Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good thing #3

Next in my series about self-positivity... minutiae.



I have the ability to remember tiny details about many things I encounter. It's not like knowing trivia, and I definitely do NOT have an eidetic memory, but rather I'm good at remembering song lyrics, or the Dewey Decimal number of a book I retrieved for a library patron one time, or the location of my first chicken pox welt, or the exact way that my grandmother would say my name.

On the first point, my husband is always astounded at how I can remember the lyrics to songs I haven't heard since grade school, or even since high school. Old 80's TV theme songs ("Perfect Strangers" comes immediately to mind), multiple verses of Christmas carols where most people only know the first... Maybe he's more amazed because he doesn't sing at all, and I adore singing, and when I find a song I like, boy I glomm onto it like nobody's business. Maybe it's burned into my memory from sheer repetition. You know, when you listen to a song so many times that people around you beg you to listen to something else just for one hour? Well, I can usually memorize a song within a day or so.

A few months ago, I was cleaning up the library at the end of my shift, and I picked up a stack of books that was on the table and put them away. About ten minutes later the librarian came up to me with a woman in tow, asking if I'd put away any of the woman's books about mosaics. I said yes, and immediately rattled off the Dewey Decimal number that most of them came under (738.4, or close to there), and left to continue my clean up. A few minutes later, they came back and asked me if I remembered where the last of her books was. Though the call number didn't spring to mind, I did remember where I had shelved it, and retrieved it within seconds of reaching the shelf. The librarian was quite impressed with my memory, and she seems to me to be one of those people who is hard to impress.

Movies and plays. I regularly quote from them (movies moreso), but not just quote, but recite entire scenes from memory, complete with gestures and tone and facial expressions. Yes, I took drama in high school, and yes, I love movies, so that would naturally translate well into memorizing them on my part. In high school, after a few weeks of practicing, I'd know the entire play off my heart and could correct someone flubbing a line, or fill in if someone was missing. If anyone had a question about the script, they'd say, "Ask Nadine, she'll remember." (Though my memory didn't work so well in my favor during a sketch in grade 12, and I forgot my lines almost from the very beginning. I wasn't pleased with myself.)

It seems to be related to reading - that which I see, I remember. I sometimes feel like I have comprehension issues when I hear things (if I had a penny for every time I asked someone, "What?", I'd be a gabillionaire), so often I put on subtitles when watching a film of TV on DVD. I feel bad that it annoys my husband, but what is being said sticks so much better if I read it. This, I feel, is why I can remember so much that I read.

I like that I remember details.