My walk today was filled with triggers and moments and odd pieces of nostalgia. Oh look, that’s the motorcycle my first boyfriend road, look how much that girl looks like my grandmother, I can’t believe how the sun is filtering through the trees just like the day…
You get it. As we get older we don’t just collect memories, we collect triggers. Things. Bits and pieces that are inexorably tied to a person place or thing.
And me? I’m worse than most.
It’s because of this memory. This amazing memory of mine that categorizes the first place, time and condition that I ever met anybody, that keeps every impression at the forefront of my consciousness for easy access. This damn memory that makes me a walking encyclopedia of my and ever person who touches me’s past.
I was thinking about this the other night as I found myself describing events to a friend based on circumstances we shared. I was there, he was there, but I got the distinct impression that I was the sole holder of most of that catalogued knowledge. I can hardly take this personally when it’s the rule and not the exception. It’s seldom I find someone more in touch with the details, impression, timeline and qualities of our mutual past than I.
Sometimes I wish this weren’t so. I wonder at it’s utility and the implicit nostalgia paired with it. I curse the moments I’d best forget. I feel the fog of past events where future plans should go.
But sometimes it’s not so bad. I’m walking around on a cold windy day, caught in an endless loop responsibilities and stressors, looking at the sun refracting on this big old tree in an overgrown yard and pile of stain glass doors there and suddenly everything goes quiet and I’m eight again, playing make believe on a similar set, circa 1980. Its my first day of college and I’m someone new and every possibility I’ve imagined impossible in the weighty and claustrophobic world of my home town now looms before me. I’m in love for the first time and it’s scary and exciting and I can only begin to imagine what that means.