I turn off the shower and the last of the warm droplets slowly run down the drain. As my hand leaves the lever, I suddenly startle awake. Did I put conditioner in my hair? I touch my hair reflexively. It feels wet, and clean, and somewhat coarse. I rub the hair between my fingers to see if I can detect that slipperiness caused by most conditioners. Hmmm… not sure.
I stand, dripping, in the tub and reflect on my memory of the last ten minutes. I remember first getting into the shower and running the warm water over my head. I remember deliberately prompting myself to use the dandruff shampoo. I remember having my scrubby poof in my hand, so I probably washed myself. I remember picking up the conditioner bottle, but part of me vaguely feels like maybe I did that because I wasn’t concentrating and I actually meant to pick up my liquid body soap. I remember feeling like I just rinsed off my hair and turning off the shower.
Did I condition my hair? No idea. My memory is inconclusive. The amazing thing is, however, that I had a collection of minor memories to reference. Normal people collect these types of memories, even when they do something they have done a thousand times before. Sometime these memories are visual, sometimes a physical feeling of touching something, sometimes a memory of thinking a particular thought about an item or action, and sometimes it is just a shadow of a memory, an echo of an impression that happened to be stored in the brain without thought or intent.
To me, it is wonderful. It is a gift. How great to have a high enough functioning brain that there is mental energy left over to receive and record minor incidental information. How fucking amazing.
Six months ago, my experience would have been very different. Very different. Instead of a collection of minor memories and shadows of thought, there would have been a black hole. I would not have remembered anything about showering. In fact, I would not have known I showered except that I was standing there sopping wet in the shower, and it was the logical conclusion. I could have been unexpectedly teleported to an alternate reality where I met the matriarch of Atlantis under the sea and I briefly grew gills so we could sing lovely duets together and then been abruptly teleported back so no one would miss me. That could have been what happened. I really would not have been able to say, unfortunately, because I would have no hint of memory either way.
So, I have noticed the little things getting better. Remembering some things without writing them down. Being able to see someone’s name on the computer screen and writing it on a piece of paper without checking a dozen times to remember what the person’s name was. Being able to have a vague impression of what my day will be without having to look at my written calendar on the fridge. Little things that make life so much more manageable.
So, I am happy to resume a normal level of forgetfulness, absentmindedness, and general mistake-making. It feels so much better… safer, actually, to be able to hold in my mind what I am doing, what I have done, what I will do. I feel so much more me.