and now for something completely different?

Paul Kennedy

How long did you spend on the phone yesterday? I mean every call, incoming or outgoing, and precisely how long? Five minutes? 15 minutes? 50 minutes? Don't forget those calls 'researching' how many windows and doors you would like replaced, or time spent on hold listening to a remix of 'Greensleeves'. Difficult, isn't it? Well, that's memory.

The fact is that memory is not designed to maintain a highdefinition record of the trivial or mundane. Experience has taught us to filter out stuff that doesn't matter so that we can recollect the things that do. Our brains are constantly optimising our memory banks, sorting and filing incoming information, keeping the essentials on top. That is why you remember you have a 10 am meeting but forget what colour socks you are wearing. And that is why you are having trouble remembering yesterday's telephone time.