As I push in the side door of the tall, white church, I inhale a familiar scent that tells me a hundred things. It’s been four and a half years, give or take a month since I’ve come to know this distinct odor and I can’t say it’s a hundred percent pleasing but I’m unable to discern the notes that make this fragrance unique to this time and place. Maybe it’s an intermingling of a thousand people, the coffee, the incense, the monthly chicken barbeques of which I have yet to partake. But when I enter and the smell hits me all at once, I know I am home and that peace and hope will be mine for the next hour.
With so much noise on the internet, I wish Twitter would track the links I click on and read. Interestingly, the link I’m trying to find is about not retaining what you read. It was a great explanation of why we don’t remember things long term, but the more I write about it, the more the article comes into focus and I may have a chance of tracking it down in case you want to read it. Pamela Paul, the editor of the NYTBR is quoted in it. There was also a bit about Plato not wanting to ruin his memory by writing his ideas down because he felt writing things would be the death of memory. The article (aha, I found it!) asserts that the more we read, the less we retain and it’s all down to the internet because we really have no reason to keep things in our memory because we have new ways to retrieve them.
I remembered Pamela Paul was quoted because I specifically recall the things she remembers when she reads. The physical book itself, where she bought it or who gave it to her, the setting she read it in. The trouble was, that was about all she remembered. We are fortunate to have the internet and the place I go to remember what I read and to get a brief synopsis of it is Goodreads. There were times in the past where I would read a book and then at a later date, purchase the book again or check it out from the library only to remember halfway through I had already read it. It rarely happens anymore.
I suppose there are things to say about mnemonics but I’m not really feeling it today except to say that I use them for my computer passwords here and there (you basically need full phrases with numbers and symbols thrown in these days to be sure everything is secure). A couple of these phrases have really stuck in my mind so I guess you could say they are now serving a dual purpose. The things I learned them for are not even anything I use anymore in my grown up life but they got me through whatever tests I needed them for and for that and the fact they are still in my brain 40 or so years later is a testament to them.
Speaking of remembering, I really need an ace way to remember people’s names. I’m pretty good if I know someone else with the same first name (especially my own because I usually will say to them, well, that’s easy to remember with a little laugh and that somewhat reinforces it). But there are many, and I mean many times when I am introduced to someone and my mind isn’t present when they say it so I’m like, uh oh, and hope someone else will come by and say their name so I’m not embarrassed later when I can’t remember. Does this ever happen to you? It could be me saying hi, I’m Mary and then I totally miss their name when they say, I’m ______. I seriously have a short attention span.
I’m also not great in social situations with people I don’t know (these situations that require us to introduce ourselves in the first place). I’m too busy thinking of things to talk about so if people are being introduced, my mind is already too absorbed in my other thoughts to take it in. I will try to ask someone else if I really need to know. If I know I’ve met someone before but see them another time and can’t remember, I’ll just say, hi, I’m Mary again and hope they reciprocate.
A few years ago, I took part in Dale Carnegie training and let me tell you, they really stress how important it is to remember people’s names. A person’s name is really the most important thing about them and it makes people feel good when you use their name in conversation. If I can remember it the first time, I will always try to say it again or at least at the end of the conversation because that is a good way to reinforce it as well. I practice this when I’m on the phone with anyone in customer service because they always give their name. I write it down so I can use it during the conversation and again when the call is ending.
Maybe we should all develop our own mnemonics so when we introduce ourselves, we can say, hi, I’m Mary, Meet A Real Yoyo. On the other hand it might just be easier to remember Mary.
Tell me how you remember people you meet for the first (or second time).