I’m Glad / Too Bad I Remember That
I’ve always been pretty good in remembering faces and names. Either one or both. I’m also good in retrieving long forgotten moments and facts, sometimes to the dismay of my friends because it involves them. Far from nostalgic, quite the opposite of it, actually. They rather not remember what they wished it never happened, you see. But they have me. I’m like their black box of fortunate and unfortunate events. That’s the baggage of our friendship.
The puzzling aspect is, I can’t explain the criteria chosen, the selection process that qualifies a memory to be spared to oblivious. Do my neurons say “hey, that’s a keeper, let’s file it under “Weird Facts During Camping Trips”. I don’t know. Once I pointed out to one of my best friends that I remembered her doing squats in the hotel room where we stayed overnight before arriving to our destination. Or that one of my brother’s former girlfriends went to MacDonald’s and arrived at our apartment with the meals on the tray, meaning she walked four blocks that way. I guess she didn’t say “to go”, she just went. Hit or miss, it’s always bizarre.
Why do I remember stories that are not even mine? Stories that I was told or read about it? Tell me about making connections! My cousin told me once that she was inside a bathroom of a club beating the crap out of the guy she caught cheating on her when an alarmed girl rushed in saying “Stop that now! I’m a journalist (!), I will report this violence against women!”, which prompted the guy to reply in desperation: “But she is the one hitting me, don’t you see?”. My cousin left with her silver bracelets dented but her dignity intact… and I was left with a story to remember.
Maybe I’m a mind hoarder. A therapist could explain that but since I don’t have one, I’ll leave it alone.
The fact is, my memory lane is wide, well-lit and with a heavy traffic. It is a blessing AND a curse but I still like to think this is a good thing since I spend a considerable amount of time inside my head.
That’s why I get annoyed by the person that unapologetically smiles and says, without a drop of shame, “I’m sorry, I’m bad with names”. Please. Don’t apologize, don’t give excuses. Your interlocutor doesn’t care that you are bad with names or that you are more a “visual” person. The problem is yours. It’s ok to forget names, actually. What it’s bad is to justify it. Sometimes I brag, on purpose, that I’m very good with names just to see people’s reaction. Nobody expects to hear that.
It could be that I remember so much because I appreciate a good story. All interesting stories are powerful, regardless of “ownership”. At least for me. They stick. The absurdity of some true stories and situations encourages me to write whatever I want . This is my take on that, for better or worse.
If I tell you that I don’t have fun most of the time with what I remember, though, I’d be lying. I’m aware that the mind can be deceptive and selective, that the brain plays tricks on us but I enjoy my personal narratives and memories. It’s a perk. You also have your own perks for being yourself. I just hope that, like me, you make the best out of it. Or at least, try.