I got the same birthday card from her, 4 years running.
I know, I know, I should be grateful that I got a card at all. And it wasn't a card that stood out in memory, a card so unique that it would sound alarms and bells, perhaps, two times in a row for me, so maybe it wasn't a card that would look familar 4 times in a row to her. Hey, maybe the card made her think of me. Maybe it was special.
But all the same I couldn't help but to file into the same round drawer *(next the the chewing gum wrappers and used tissues) that I filed the six times he asked me if I had ever seen a movie that we had seen twice together or the time that another pointed out something he thought was clever like he was discovering it for the first time and I noted that he had not only seen that thing before, but gotten it as a little gift from me.
Indeed, human memory is highly fallible.
And indeed, people can't always remember what they've seen or heard or said or the little details about you or the experiences you shared. I mean, how many times have I told the same damn story to the same damn person or asked someone the same question repetitively? I don't even want to ponder it. I mean, one out of every 4 times I hang out with a certain friend of mine, I point out a scent and then immediately remember, only after saying it, that she has no sense of smell.
Yep, people have other things on their mind.
Still, sometimes, just sometimes, you begin to suspect that those closest to you, those who've resided in the elite ground that consitutes your personal circle, would remember those details of what you've shared, at least peripherally. That you HATE raggae and are allergic to bananas and that you wen't to burning man with them and that you bought them their favorite wallet. They'd make a tiny little mental note, in pencil, if not pen, but certainly not invisible ink, that would link that restaurant to you in their memory or call up a quesion mark in their head when they found themselves pulling the same card out of a drawer 4 years in a row or would make the person think "hmmm, I've seen those stickers before, didn't daff once show up at my door with them." Or maybe thats just how it is for me. But these details, These shared experiences are part of the colors and textures that begin to define a person in my memory and eventually in my heart. If we go to Yosemite together some small part of you echoes Yosemite, and likewise, Yosemite has pieces and parts that remind me of you. If you bring me a gift I'm going to always associate it, just a bit with you. This is normal right? This is why most people have ugly candy dishes and old letters sitting in boxes or even proudly displayed, and not in the trash. Because they are attached, in memory, to that person's love for you, and you don't want to fuck with that, right?
And, certainl, if you get me a gift that I like, a gift that makes me feel like you know me. KNOW me. If you send me an email with a link to something I had noted myself or bring to a place I've been thinking about or buy me something silly I've had my eye on, something that shows you know me, really KNOW me, then that thing...
well, you get my picture...
So I let it go. But, sometimes I wonder. When I get these material cues of a severed tie or lost memory, how much they were paying attention. How much of a unique identifier I have in their memory. How much I, as an individual, and not just time filler, really mean to them.