Sunday, February 17, 2008

a short note about lists and my inability to properly utilize them

my memory is slipping. lately i'll think of something good, maybe an idea for a blog or some place i want to travel, or i'll stumble on a word while i'm reading that i want to look up*, and i'll say to myself - i won't forget this one. how hard can it possibly be to remember that i want to look up "abseiling?"

pretty tough, apparently, because i just had to refer to notes to remember it. and that happens all the time now. if i don't write something down, it's even money that it'll be lost forever within 5-7 minutes. then it will occur to me later -- not what i wanted to remember, but in the form of that nervous, empty feeling you get when you realize you forgot something. then, usually, more energy than is proportional to the importance of the forgotten fact is used trying to remember it.

so i've resorted to making lists. my plan was to have several lists that are constantly updated, so i'll have one for "travel destinations" and one for "words to look up," another for "books i want to read," and maybe "blog ideas so nick stops whining about it not having been updated in a week."

the thing is, i'm crap at making lists! i get performance anxiety or something, i don't know, but when i sit down to write down all the things i've thought of, i suddenly can't remember them. then i end up with a list that is two items long or that ends up a lot more disappointing in quality than what i imagined it would be. (if you saw my "europe 2008 goals" list on the facebook you'll know what i mean.)

for instance, i wanted to start a list of "things i would like to see." obviously there are many but when i sat to write the list, all i could come up with was "space shuttle launch." (but, good one, right?).

i am also attempting to write for a friend a sort of "pittsburgh travel guide." i didn't know where to start really so i began making lists, neighborhood by neighborhood, of all the places i think someone visiting pittsburgh for the first time should see. now, pittsburgh is a place i like to think i know a good deal about, having lived there for 23 years. lord knows i can talk about it for hours. but when i sat to write this list, i got nowhere. all the places sounded lame and stupid, and it was rather short.

AND, even if i do get a successful list written, i don't use it! last week i made a shopping list of things i needed at tesco's (unnecessary possessive) and forgot to bring it. then, instead of going to tesco, i went to billa -- only to end up buying just ONE of the things on my list. fittingly i can't remember what else was on it now, but i walked out of the billa that day with only a bag of five ridiculously overpriced disposable pink razors.

i did make one quite good list today that i intend on using, and it is "blog ideas." however, my memory is already failing me on just what i meant by some of the list items. it is:

collections - ppl
itunes shuffle
immigrant (just one? and what about him/her?)
british eng.
the woods (rather unspecific!)
dealbreakers (okay i remember EXACTLY what i want to say about this one, actually)

and that was only about an hour ago. let's see what survives the night.

*my dictionary is being held hostage, and last night i found out USED, by drew and sergio! specifically "oh, i've been carrying it around in my bag. it's crap though. it's missing words."

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