Stress affects short-term memory.
I can’t find easy Google proof of it, but I know it does.
Undergo a stressful event, and poof! You can’t find your car keys.
Yesterday, I encountered a woman I’ve met before at a meeting and had a 10-minute conversation with her. I glanced at her name tag, committing her name to memory because I wanted to make a note to follow-up with her in June. When I got home, I found her name on my to-do list: Apparently, I had already made one note to follow-up with her when I had a phone conversation with her a few weeks ago.
Obviously, she remembered me and our conversation when she engaged me yesterday, but I didn’t remember her. Who knows what idiocy poured out of my mouth? How I remembered her name two hours later, I don’t know.
Then at lunch with someone else, I failed to secure the cover on my tea and dumped it all over the table.
This week has been pressure-packed, perhaps the most stressful I’ve had in two years. At dinner last night, I thought, “Wow, I could really use a drink.” While that might be common for some people, that’s not normal for me. Normal for me when I’m thinking about booze is to think about food-drink pairings: “Should I have Sauvignon Blanc and salmon or a beer and a burger?”
I had two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. And squash ravioli with sage butter.
It was delicious. But drinking probably isn’t going to improve my memory.
So I’m feeling generally stressed out and stupid and clumsy to boot, and I’m having lunch with yet another new acquaintance today.
Somehow, through the haze, I remember the name of a software program she mentioned and the name of someone she’d made an album for, and she remarked — not once, but twice — on my good memory.
I leaned over to her and touched her arm.
“Omigosh, you have no idea what that means to me today. I have had the most stressful week, and I thought I was losing my mind. Thank you.”
Ah, a moment of lucidity. And I was gracious, too.
Albert Schweitzer once said, “Happiness is good health and a bad memory.” He failed to mention the role of a good glass of vino.
Maybe he preferred beer.