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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Savant? Or Just Blind Memory?

Sometimes I forget how hard it is for people with normal vision to remember things.  I don’t see well enough to use a smart phone and the address book in my 2007 model flip phone is as empty as Kim Kardashian’s head.  Sure, it would be nice to be able to store and then find phone numbers in there, but the font size isn’t large enough for me. 

From what I’ve observed, everyone stores everything on their phone now.  Nobody has to actually remember a number.  Nobody, that is, except people like me.  I was reminded of this last Sunday night.  A friend of mine I talk to every two or three weeks was surprised I remembered his number.  We were at my house and I told him I remember numbers I called frequently from several years ago.

“I still remember the number for J C Penny and I worked there back in the 80s,” I bragged.  “Well, and again briefly in the 90s when they built the new one.”  To prove it, I grabbed my cordless land-line phone (yes, I still have one of those) and called the number.  The recorded message was loud enough for both of us to hear with me holding the phone up.

Maybe I’m a savant.  I don’t know.  It’s always been easy for me to remember numbers, even before the vision loss.

These days, it’s easier for me to memorize a number than look  it up.  Most people could do the same thing if they tried.  They just don’t have to.

I’m leery of paying bills online.  But I’ve never heard of anyone hacking into a phone system, so I pay credit card bills that way.  I have quite a few toll-free numbers stored in my head.  I can enter the credit card number without looking, along with the PIN.  If they wouldjn’t change that stupid 3-digit code on the back each time they send a new card, I would make the effort to remember that too.

I remember the numbers to several friends, the renal specialist, ophthalmologist, chiropractor, oncologist, cable company, taxi, my parents (home and cell), the transit office, my landlord, bank (the main branch and the toll-free number to check my balance), my checking account number, and the number for the time and temperature. 

That last one I've had memorized since I was a kid.  On snow days, we called it over and over to make sure the temperature hadn't risen above freezing.

What?  You can’t do that?  Now it’s my turn to feel sorry for you.

There are several other numbers I remember most of, which gets me some interesting wrong places the first time or two I guess.

I’ve heard people say, “I lost my phone and it had all my numbers stored in it.”  You’ll never hear me say, “I lost my head and I had all my numbers stored in it.”  I do, but if I lose it, I won’t be able to talk.

Yesterday I activated a new card from a big box store.  There was a glitch and I had to enter it a second time.  After that, I had it memorized.  If I call it a few more times over the new couple of years, it’ll be stuck in there with the number for J C Penney.

Maybe all the memorization will keep my mind sharp well into old age.  Follow my blog for another 25 years and we’ll find out together!

1 comment:

  1. This is so true! I always remember numbers way better then my sighted friends. They all are amazed that when I go to pay a bill I have my debit card number memorized, the expiration date and the three digit security code down pat. Somehow though I can' seem to recall my ID number... go figure lol. I liked this post very much:)