“Sue, where’s my car?” It was a bright autumn day, and I came strolling into the kitchen after a lazy sunday snooze. My alarm had buzzed at 10:30 a.m., and I needed to be on the road by 11 to get to my soccer game in New Hampshire. To my disbelief and horror, my sister had taken it. She had come into my room at 8 a.m., asked me very nicely if she could borrow my car to go to yoga and then to brunch with her friends. In my desire to continue sleeping undisturbed, I had agreed to each of her requests. And not merely in grunts… I told her where my keys were. Processing happened.
This type of “sleepy amnesia” was not a isolated incident. I can think of many instances in which people have tried to wake me up for something, but during the discussion I apparently construct a compelling argument for why I should still be sleeping. I later have no recollection of the interaction, and usually get mad at them for not waking me.
These anecdotes came to mind as we discussed memory this week in class, especially in relation to specific individuals that suffer severe forms of memory loss. It made me think of all the situations in which my memory is not what I might hope. Everyone’s brain has some sort of filtering mechanism by which information our memory system deems as not important is disregarded in favor of pertinent or attended to information. But when my sister asked for my car, my importance mechanism failed me. What is grogginess? And what happens during sleep that makes me so… stupid?