Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sleep deprivation & memory retrieval

I haven't whined much about how little sleep I've been getting with Little T
recovering from his surgery and waking up at night. The sleep gods tend to take revenge if I comment on my children's sleep patterns. But I'm going slightly mad from lack of sleep.

I tried to deliver some chocolate to a friend who's having a hard time. Last time I spoke to him, I asked "Did you move recently?" "No." he replied. "Oh, I thought you did." I said. "Why'd you think that?" I mumbled something about him having a housewarming party recently. He replied "Yes, that was a year and a half ago and you were there." "Oh." I said, rather confused.

I drove to his apt and on the porch was a cigarette lighter and 2 cans of Bud Light. My friend writes poetry and drives a Prius. This was definitely not his apt. I did have enough sense to call a couple of our mutual friends, but none were available. So I called C and asked "Can you check email to see where he lives?" C checks and comes up with the same address. "That's not right." I said and I described what was there. I asked for the date of the email. It was in 2003. C checked a later email. It was the invitation for the housewarming party. It was a different address. Fortunately this address was only a couple blocks away from the old address.

Now I know what happened. When my friend moved, I told myself to update my address book at his housewarming party and then forgot. My poor brain was trying to nudge me, but I had no idea what about. When I'm chronically sleep deprived, my memory often simply fails and I'm left asking silly questions.

Though inability to retrieve a particular memory is pretty typical for me. My memory retrieval system is good, but very context based. I can remember all the items I need to buy if I walk down the aisles of a grocery store and see the items, or if I know the store, the items near the items I need. If I miss an aisle, I'll forget to buy all the items in that aisle. Computers have been a godsend for my memory. At work, I used to carry around a Palm Pilot, which was my little context holder to jog my memory. I would put in enough cues, so that I could remember all I needed to know. What type of memory retrieval system do you have? What's the craziest thing you've done due to sleep deprivation?

3 comments:

sairuh said...

It wasn't sleep deprivation per se: When I was in high school, I was taking a nap after a busy day. Apparently my dad had telephoned and left some message/instructions with me. He claimed that I sounded awake and coherent. But I had no memory whatsoever of this. I haven't had a similar experience since, but I think it's a good example of how I've got this blind spot regarding telephonic activities. ;-)

Jed said...

Thank you again for the chocolate!

Sorry for the confusion about the housewarming. What I meant to say was that it wasn't really a housewarming party; it was M's cookbook party, and it just happened to be at my house (which I had just moved into a month earlier). I'll be having an actual (extremely late) housewarming party at some point after my couches arrive (in a couple months); will let you know when that happens.

Thida said...

Sairuh, I'm also pretty blinded if I'm woken up by the phone.

Jed, that's right and we had lovely food! It was filed as a housewarming party in my memory, because it was the first party at your new place. I look forward to your actual housewarming.