Monday, March 4, 2013
Persistence of Memory
I've had the lock among my things for years: it was on the door of various spaces used for the Computer Giveaway and it belonged to my friend Ellen. Of course, I knew the combination by heart: Ellen explained shy she'd chosen the numbers.
So when I went to open it I was surprised that the combination that I was absolutely positively sure was the right combination -- wasn't. I tried it several times, in different combinations. I knew there were two ones, I was positive the combo was 3-1-1-7 or 3-1-7-1, or 1-7-1-3 had to be.
It wasn't. I made a list and tried every version of the three numbers. Then I realized -- nope -- 3-1-1-7 was my door code for another place I worked. After that I realized that the combo was something else altogether, it was two numbers that meant something to Ellen, but Ellen is gone, she passed away in 2006.
I thought, "I opened this lock every day for years, I know it's an easy-to-remember number, I know there are doubled numbers and if I let my my brain go, I'll remember."
And I did, after a couple of days of trying various combinations, during which I recalled five sets of four-digit access codes from Ivey Seright and my locker combination from high school.
I was very proud of myself, having groped through a lot of number combinations. But I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I'd remembered that Ellen's birthday was April 26!