filter’. Brain is apparently designed in such a way that it filters out crap and tends to remember better what it thinks as important. But the problem is that sometimes what we think as important may be different from what the brain thinks as important. And the more things we/our brain thinks to be crap, the more and sooner it forgets it. For more on this see

  2. I guess you are not paying any attention to the ‘present’ as it plays out because nothing interesting or out of the ordinary is happening in the present. If your table retailer slapped you and told you the price I’m sure you would remember.

  3. Its not only you who has this condition. In fact, one or the other time, everybody experiences this condition. I end up in such situations when I get too agitated/annoyed. I believe, keeping calm and more constructive-mental-exercise are the simple remedies! I am about to explore Yoga, not just for this, but as a holistic approach for well being; will tell you my experiences when I begin with it.

  4. I seem to be in that condition not caring about whats going on in the present, when I am not liking whats happening now, or when I am extremely disappointed or depressed. Minute details skip the memory cache, when more important things are being sorted of even if sub-consciously…When things are going fine and I am not worried about anything in life I seem to remember everything..from bank balances to stock prices….

  5. I think it’s just what you care and don’t care about. When you were a little younger and probably a little less cynical, you would probably remember a lot of stuff, just in case. Now your priorities are more set, so you are sort of choosing what is more important to u – don’t worry, I think you’ve just grown up 😉

    1. interesting. in fact i was showing this to someone else and that person told me that this is just temporary and i’ll grow back young soon!

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