Where Am I?
So what do you do when you suddenly find yourself lost? That’s what happened to me once. I heard from a friend of a friend about this magnificent party, and he’d heard from another friend some convoluted directions to get there. Both of us, and the friend, had only been living in the area for a few weeks, so it was pretty obvious what was going to happen. They were going to go straight after work, which was about 6 PM, while I had to work until a couple hours later.
I remembered the directions as best as I could, and decided I’d figure out how to get there on my own. It didn’t take long before I had no idea where I was, no idea where I came from, and no idea how to get back home.
I had a really interesting experience a couple of weeks ago. I had just moved to a new city, and a new apartment. I mean new for me, as well as a new building. Everything was new and modern and really cool. I had spent a few hours driving to this new town from my old town, which involved driving over this huge bridge (several miles long) since my previous apartment was on this big island. A really big island.
So there I was, about to drift off to sleep, when an idea hit me. I had spend all day packing moving, unpacking and setting things up in my new place, I looked around at my new familiar surroundings, and I predicted I would wake up in the morning and experience a few moments of absolute disorientation. When you look around and for brief moment, you don’t know where you are, how you got there, or the last few things that happened before you found yourself in your particular situation.
That has only happened to me a couple times, all after waking up in a strange place. Probably the most pronounced event was a night of heavy, um, entertainment after a Who concert. I woke up in my friends house, and for about five or ten seconds (which is a long time to have no clue where you are or how you got there) of complete discombobulation.
But as I lay in my apartment a couple of weeks ago, I looked around at my new furnishings, and actually predicted I would wake up in the morning and draw a complete blank for the first few moments.
And when I woke up, just as I thought, I drew a complete blank. But here’s the cool part: Before I remembered where I was and how I got there (moving and driving over the bridge) I remembered predicting that I wouldn’t remember, only then did I remember everything else.
It was like back in the old days of when they had to bootstrap the first computers. They had these giant machines that ran off of punch cards, and they had no memory at all. They didnâ€™t have enough memory to turn on all their systems.
So the guy who was using the computer had to feed it a punch card that was only to tell the computer how to turn itself on and get started, and how to read the other punch cards. Once that “memory” was loaded into the computer, then you could stick other, more complicated, punch cards into the machine so it could finally be able to do what you wanted it to.
We take all that for granted, as all of our computers today are pre programmed with complex operating systems and software that makes virtually every machine plug and play. There’s a reason Bill Gates is one of the richest dudes on the planet.
That was a truly odd sensation, waking up in a strange looking around in complete and utter cluelessness, and then remembering that I wasn’t going to remember anything, and then starting to remember everything else.
And when I finally figured out enough to back track to someplace familiar, I was able to use that familiarity to backtrack to a road that I actually knew. And from there finding my way was home was easy. I had given up on going to the party (which I later heard wasn’t all that exciting, anyway) long ago.
No matter how far off track you get, your brain will always find ways to get back to what is familiar. That seems to be an underlying prime directive of our brains. Familiarity.
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