I have trouble remembering certain numbers. Not like my own phone number or my social security number or my husband’s social security number. Those I’m fine with. (Except my husband’s phone number. That’s on speed dial, so I haven’t memorized it.) It’s other things that have me stymied. Dates and times, mostly.
In response to this, I’ve had to come up with work-arounds – life hacks, if you will – that help me pinpoint where I am within the dimensions of time, if not space.
Cat time. This is obvious. Cat time is divided into meal time, bedtime, and pet-me time. But, since any of them can occur at any time during the day or night, this is not really all that helpful. I know there are people who own cats that insist on meals with a clock-like regularity or cats that wake them up in order to provide said meals by licking their eyelids or nipping their nose. But our cats are no good as alarm clocks. They lick eyelids whenever they feel like it. Pet-me time is especially variable, occurring as it does even when one of us is on the toilet.
Clothing time. This used to work. I used to know it was Friday when I was wearing jeans to work. Now I work at home and it’s pajamas all day every day. I suppose I need that kind of underwear with days of the week printed on them, but honestly, I could never trust myself to be wearing the right day’s panties. Plus, it might be awkward to have to pull down my pants just to discover what day it is.
TV time. No, not the time in the afternoon or evening when I get to watch TV. It’s that whole working at home thing again. I can take TV breaks the way someone else would take a cigarette break. No, this is a strategy for getting lost in the week, not getting lost in the day. I know that if Forged in Fire is on, it must be Wednesday. Thursdays are Beat Bobby Flay. Saturday is reruns of House. Tuesday is Star Trek Next Gen.
Work time. I do know that when I don’t get work assignments, it’s either Thursday (Beat Bobby Flay day) or the weekend, though I’m still fuzzy on whether it’s Saturday or Sunday. My husband’s work schedule is no help either, as he doesn’t work M-F either. And he works third shift, which leads him to say things like, “I work Wednesday into Thursday, have off Friday, work Saturday into Sunday, and have off Sunday.” That’s no help. I don’t even know how he keeps it straight.
Disaster time. This hardly ever works. But when it does, it’s amazingly accurate. I’m particularly bad at knowing what year something happened. To know how old I am, I have to take the year it is and the year of my birth, which I do remember, and subtract. The same with how long we’ve been married. (Or I make a joke that avoids the subject. How long have we been married? Twenty of the happiest years of our lives. (It’s actually more than thirty, though how much more I couldn’t say without checking our framed wedding invitation and subtracting. (And I probably shouldn’t have grouped this under disaster time.))) But I digress.
In fact, the only time disaster time has worked is to determine when my mother and I went to Rio. While we were there, we heard news about the Loma Prieta earthquake back home. The people in our group were all worried about whether friends and relatives had been harmed, but the news in the Southern Hemisphere was not very specific. Now, when I want to know when that trip occurred, all I have to do is Google Loma Prieta (I’m better at remembering names and disasters), and voilà, 1989. (Of course, I had to Google that fact while writing this.) And if there are no disasters to tie an event to, I’m out of luck. I still don’t know when I was in Jamaica or Ireland. My camera doesn’t date-stamp pictures, either, so that’s no help.
You may point out that there exist in the world things like clocks and calendars. They’re just not accurate enough. They don’t tell me things like when my next doctor’s appointment is unless I go to the trouble of writing it down. (I generally just keep appointment cards in my hip pocket until I wash the jeans and the bits of cardboard disintegrate.) Again, I have to pin it to another event I do know. It’s the day after my birthday. Is it at 11:00 or 11:30? I guess I’ll find out on my birthday when the office calls to remind me.