Friday, July 17, 2009

writing on hands

I have a well-known poor memory for some things - particularly conversations and interactions. Also for people's names. I remember faces pretty well, but the names are sometimes lost. I come by it honestly.

(As an aside, I think genetics or something must play into this - some people seem to be better at different types of recollection. I don't often get lost, and I *do* typically remember birthdays; I did before social networking reminders. I have friends who are easily lost, but who remember conversations from years ago almost word for word).

Throughout high school and college, I would write things on my hand to remember them. Perhaps it wasn't the best way to remind myself, but it usually worked. And it was fairly common for teenagers who were my age - I was certainly not the only person who did that.

I wrote on my hand despite infrequent warnings from well-meaning teachers or other adults that I/we could get ink poisoning (is that even possible??).

I stopped writing on my hand at my first "real" job, where I felt I had to look more professional. And I've survived since that time. I wonder if teenagers still write on their hands? Everyone has blackberries now, text and e-mail alerts. So my guess is that they do not.

It's not terribly attractive or effective (if you wash your hands multiple times during the day, you have to re-write whatever phrase it was you needed to remember). And one would think something like "homework" would be a standing order.

Needless to say, there is a food pantry drive at work. I am 100% supportive of the food pantry. Due to the economy, a lot of people and families are hurting. I don't think charity should happen only at the holidays. I will observe, the reminders, e-mails and signs peppered throughout the building are a bit much. Adults are going to give, or they won't give.

Yet despite the multiple e-mail reminders, I kept forgetting to bring in my food donation. I had it planned out. I knew what we would donate. But somehow between getting ready for work in the morning and getting my coffee - it would slip my mind.

Friends, I seriously considered writing "food" on my hand to remember. Perhaps my forgetting was my sub-conscious reaction to any pressure to donate to a charity (I am not someone who responds well to pressure tactics - I'll respond the opposite way, most of the time).

The point is now moot, since I remembered to bring in the food donation this morning.

I was simply remembering when I used to write on my hand to remind myself of things. And grateful that I didn't have to stoop to that level this time.


Anonymous said...

I have to write things down in order to remember them. It seems to be the act of writing that makes it real and stick in my mind. It can be on my hand, a scrap of paper that is lost or on my phone. As long as it is written somewhere there is a chance I will remember it, or at least know that the answer (or thing to do) is written down somewhere.

C. L. Hanson said...

I used to write on my hands to remember things when I was a teenager. I hadn't thought about it for years, and I don't even know why I stopped...

carrie said...

i bet you're right about younger folks not using their hands as notepads as much anymore. i have noticed several students with writing on their hands over the past few years, but it seemed much more common when we were in college. over the years, i've shifted from writing on my hands to making lists/notes on scraps of paper that accumulate at the bottom of my bag and eventually get recycled. this is probably b/c i'm a really old-school cell phone user. i use my phone to make and take calls only (no texting, no reminders, etc.) which sometimes, somehow makes me feel oddly like a luddite.

Aerin said...

thanks myrelish - I too have found the act of writing itself helpful.

chanson - I think it was common. Haven't seen it much recently, however.

carrie - I still write lots of notes on paper (recycled printer paper, actually). You should see my desk. I have started texting with my phone, which I have to say, I love. I guess I'm not a luddite. :) I can respect luddites, however. Despite working in IT.