My Brain as a Filing Cabinet

My standard answer to the interview question, “What is your biggest weakness?” is, “Outward organization. I know where everything is, and I tend to keep most things in my head, but my desk is always messy to the outside observer, and if someone else is trying to find something on my desk, it will be very difficult for them.” As mentioned in my post about my design process, I generally like to see everything to be able to work with it. In high school, my mom always tripped over my backpack, and kept telling me to, “put it where it belongs!” The thing is, my backpack was in the same spot on the floor every day! It “belonged” on the floor!

Oddly, though, my brain is the one place where I have some kind of actual organizational system. There are times when I literally imagine placing a piece of information in a folder, and filing it away under “short term memory” in my brain. Then, when I need to retrieve the information, I literally feel like I’m going to the short-term memory file in my brain, opening the drawer, extracting the file, and reading the information on the page. This is quite helpful during exam times, as I just read the notes from the page in my head. I don’t think this is photographic memory, but pretty close it to (or, maybe my years of memorizing scripts has taught me that skill!). Either way, my brain is generally a well-organized filing cabinet.

Except, when it’s not. Sometimes a piece of information is misfiled, or I don’t realized it was filed at all! This is when the fun starts, when your brain randomly goes into the mystery files to pull out some odd piece of trivia that you didn’t know existed. My husband is teaching himself to play piano, and he recently asked me to sit down and play the right-hand notes on a piece, while he played the left-hand notes. I’m not a pianist by any stretch of the imagination (no, seriously, I failed my piano juries during my freshman year of college, and my professor waved my hands off the keyboard because my scales were so disrespectful to the piano!), but somehow, I managed to sit down and sightread that right hand with only a couple of hiccups! Last week, he was complaining about pain in the area that connects the hips to the legs. I told him it was probably his Sciatic nerve… he looked it up, and I was right. Yeah, learned that one from an episode of “Private Practice” MONTHS ago!

All that to say, keep an open mind… you never know what information will seep in and be used one day in the future! I feel very Medici in these moments 🙂

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