When your computer shows signs of dementia…

Jan 2, 2021 | 0 comments

February 3, 2019 – From Cyndy Hayward

Yesterday, my much younger (and very much sharper) neighbor wrote to me  after reading my blog in which I had stated that we’d last had snow in Oysterville in 2017 or maybe 2014: I am attaching a picture taken February 3, 2019, from Merchant St. looking toward your property.  There was glorious, deep snow on the 3th and the 4th of that year.  I’m a little surprised that you don’t remember, since it was in your birthday month.

The fact that I didn’t remember — birthday month notwithstanding! — didn’t seem a bit surprising, actually.  My forgetter is much better these days than ever before.  But what did bother me (a lot!) was that I had done a search on my blogs — all 3,919 of them! — for the word “snow” and the most recent ones to show up were in the two aforementioned years.  No blogs that mentioned snow later than 2017.   But here was a gorgeous photograph from Cyndy to say otherwise.

February 4, 2019 – Photo by Sydney Stevens

After receiving her enail, I repeated my search with the same result — nada!  But snow is unusual in Oysterville; surely I would have written about it.  So I then looked for the precise dates she had mentioned and… up popped a blog titled “Of White Snow and Sooty Sweeps” complete with my own snow pictures taken in 2019!  I was amazed and annoyed at the same time.  There was the word “snow” as big as life right in the blog’s title and my computer’s search function had totally ignored it.  It’s one thing for me to forget, but an entirely different matter for my trusty computer to do so.  I DEPEND upon its memory and its cleverness as my own abilities along those lines diminish.

I flashed back to the late eighties (I think) when Sue Anderson, Janet Morrison, and I travelled back and forth to Longview every week to take a computer class.  We were trying to learn something about MS-DOS (I think); it was long before Windows and Word were available (maybe).  About the only thing I remember from those lessons is “garbage in, garbage out.”  Not helpful right now.  Whether of not I want to classify my February 4, 2019 blog as “garbage,” it went in but wouldn’t show itself on demand.  A lot like my own, personal memory of when we last had snow in Oysterville.

Disconcerting, to say the least.  Maybe what they say about the human brain also applies to computers — after so many years, there is just too much information to sort through and so some of it is “forgotten.”  Damn!  So much for the robotic hope for the future.  Fuggedaboudit!

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