I’m going to go ahead and take a second to brag about a quirky talent of mine. I have an excellent long-term memory, if I do say so myself. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. I have very clear, detailed memories from as far back as just a few months old (and probably younger). I didn’t realize how odd this was until fairly recently. I began to notice that many people had no idea what I was talking about when I said, “Hey so-and-so, remember that time when we were 8 that [insert memory here] happened?” They’d just give me a blank stare and occasionally accuse me of making things up. One mean old housemate even snarkily said, “Martha’s memory is so good that she remembers things that didn’t even happen!” (I told her she was just jealous.) But it’s true that my mind is pretty sharp when it comes to little details. Sometimes, friends ask me if I can tell them when a picture was taken because they know all I need to do is see the outfit or hairstyle a person was wearing to know the exact day or event. I can often even remember exact dialog.
So while I’m proud of myself for that, it does have one downfall. I often remember something that I find hilarious in the middle of a meeting or conference call and start giggling ferociously. Case in point: During a certain yawn-worthy event, I suddenly recalled walking out of a former workplace in Washington, D.C., one sunny summer afternoon in 2008. I headed over to my favorite vendor’s cart right outside of the federal building to eat some dinner before hopping on the Metro home. Nearby, a man sat against the stairs, surrounded by pigeons. As I ordered my hot dog, I realized the birds were swarming him because he was tossing bread crumbs at them. But he didn’t look very happy about it. I heard him loudly telling the pigeons, “I don’t care what none of y’all think! None of y’all! Y’all can just go on!” while the birds happily pecked away. The man continued to sit there and go right on shouting and the birds continued to flap around and go right on eating. I found it positively hilarious and had to struggle not to giggle publicly (and to avoid dropping mustard all over my suit, but that is something I always struggle with)!