I finally figured out how to add birthdays to the Google calendar on my iPhone. (You have to add it as ‘extra’ info to individuals in your contacts list, FYI.) Whenever I’m outside with the kids, I need a mind numbing activity to make my otherwise malaise afternoons feel more productive, you know? So I went through my entire contacts list and added as many birthdays as I could remember. Don’t quote me on this as a hard and fast fact, but I’d like to report that of all my friendships, pre-marriage and definitely pre-babies, I could remember nearly every single birthday. I could probably recall about half of those who were added to my already-full-of-useless-information, post-baby brain. It dawned on me, about three-quarters of the way through this process, that if I can actually remember birthdates, why add them to my calendar? I don’t know. It felt productive.
For this reason (among so many others), I hate Facebook. By publishing and announcing in advance that one of my friends has an upcoming birthday, my “Look, I remembered your birthday,” has completely lost its value. One of the best things about birthday wishes is the surprise of who actually remembers and takes the time to announce it. And the thing is, it isn’t that I expect people to remember my birthday just because I can remember theirs. I actually just love being being that one person who remembers everyone’s birthdays.
I used to be the same way with phone numbers. I owned my first cell phone at the age of 22, and even then, it was on short-term no-contract* basis. I never even took the time to create or update contacts because I could remember everyone’s phone number faster than I could scroll through the list.
Today, though I have shared it, written it on a form, or typed it on a computer at least fifty times, every time I have to give John’s business phone number, I have to look it up. I know my father’s social security number, still, by heart, but I don’t even know what John’s ends with. Sounds crazy, but these are the kinds of numbers stay-at-home moms have to recall at important events like Pre-School registration and annual physicals. Truth be told, though she was born on her due date (the one date I had engrained in my mind for exactly 40 weeks), I still have to think about it when someone asks me Eliott’s birthday. February 8, 2007. (It’s so much easier to just write 2/7/2007 that I my mind has often mistaken this as the day she was born.
I haven’t completely lost my knack for numbers, however. I’ve simply replaced my memory for dates and phone numbers with a memory for prices. I’ve also become scarily adept at mental math, especially where percentages are concerned. I seriously need to be a contestant on The Price is Right.
*A friend from college was moving to an area that didn’t have Cingular coverage and still had four months left on his plan. This was obviously before the times of free cancellation if you move out of our coverage zone (or maybe we were all just too naive at the time to demand this). I kept the phone for about 9 months, then decided it wasn’t worth the $40 a month while I was working at Eckerd with no time nor reception for cell-phones. I didn’t sign my first real cell phone contract until I was 25, when I had to borrow the phone of a stranger after totaling a rental mini-van on the highway on my way to work. The rental was the result of a different not-my-fault fender bender with the one car I shared with John. 1st year of marriage: 1 car, 1 phone, no TV, no microwave, no kitchen table. And you call this America!?