Spatial Orientation and Visual Memory
I had an interesting conversation with my husband this morning. It went something like this:
"Did you use the green credit card or the blue one at the grocery store yesterday?"
"Um.... I used the one in front. I think that's... umm... blue. No wait, green No, no, it's blue."
Now to understand this conversation you have to know how I have my purse organized: I have a planner case with about ten card holder sleeves inside. My driver's license and frequently used credit cards are in the first sleeves. The next ones are groups in bunches -- my library card goes with my barnes and noble card, several grocery cards go together, as do several pharmacy cards. My coffee cards fill in the back, and so on.
The credit card for gas, groceries and pharmacies is in the first sleeve, center slot; the card for dining out and miscellaneous purchases is in the second sleeve, right slot.
It struck me as interesting (and typical) that my husband and I use very different systems to remember which card is for which purpose. Mine requires always putting the card back in its spot. His depends on associating a color with a purpose. Even more interesting -- my desk is usually a mess, but I can lay hands on what I want, because I remember in which stack I placed the desired paper, on which corner of the desk and so on. On several occassions someone has very, very nicely attempted to straighten out my desk, much to my dismay, cause I can't find anything once it's been moved. My husband wonders how I can find anything, period. *grin*
I think it relates to those infuriating iq tests where you have to rotate a block in space, mentally, or where you are supposed to identify the next in a baffling series of shapes or lines and dots. I can never figure them out logically, yet I score consistently in the top 2-5% on them. Like I've got some visual-spatial gestalt ability going on.
Anyway, the conversation made me think about how that would be an interesting cultural clash for an alien species/human species story (or for a story with different human characteristics.) Something more subtle than some of the "idiosyncracies" a lot of writers of contemporary fic come up with. So much of contemporary fiction seems to have characters that are just so bizarre that I can't relate to them, but something subtle like the difference in the way you order your life, that seems like an interesting way to add depth to a set of characters without having to make them have bizarre hobbies or wacko personality traits.