Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Forgetting the Details

On rare occasions, I get so engrossed in good articles from Grantland and the like during my hour-long bus ride to or from work that I don't want the ride to end.

I felt this a few days ago. But I realize that if you asked me now what any of the articles were about, I'd have no clue. Part of me wants to think that I've somehow internalized the information (like how people say "I think I read that somewhere"). But let's assume I didn't; I've heard (somewhere) that we remember 10% of what we read. Did that defeat the purpose of reading? My answer is no. It gave me satisfaction in the moment, and I remember that satisfaction later. I think the concept could apply to any other fleeting activity I could have been doing with my phone during that bus ride, or a conversation I could have been having.

I have a pretty solid email correspondence with one of my buddies back in D.C. How many of our conversations or emails do I remember in any detail? It's almost certainly less than half. But just remembering the highlights and knowing "I've had lots of great conversations and emails with this friend" is enough for me.