knowing a number by heart

I can tell you the phone numbers of four childhood friends from the 1980s. And the phone numbers of both of my grandmothers who’ve long ago passed away. But important phone numbers in my life now? Uh, let me think on that one.

Okay. I think I know two. Or maybe three. And that’s including my parents’ phone number which has been the same since before I was born.

Our list of contacts is so easily accessed with the swipe of an iPhone screen, the tap of a name. Convenient, yes, but what if I’m in an emergency and I’ve lost my phone?

I got this idea to give a list of emergency numbers to the three people whose phone numbers I have memorized. So, say, I’m locked out of my New York apartment without a phone, I can call my parents in Kentucky from a pay phone or anywhere and say, “What’s my landlord’s number?” Or I could call my sister and ask for my doctor’s unlisted cell number, for example.

We take for granted that information is always at our fingertips. It’s good to take precautions, though, for when it’s not. Do you have any tips to share?