Yesterday I met a girl that I was sure I had seen before, and she stared at me the same way. She was the first to actually ask, since, you know, coming from me it would just be a cheap come-on line :) So we spent some time trying to figure it out. We were from the same city, and we had two people in common, and could think of a few incidental occasions where we could have met, but none of them seemed to be where we knew each other from.
But we couldn’t figure it out. I stopped naming activities we could have known each other from after she laughed at my suggestion that we could have met in dancing class in the last year of high school, because she made me feel like a geek for having taken those classes :)
And after an hour I remembered. So I asked her if I had her last name correct to check, and then said that I knew her from the inter-scholary student union we had started up in that year with about twenty people from different schools. Heh, so she had been just as much a geek as me. Especially given that one of the projects we had that year was to have a dance as a fundraiser for some good cause, and we were taking classes so we wouldn’t look stupid at our own dance…
But that’s not the point of the story. The point is, as soon as I realized who she was, I knew her last name and her street address in one flash. This was information stored in my brain and not used for over ten years, but it was just as readily available as it was back then. It seems to be stored as factual information – I could have remembered it in my head as being typed on a piece of paper, or someone saying it to me, or whatever. But that’s not how it happened – I just “remembered” it in its processed stored form.
There are things which I of course remember based on smell, sound or vision, but this wasn’t one of them. Makes me wonder again and again how the brain actually works, but I’m pretty positive we won’t know enough about it in my lifetime.
Now, if someone wants to help me on my quest of figuring out what deja-vu’s are about, preferably with decent links to studies, that’d help me a lot as well :)