Friday, February 10, 2006


A few years ago my brother told me he had a perfect memory. Luckily I was talking to him on the phone so I could cover up my laughter with an "aw crap! I just spilled my water!" or something similar. And he truly believes it. There can be four of us talking about a particular incident that happened when we were in school and he'll tell his version and it won't be anything at all like the versions of the other three (whose versions are all fairly similar to each others). And this happens consistently...his recollections don't jibe with anyone else's, yet he is sure his memory is "perfect."

What got me thinking about this right now is that last night we were talking and he said that he'd "always wanted to make a single unit rural mailbox and post out of rubber, like what they make horse buckets out of, so that when the fuckwits (sorry that's my word, but it's what they are ) try to smash it or run over it, it will just boing back up." Now when I heard that my little brain went "now wait a fucking minute, didn't I have that very idea several years back?"

I mean my brother hasn't lived in an area with rural mailboxes in 30 years, whereas I have only lived in a place that didn't have them for the past four and a half months. Furthermore, when he did live in a place with the rural mailboxes, no one ran over or smashed ours. However, after he was long gone and we moved to a new place we lost mailbox after mailbox -- they were stolen, smashed, or completely run down, sometimes several of them ruined or stolen in the space of a week. It was irritating as all hell because it was so senseless and petty...and because I'd have to replace the damned things. So who do you think is more likely to ponder making a fairly indestructible rural mailbox? Someone who hasn't had one in 30 years, or someone who's had to buy and put up dozens of the damned things?

I've had that type of thing happen several times...I'll tell someone something that happened to me or that I thought of and then weeks, months, or years later he/she will tell me the same story, but he/she will take the place of me. Now I don't think it's intentional, but it makes me wonder about what people actually do remember, and are our memories as true as we think they are? Sometimes when I hear some of the stories, especially now (since I've noticed this switching), I actually wonder if maybe I'm the one misremembering. I sometimes find myself thinking about or ever talking about something I remember...and then I think, wait a minute, did that really happen? There have been times I didn't honestly know, and other times where I realised that what I had been thinking was a memory was simply a particularly vivid dream. That always makes me feel kind of odd.

I do think most people remember the "big" stuff, but I do wonder about so many other, more minor memories (like thinking up the mailbox thing). It's not so much "Oh I can't remember that" or forgetting a name or a small detail, because I'm pretty sure the people who changed my stories, memories, etc., into theirs actually think they are remembering from their own lives. And how many of my memories are actually all mine too?

How many memories really are:

my delicate elusive memories
my half untrue
half dreampt up memories
my painted on
rose colour memories



Post a Comment

<< Home