My husband used to call me "Rainman" because I could remember numbers; phone numbers, birthdays, addresses, sequences of numbers. I could look at a phone number once and remember it for years afterwards. I didn't need to remember it and I didn't make any conscious effort to remember; it just stayed in my head and I could access it easily. I describe this talent as my "super power". It's pretty handy knowing people's phone numbers because I don't have to look them up. I used to work in the wholesale diamond business. Each client was assigned a 4 digit number. I knew hundreds of client numbers and my co-workers would ask me rather than spend time looking it up on the computer. I didn't mind.
When I was younger, I just assumed everyone could remember numbers. Clearly, that is not the case. I could never understand when friends would tell me that they couldn't find my phone number. These are people who had called me hundreds of times over the years and still didn't remember my number. I have discovered that they are more common than people like me. It is so amazing the way each individual brain works. Take my husband, Martin. He can barely remember his own cell phone number and I think he still doesn't know our landline number, which in his defense, we use infrequently. But, he can remember entire passages of Shakespeare plays, lyrics to dozens of songs and I think he can recite "The Wasteland" by T.S. Eliot in its entirety.
I am just the opposite. I can't remember lyrics to songs to save my life. But I can remember anybody's birthdate for the rest of my life. Weird! Sadly, I've noticed my super powers are diminishing. I put it down to age and stress; I am pushing 60 and I have a child with special needs who is almost 12 years old. He has severe behavior disorder and has subjected me to an incredible amount of stress during the past decade. It is definitely true that stress dulls your mental faculties. It's a shame. I really enjoyed being super human.