Sunday, 25 November 2012

This one's for poor autobiographical memory

Well, I don't have much to say, but on the other hand I'm bored and I want to try and post more. I went to a talk at one point (by a real jerk of a speaker, I must say*) about autobiographical memory. There are people who are super-rememberers and can recall every day of their life with perfect accuracy. Then there are people like me, who can't re-experience life events in the first person. I didn't know ANYONE could do this but apparently they can. My memories are more like reading a book about someone else, and they fade FAST. Luckily I can hold onto stuff by way of photographs, blogging and making things into hilarious stories to tell at cocktail parties, so that works out okay. Still, it would probably be a good idea to try to commit things to writing as they happen, or I will wake up one day and have no idea what I did with my life.

(This can also be very awkward - it took me a long time to convince Del that I wasn't just forgetting things we did/that he said because I don't care. I just don't remember, but I don't remember anything else either...)

Actually, I wonder too how much of this is due to re-imagining my life every few years. Really, in a way you're a different person every time you radically change your circumstances, and every time you make a big move it changes you too so that you're slightly different by the end. But I guess it's unsurprising that my autobiographical memory would be a bit disjointed when my past can be divided into phases that don't necessarily have much to do with each other, but that occasionally overlap.

So anyway, this week it was American Thanksgiving. I decided to work through since I have to go back to Guelph sometime (hopefully this week) to pick up the rest of my stuff. (DREADING this but unavoidable). However, my new supervisor kindly invited me to Thanksgiving dinner on the Thursday, so really I only worked a half day. They got their entire meal in a bag from Whole Foods, pre-cooked turkey and all! Impressive American efficiency (and, I must admit, delicious). They had also invited another family, and that is how I met my very first Tiger Mother. I actually assumed that Amy Chua had exaggerated this style of parenting a bit for effect, but nope, this T. M. was exactly as described. The kids are in music and dance lessons to the tune of $250 per week, she informed us, and in Chinese school on the weekends and being tutored the rest of the time, and they better do well because she wants a good return on her investment. I was astounded. These kids are being groomed for Harvard or Yale, and anything less than that is considered a failure.

I tell ya, it's a whole different world out here. One of the little boys carries around a socket wrench like it's his blankie - it was the cutest thing - and I said, "awww, maybe he'll be a mechanic!" I got a strange look and a "We're hoping he'll be a doctor" in return. However, ten minutes later when we heard the woeful saga of the new generator that can't be hooked up to the house because the house doesn't have a ground wire (?? maybe it's really old?), I thought to myself, this is why one wants an electrician or two in the family if possible. Not much use having nothing but doctors at a time like this!

Anyway, I had a nice time and it was sweet of them to invite me. So that's my first American Thanksgiving under my belt I suppose.

Other than that, mostly been laying low as I don't get paid until Friday and have been surviving on my first week's paycheque (get paid once a week on the last day of the month, so only a small one for October and nothing now until the end of Nov). Had a rough birthday this year - Helena and I had dinner plans at least, but then she got sick and had to cancel so I did nothing at all. Luckily a card and a parcel arrived from the people I can always count on, so that cheered me up somewhat. Then later in the week my friend Rebecca's grandma took a turn for the worse and died, and the funeral was actually ON her birthday. So now I feel bad for complaining. Poor Rebecca, she has had a rough year and I hope we can take her away for a girls weekend or something once I have some actual paycheque available to spend.

Hopefully this whole trip-to-Guelph thing works out for the end of the week. I really am not looking forward to the drives and the border (and Guelph) but it can't be helped. I will cough up extra for a GPS and hope the horrible Connecticut drivers are feeling kind...

*he called out a grad student halfway through the talk, loudly and at great length, for fiddling around on his phone -which granted isn't good form, but who HALTS HIS TALK TO YELL AT SOMEONE?! Especially since some people have note-taking apps etc on their phones.


Theresa said...

I agree re blogging. I have gone into the archives and read posts (by me!) about things I had totally forgotten. In my case, it's probably an age issue.
I feel that I am a Moose Mother. Just bumbling around in the bush, occasionally running in front of a truck. In spite of that I think we have a good mix of outcomes.

Anne said...

HA! I think this wins "Best Comment Ever". As a slightly lazy and very easily distracted person, I feel lucky to have been parented in the Moose tradition. Not sure I would have survived a Tiger-style upbringing...

Theresa said...

You get paid once a week? Hey, I am pretty sure you come by the memory thing honestly. I can never remember stuff, but was smart enough to marry the Moose Mother, who rembers everything, and everyone. When we talk about things that happened long ago, she will say "that happened when Anne was one" or " that was just after Tim started school" I. Really don't get it but am glad she remembers. Maybe this is why I take all the photos- a memory substitute.

Theresa said...

Whoops- that last comment was Geoff, ever though it says Theresa!