Gabbing with Grace: what is “memory”?

Grace Sherban, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

I don’t think it would be bold to say that at some point, everyone has had storage problems with their phone. While it could be assumed that over 64 gigabytes of storage would be more than enough, I am constantly having to delete apps off my phone to preserve over 12,000 photos on my phone. There have been times when text messages from my friends will not come through because there is not enough memory on my phone. 

Within the past few weeks, this problem has come up in multiple conversations and the solution I was given was to get Google Photos. Apparently, this app allows you to backup all of your photos to free up storage on your phone. 12 hours later, 1,240 pictures have yet to be downloaded because I exceeded the amount of free storage allowed.

The poster for “Blade Runner.” (Harold Dorwin, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution) 

This storage crisis on my phone made me think about how much I rely on my phone to remember things for me. From alerts to finish homework to reminders to drink more water, my phone is telling me to do the things that my brain doesn’t feel like doing.

The majority of the memory on my phone is devoted to saving pictures. The way I think of it, I can’t delete those pictures because then they will be deleted from my actual memory. I know that this is weird but how many times have you looked at a photo and proceed to remember that time clearly? 

It’s like the famous soliloquy from “Blade Runner” that states, “All those memories will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.” To me, it feels like deleting my memory of an event if I decide to do what is necessary to free up space on my phone. Not to mention, how does one decide what memories and pictures are worth saving? 

I have been told that I have a pretty good memory. I always try to remember the little details in my friend’s life like their middle names or their Saxbys order. I believe that showing someone that you care about them is by making an effort to listen deeply and remember these details. There is nothing worse than having to repeat yourself multiple times in one day because the people you are with don’t care enough to truly listen to what you are saying. 

With the storage of my brain continuing to get filled up with pointless movie facts, song lyrics, school work, relationship information and memories of actual experiences, I feel like that moniker of having a good memory will fade. Just like how those printed pictures will fade as time goes by. 

There are so many great experiences and moments in my life that I never want to forget and having them so close to me at all times on my phone makes it feel like less time has passed. While they may be deleted from my phone, they will still exist somewhere in the recesses of iCloud storage after all. 

The great modern philosopher Taylor Swift once said, “Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you.” I get chills every time I listen to her sing that lyric. It’s so true. The moments that are going to be remembered are the ones that you don’t necessarily need to take a picture of in the moment. If that experience is meaningful enough to be remembered, you don’t need to have a picture taking up the limited storage on your phone. In the end, the memory is more precious than any photo.