Friday, March 20, 2009

Memory leakage on the train

Every night this week, until last night, I stayed late at my desk, completing my time sheets for the day before going home.

I hate time sheets. I know I've mentioned this. But I can't emphasize this fact strongly enough.

And yet... some entries on time sheets can be turned into bills. Bills sometimes turn into actual dollars received. Most every entry is necessary at least as a defensive measure, if only against later charges of malpractice. So time sheets are evil, but they are a necessary evil. And it was a good feeling to get on the train without having to face the prospect of reconstructing today tomorrow... or some time next week.

Last night, though, my streak was broken. I had a late phone call from a prospective client. A late, long telephone call. Very long. This Internet is a decidedly mixed blessing, let me tell you. My caller last evening had found me on the Internet. I don't know if she has a case -- at least, I don't know if she has a legal case. But she had a tale to tell. Sometimes the best help you can give someone is to listen respectfully. She promised to send me all her documents that show she has a case. She may or may not really have documents. She may or may not follow up. If she doesn't... well, I don't think I'll mind so much.

At the end of that call I did not have the heart to tackle the day's time sheets. My eyes were bleary, my head hurt, and my stomach was rumbling. I threw a yellow pad in my briefcase, though, when I headed for the subway.

I could hear a train rumbling toward the station as I went down the stairs. The headlights of the train were visible on the wall as the train rounded the last curve before entering the station. I quickened my pace, making it all the way to the fifth car of the eight car train before the 'door closing' gong sounded. Better still, I found a seat... and all to myself, too.

I opened the briefcase and took out the yellow pad. I started scratching out my time sheets by hand. I could feel the memories of the day flowing out of me as the train rumbled through the tunnels. Happily, I guess, some of them were running down my arm, into my hand, and getting preserved on the yellow pad. When I finally get around to typing these up, a lot of what's written there will seem new to me... as if someone else had written the entries.

I read somewhere recently that something like 80% of electrical power is lost in transit from the power station to the plug in my wall.

That seems like an extraordinarily high number, and I certainly do not vouch for it. I tried to find out what the real number might be; I found a Wikipedia article on electric power transmission. Sadly, I couldn't understand much of it. I am persuaded, however, that some electric power, at least, is lost in transit.

So, too, I think with memory.

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