I Think I Forgot To Remember
PEOPLE COME AND PEOPLE GO. Over the course of a lifetime how many people drift through our consciousness to be seen, meet, stay for a moment, and then disappear back into the fog.
I was thinking about that last night. I saw someone on TV who had the same name as a person I knew briefly some forty years ago. It was not the same person. It could have been a relative I suppose, but just that momentary memory bump had me thinking about both of the people who shared that name.
Whatever became of that person from forty years ago?
Where are they now?
Are they still alive?
Have they ever thought about me?
How many people do we meet over the years? Unless you are a hermit it must be in the thousands. How many of those thousands do we remember well enough to have just seeing another person with the same name start the memories flooding back?
There are crowds of people wedged in the crevices of our memory – People who we loved, People we hated, co-workers, neighbors, classmates, and faceless people who came and went, but had an impact, large or small on the course of our lives.
I know that I once had a teacher, decades ago, who told me that I had the natural ability to write an effective sentence. I can’t tell you that teacher’s name or what they looked like, but they altered the direction of my life. That teacher came and then went. I have no recollection of him that could tell me exactly when he said those words to me. He was just another non sequitur in my life.
Our lives are a series of non sequiturs. Days, sometimes mere moments affect our lives and then disappear. Nothing beforehand. Nothing after in the wake of that special moment. A memory of that may not reappear for years, if ever. It becomes just one more item in the card file of our life.
It happens that I see someone I do not know, but they have a name or a mannerism that triggers a memory of someone else and there I go spending part of my day trying to fill in the details that may or may not exist. I can waste a lot of time doing that. An hour or two, a few minutes, and then I will move on to something equally pointless.
There have been times when my memory switch has been flipped to the “On” position and things from
long ago come to the head of the class and I feel the need to do a little detective sleuthing. Modern technology and things like Facebook can really help if you are trying to find someone from the past. It might take awhile, but you never know. I have dug up a few old classmates and friends from so long ago that our classroom was a cave. It has opened the door to the making of new memories connected to the old ones.
I have accepted the fact that my life is a series of non sequiturs. It lets me stay calm when I can’t make my memories connect into a neat flow. Life is a very choppy sea.