Something peculiar happened today; I forgot to put clean socks in my gym bag again. While that may not seem odd in and of itself, what I found peculiar was rather my reaction upon discovering this.
As I unpacked my gym bag and set about changing, half-distracted, I found myself wondering how I could make sure I wouldn’t forget the socks the third day running. Almost unconsciously I found myself thinking about how I’d have to wear my shoes home without socks, and then I was picturing my feet as I removed my shoes at the door. Without realizing what I was doing I found myself thinking (more or less wordlessly of course) “when I see my bare feet, I’ll remember to go put clean socks in my gym bag right away.” Yesterday, when I got home, as I took off my shoes, I remembered having forgotten the socks, but it didn’t occur to me to put a clean pair in the bag right away, and I forgot again this morning.
No sooner had that thought formed than I had the sensation of having programmed a reminder in my brain, like a posthypnotic suggestion I made to myself without having consciously thought about it.
The moment I became aware of what I was thinking I wondered if it might be a rare glimpse into understanding how we naturally remember things. Here I’m not talking about memories that come unbidden; I mean things that we want to remember at a future point in time. I wonder if this experience was a clue, or was it just an acquired habit that comes from using technology? I don’t recall having felt this sensation before.
In any case, I’ll never know if it actually worked because I wrote most of this post on the metro on the way home. By the time I arrived and could take off my shoes, I could hardly think of anything other than putting a pair of clean socks in my gym bag.