Memory (and my lack of it)

A few weeks ago I went out for a drink with an old friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in several years and we talked a little about how weird it was that we couldn’t remember what it was like being around people that we used to spend a lot of time with. I run into people I used to know and it’s like I’m meeting them for the first time; I have no relationship memory. I remember the people, but none of the glue that used to stick us together. Know what I mean?

On weekends, when I sleep in, I like to spend an hour or two waking up. It makes it easier for me when I take the return to consciousness gradually, at a slow pace. I often end up lying in bed trying to remember things. People, mostly. And I’m always surprised to find that I have no trouble remembering events and general hazy feelings, but I can never remember what people meant to me. It’s like I’m looking at someone else’s life from an outside vantage point.

I’ve started to realize that this is apparent in the present, too. I’m generally good-natured and happy, and I enjoy time with my friends and family, but none of it sticks, emotionally. It’s like I’m a slippery surface and feelings just slide off, and I forget them.

A few years ago I tried to make a long distance relationship work with someone who I cared for a great deal, and I literally kept forgetting she was there. I would visit her occasionally, but every visit was like a brand new starting place, as if I hadn’t met her before, and it was always incredibly awkward. I tried to explain it to her, but I don’t think I really understood what was happening at the time. Eventually, we broke up, and I was so cold and heartless and distant—literally —that I’m amazed I didn’t realize the extent of it until now. And of course, now I feel terrible about it.

I’m starting to see why LiveJournal is so popular. It’s like a distributed memory cache. Not only does it allow you to preserve your original thoughts and feelings as they occur, it also makes them public, so they get propagated among a community of people you know. Things become harder to forget. Interesting.

Not that LiveJournal is for me. It isn’t. Sharing all my thoughts publicly would kill me (or get me killed). But I think I may start recording my life privately. Maybe it’ll come in handy for Future Me.