Sometimes, I walk by a car, and the license plate letters trigger a totally unrelated acronym in my mind. “MB-S,” one read this morning. What it stands for is the county of Miesbach, and the S is random. What my brain chose to remind me of, however, is “mortgage-backed securities,” a term thrown around a lot in discussions of the 2008 financial crisis — often abbreviated as “MBS.”
I’m always amazed at how far back some things lie that my brain can still recall, even if I can’t do it at will. Naturally, the older I get, the more joy I find in my mental attic’s random ejections. Closer and closer, they lead me to a comforting belief: Nothing is ever lost — even if you can’t remember it.
If that were to be true, another cool fact would follow: Your hard drive isn’t full. In fact, it’ll never be full. Your brain has infinite space. Your consciousness hasn’t, and your attention spotlight can only deal with a few things at any one time. But down in the depths? There’s always a little more room.
Does your head feel full? Mine does all the time. Having so little attention when there’s so much we could be tending to is an affliction we all share. But just because we don’t consciously do it does not mean those unremembered things go unattended, and every now and then, in a moment of quiet or inspiration, your mind will magically remind you: Your hard drive isn’t full, and nothing you store on it will ever go to waste.