My memory is good. My friends can all attest to this. And my memory has always been good. From the time I was two or three, my parents could count on me to remember every relative’s phone number. Before the mobile phone’s phonebook function was a norm, my ability was a great asset to them.
Later on my life, it helps that I was in every competition and activity in my primary school that requires some form of memorising, from story-telling competitions to emcee.
And if you attended my wedding, you’ll notice that I delivered my speech without any script. It was all “written” in my head a week ago, and I “stored” it there, rehearsed once more as I showered (by running it in my head) before the wedding banquet, and delivered it on the stage.
Good memory is a blessing, but it can sometimes be a curse. Here’s why:
1. It’s irritating when nobody can remember you
You’ve seen this person once at a party and were briefly introduced to him/her. You chatted for a minute, exchange niceties and either of you had to leave. One year later, you see him/her again. “Hey, Alice! It’s been a while!”
Usually, the reply would be: I’m sorry, you are…
“Remember, we met at a party in February last year and Beatrice introduced us?”
Dammit, why can’t anyone get their act together and remember human beings they’ve been introduced to? Do I have to remind her she was wearing a red dress with ruffles details, and she paired it with a rose gold horseshoe necklace for her to believe that we’ve met? Now it makes me look like I cared so much about you when actually I could remember these because I remember everything.
(True story that happened recently: I was introduced to another blogger by a PR manager. Said blogger shook my hand and asked for my name again, obviously looking like it was the first time we met. I was so upset, I raised my voice and said: OMG! We’ve met so many times, had tea together, and corresponded via emails so many times! You don’t remember?” The last correspondence we had was two years ago. BUT STILL! Then, whatever conversation we had later was just awkward, because whatever she told me, I was thinking “Yes, yes I know already!” and whatever she asked me, I was thinking “Dammit, I’ve told you before already!” I felt as if I were talking to someone who suffered from amnesia. I just wanted to rant about this, because I seriously think this has more to do with her very poor memory than my good memory.)
2. Sometimes people think you’re a creep
A continuation from the scenario from #1. You can remember EVERYTHING the almost-stranger said to you in the previous meeting. Perhaps in that short 10-minute conversation, she briefly mentioned her family.
At the second meeting, after she reluctantly say hi and acknowledge that you probably really met a year ago, the conversation is likely to go like this:
She: “My brother plays the piano too! And he’s pretty good on it.”
You: “Oh? The older one or the younger one?”
She: “How did you know I had two brothers?”
You: “You told me at the last meeting. That your elder brother’s working at a club, and your younger brother’s in NUS.”
At this point, your new friend is likely to look very uncomfortable. She might laugh and ask: What else have I told you? She may look nervous. She may give you a discreet dirty look, like you were Facebook-stalking her or something. Hey, you were the one who told me these things last year, remember? Oh, yes, you don’t remember.
3. People don’t even remember the nice things they’ve done for you
I remember many gifts, trinkets and cards that my friends have given/made for me. But when I remind them about it, they often don’t remember at all. I know 10 years have passed since you gave me that scarf you knitted for me before I went on my trip, but I thought it’d have meant a lot to you too so you’d remember it! No?
4. You remember all the nice things you’ve done for people
These memories usually come back when that person decided to be mean. And then you recall all the nice things you’ve done for her/him, including offering to walk her home because her mother couldn’t pick her up and she was afraid to go home alone, when you were both in primary three. How dare she call me a bitch behind my back when I walked her home when she was a frightened 9-year-old?
5. You are able to catch lies better than others
Friend briefly mentioned that he overslept and didn’t manage to go for his language class that day (it was Valentine’s Day). A few weeks later, he said that he missed his language class on Valentine’s Day because he had to help his mum get groceries in the morning. You know that he’s lying, (probably about the groceries), for whatever reason (that he had to lie). But since it’s so trivial, should you call him out?
It’s worse if you catch your friend’s partner lying. Should you call him out?
If you didn’t have a good memory, you probably wouldn’t have noticed the lie. If your memory wasn’t good, you won’t be caught in a dilemma. There had been many situations where I kept my mouth shut and allowed the person to continue lying because they were scenarios where someone was lying (and bragging) in a social setting and it was just inappropriate to call the person out.
6. You remember “useless” information that no one appreciates
Like, the lyrics to all your school songs. What’s the point of remembering them when none of your ex-classmates do (at least not the entire song), and you can’t break into song with them? Anyway, you’re going to sound like a nerd for remembering the songs, because your friend is likely to say “Aiyah! I don’t even sing the school song last time. I just stood there and stone.”
And now, you look damn uncool.
Hey, I may have also stood there and stone, but I STILL remember all the lyrics leh!
7. People forget their promises to you
People are going to promise to bring you to certain places, introduce you to certain people, buy you certain things, or go on the next trip with you. But, no, nobody is going to remember. But you.
Like that friend who promised to go to Redang with you and her sister, but then you realise a few months later, she book tickets with her new boyfriend to go with them to Redang. Are you supposed to get offended?
And if the person who makes these promises (and forget them) is your husband, he’s going to get a really, reaaaaaally hard time. I promise. And I won’t forget.