Friday, May 11, 2007

i remember... or do i?

I remember sometime somewhere in my past, I came across a little point to ponder blurb that went something like:
    A: "Oh, what's your address?"
    B: "[blah blah blah]"
    A: "Hang on a second, let me write it down so I won't forget"
    B: "Don't you mean you want to write it down so that you can forget?"
Wrap your mind around that for a moment.

I can certainly relate to this in terms of phone numbers: when I was much younger, and all we had was landlines, I had almost every one of my friends' phone numbers committed to memory. But now? Apart from Kosh's mobile, my handphone, and our landline, I do not know anyone else's numbers, not even my parents'. Why bother, when my handphone memory remembers them all for me? So when I'm inputting a new number, I don't even bother to try to remember a thing: I know it's in there somewhere, that's good enough for me; I'll fill the space in my brain with other stuff. Like tv quotes or something, LoL!

And how about in terms of the mundane minutiae I've set forth on these pages over the years? Why on earth would I record in rather mindnumbing detail how a particular day or trip went? So that I could have the details on hand if ever I wanted, without having to actually remember anything about it, and could be reminded of said details just by reading the post in question. ... and yet, that's not quite true... perhaps because the "burden" of remembering details has been removed, I may not remember everything I'd written down, but what I do remember is not the words I'd written but rather a mental snapshot or two of the situation in question. And why one scene/snapshot and not another, well, I suppose my mind works in mysterious ways? It's interesting to note what actually sticks in my head too: not so much with the colors, clothes, but everything to do with emotions and how I felt.

But on a slightly more serious note: I have so many tales from my past that run around in my head: some clamoring to be told, some content to stew and fester. But what happens when i do write them down / type them out? Why should I even write them down anyway? Every time a tale runs through my head, the focus is slightly different, the emotion evoked varies, the moral of the story changes, all depending on what triggered that particular iteration of the tale in the first place. So by committing the tale to paper (or screen, whatever) am I choosing to remember the one interpretation at the expense of all the others?

Yet when I record such snapshots of my past (much to the horror of some family members and friends!), I make it a point to explore and capture most of the variations and permutations of the situation, and to acknowledge their impact on me: once all of this has been captured in a relatively coherent cathartic paragraph or ten, I can then finally put some distance between it and me.

It's then not a matter of forgetting, but of acceptance and learning.

1 comment:

  1. Question: What is your earliest childhood memory? At what age? It seems more women have better memories of their childhood/ have recollection of earlier days than men. Mine is of age 2 when I stayed in the hospital after an ear surgery.

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