When people ask how good one’s memory is, I have two different answers.
If we’re talking about the ability to recall things read, mine is excellent. I remember most of what I read, making me a treasure trove of useless trivia. Do you need someone to tell you the content of wiki articles about giant short-faced kangaroos, or capgras delusion? I can give you summaries without accessing the internet.
If we’re instead talking about things that happened to me, then the answer is very different. Oh, I remember that things happened, mostly, but…I’m hard pressed to tell you when a good deal of the time, or in much detail (conversations I recall pretty well sometimes). Take a few nights ago, for example. As I was trying to sleep I happened to think about the first car I bought. I quickly realized that: a. I don’t recall buying it beyond where, though I do remember going to the bank that week to cash in the CD I was given for graduation so I could pay for it. b. I don’t know exactly when I got it, though I think it was probably in 2003 since I had it about three years and the next car three years, and then the current one for almost a year and a half and that adds up properly to this year c. I sort of recall liking it beyond its awesome ability to haul stuff and being upset that I had to retire it when both the transmission and gas tank developed problems that’d cost more than it was worth. I don’t remember how often it needed to be repaired or any other details.
This sort of fuzziness is pretty common. I can’t tell you when pets died unless they were around specific dates (my dog died a week before my 25th birthday, and my ferret two days before the Christmas the same year. My favorite cat died ON my 28th birthday. beyond that…) and for some of them don’t remember them dying either, and things like similar contracts at work leave me with little recall of which order we did them in. I approach asking people about things we did or movies we saw on DVD as “a while ago” because I honestly don’t know if we saw something three months ago or a year ago and don’t want to argue about when it was.
I’m probably not very good at sequencing like past events either, like what might have happened a given year when my best friend and I do things we do annually (we go to the fair, help her parents at Halloween, and go Black Friday shopping each year), or what happened with family on a particular holiday or birthday…
Now, after this long-winded intro, let’s turn the discussion to you.
Do you, fellow ADD/ADHD dopers, have similar issues with your biographical recall being being far from perfect? Would you too be horrified to be asked by a cop “what were you doing on [date/time]” simply because you probably wouldn’t remember that date unless you really were guilty? Or are you the opposite, and could tell us what happened for 20 minutes in the 60s?
How about you, uh, normal folks? How is your memory for personal events: solid? squishy like mine?