Mentally acute, or acutely mental?

By June 1, 2007June 2nd, 20074 Comments

Bored by my mundane travel to work, I’ve taken to doing things to pass the time. One thing that’s taken hold on my recent mornings in traffic jams is to memorise number plates. Sad, I know. But it turns out that I can take one look at a numberplate, look away, recall the image of the plate and read it off. I can do the same for phone numbers on shop windows. I can see something once and I know the home and mobile numbers of everyone in my company – that’s about so that whenever people need to dial numbers or want to find out who’s calling, they ask me. I know Pi to 16 decimal places.

So, the question I have is – is this normal? Am I just doing what everyone else can do? Or is this something quite clever? What constitutes a photographic memory? Are Mensa waiting for someone as clearly intelligent as me?! Am I over-egging the pudding, bigging myself up when I’m actually mediocre?

Tell me the score…


  • ginny says:

    Your Aunt Cookie has the same ability – photographic memory it’s called – or so she says! I have several number plates I meet during my journeys back and forth to Farnham. There is a lovely one of the new type, PU51 CAT – must be worth a fortune (A325). There are very few of this new ilk that are worth reading.
    I, like you, find my eyes drawn to them, but not because of the fancy egotistical purchases, but just because I like making words – like a crossword really.
    What is this out-of-tune music I found emanating from my speakers?! Immediately muted – there is no tune or melody – it is flat! It’s like it has been recorded in an anechoic chamber without talent.
    Your Apple Tree has apples.

  • tyger says:

    It’s all a bit Rainman. But then again I can remember the exact layout of people’s homes. People I haven’t seen for a decade. I know where old girlfriend’s mums would have their lamps and exactly the colour of their walls.

  • I bought a Psion 3a ‘organiser’ years ago to keep phone numbers and dates in, but found that the very act of entering them in made me remember them anyway and I never needed to refer to it.
    I don’t think it’s a huge talent – unless you can remember the number plate you just glanced at forever, rather than for a couple of minutes. Then you might be onto something!
    At a tangent, I found the Psion had a useful homing feature: if I left it on my desk and went to work in another room, before long a colleague would bring it to me, shouting “shut that f****er up”!

  • Jac says:

    I think remembering number plates from one glance is definitely a talent. But not one to be proud of. A better one would be to memorise fantastic-looking women at one glance, a talent that could certainly pay dividends at lonely moments.

Leave a Reply