Decades ago I knew all of my friends’ phone numbers by heart. I knew almost everybody’s address that I sent mail to on a regular basis. I knew my multiplication tables.
Over the years, most addresses have faded since I have them written in my day planner as well as on a spreadsheet. I recognize them when I write them out on envelopes, but that’s about it. If a pixie got into my planner and re-arranged the house numbers, I probably wouldn’t know.
My cell phone has helped to alleviate the trouble of remembering my friends’ phone numbers well. As people have added cell phones to their lives and dropped land lines, I have added their new numbers to my phone’s contact list but I have never memorized any of them. With the exception of my BFF and YA, I don’t think I know anybody’s number by heart any more.
But the cruelest blow happened this morning. I was working on a program and deciding on how many beach towels we needed to order. Without much thought at all, I entered 64 into the calculator on my desk and then hit “divide” by 2. To get 32. As soon as I did it, I realized what I had done. I used a machine to divide 64 by 2. This is horrifying to me. Not that I’m worried about my ability to figure this out on my own, but that I would automatically go to a machine if I needed to do arithmetic. Ouch.
My new practice starting tomorrow is to not turn on the calculator until I actually need it.
What technology has crept up on you?