I'm a numbers guy. I can't remember names, but numbers seem to stick for some reason. But skills and memory are definitely use-it-or-lose-it sorts of things. I used to be pretty good at doing math in my head, but I'm getting slower these days. I used to have everyone's phone number in my head too. Now the only number I can remember for sure is the phone number of the house I grew up in.
With the advent of the cell phone, I rarely dial anyone's number anymore. All I need to do is scroll to their name and hit a button. I've forgotten the numbers of old friends through lack of use, and numbers of people I've met in the past five years I have never had to remember. Once it is punched into the phone, it is "set it and forget it".
Is this a problem? Well, it can be. A friend recently locked her keys (and phone) in her car. She was able to borrow a friend's phone to call around for help. If that happened to me, I would be completely stumped. I'd borrow the phone and then stare blankly at it. Without my phone to get a number, I would have no one to call.
This came across my mind when I was on a very painful run a few months ago. It hurt to walk, and I was seriously contemplating calling for a ride. But of course, even if I could find a phone, who would I call? Even if I called information, most of my friend's numbers would not be listed since they have ditched their land lines. I was stuck walking back.
So I've gone back to paper and ink. I've printed up a phone list to stuff in my wallet to make up for my failing memory. It is printed in 8 point font so I could fit in more numbers. It should work, at least until my eyes start to fail me.