Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_styles() expected to be a reference, value given in /homepages/16/d202020116/htdocs/worldwide/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 601

Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_scripts() expected to be a reference, value given in /homepages/16/d202020116/htdocs/worldwide/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 601
Worldwide Ace » Time Immemorial

Worldwide Ace

Because a true Ace is needed everywhere…

Entries Comments


Time Immemorial

8 July, 2008 (12:41) | Philosophy


Salvador Dali’s “Persistence of Memory”

‘”You remember that time,” I said, a smile creasing my face, “we got lost in Denver looking for that show. We were in your minivan and we spent hours just cruising back and forth, not really worrying about it since we hadn’t bought tickets anyway.” She smiled and laughed a little bit. “And then we stopped by the side of the road and smoked a joint while you called a friend for directions. We found out it was right around the corner, but when we got there it was sold out anyway. What was the band we were going to see?”

“It was… it was… it was the Procussions!”

“No, that wasn’t it,” I replied, shaking my head and creasing my brow. “It was a bluegrass band.”

“A bluegrass band?” she questioned.

“Yeah, like psychobilly or something. Maybe Split Lip Rayfield, but I swear I saw them at the Fox.”

“I never went to a bluegrass show with you.”

“Of course you didn’t.” I rolled my eyes. “They were sold out.”

“No,” she said assuredly. “I mean I never tried to go to a bluegrass show with you.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I mean, we went to J5. And we went to a bunch of shows up in Boulder, but I never went to a bluegrass show with you.”

And then it dawned on me. The time we were lost and looking for a place was when we went to a sneak preview at some out of the way theatre. The time we got to the show and it was sold out, we went to Stella’s afterwards and it wasn’t with her, it was with some other friends.

Had any of this actually happened the way I remember it? I wondered. Am I just making shit up these days?

When did this happen? When did my memory become this suspect? It’s always been prone to lapses, but I remember the most inane of details about the most useless of facts. How can the events of my life be shifting despite having already passed?

Just hours ago, I made peach dumplings for dinner. We couldn’t find cottage cheese, so it wasn’t quite the recipe I remember, but the flavors elicited the same feelings of home the recipe always had. I could close my eyes and see our dining room, the china gently shaking in the rickety cabinet as my leg shook the floor with anticipation for the succulent morsel I was about to place under my tongue. The light from the chandelier cascaded over the marble sill by the window, illuminating the Bose system quietly pushing out jazz as we gathered around the maroon tablecloth and spun the lazy susan to gain access to seconds.

Though the taste brought all of this instantly into my head, I knew that flavor was only an approximation. It wasn’t truly the flavor I had enjoyed growing up. Perhaps I was tricking my mind. I knew the recipe. I knew the flavor. Maybe my desire for a taste of home and the similarity of the flavor were enough to send me slowly cascading into nostalgia.

Or maybe I’ll never remember things perfectly.

My memory has always been suspect. I used to sleep perfectly nearly every night as a small child. If I wasn’t tired, I would make up nightmares, fake a few tears, and crawl into bed with my parents, telling them elaborate lies of the dreams that had shaken me. The next morning, I’d expand on these tales, whipping my classmates into a frenzy. And sometimes, if I was detailed enough, I’d plant the nightmare in my memory as if it had happened.

My parents used to tell me about a trip to the park one summer when I was small. I encountered some chickens, and while running around chasing them, I picked the wrong rooster to chase. He leapt up and pecked me on the top of my head. I stopped dead in my tracks, stunned at the turn of events.

As if in slow motion, my mother dropped her ice cream cone, the half eaten ball of dairy splashing to the ground only seconds after she bolted towards me. My mom was terrified I had been wounded, perhaps mortally, and rushed to the rescue. The cock ran off and I found myself clutched in her arms, her tears and cries of anguish stirring tears and anguish of my own.

My dad says that I stood there for a good 30 seconds without crying before I saw my mom’s fear. I wasn’t crying out of pain or fear or shock or anything related to the rooster. Instead, I was crying because my mom’s horrified reaction made me worry I had been hurt.

I remember it vividly.

The problem is I never remembered it until I was told. I have snapshots of snoopy shoes and a yellow backpack with a red wheeled car on it. I have this strange image of the lights above an operating room table, but I don’t know if it’s my memory or an image from a magazine. I remember waking up to watch the 4 AM movie on Nick at Night before cartoons came on. But I don’t remember an entire sequence with a rooster.

A few months ago I was reminded how subjective memory is. A friend of mine wrote about several difficult experiences that so moved me, I wanted only to comfort her. What I didn’t realize was that I was involved in one of those experiences. And in my memory, it was nothing like that. It was such an essential experience in my life, I still remembered the event vividly, despite the haze of alcohol and sleep deprivation. But when all was said and done, it didn’t matter how I remembered it or how she remembered it. In the end, what actually happened can never be a matter of fact.

What did or did not happen and how is always fogged beneath that thin veneer of time. Sometimes, it’s hidden behind surrounding events or states of mind; it’s obscured by drugs or alcohol; it’s concealed by intense sensation or the complete lack thereof.

The raw emotion I experienced when my dad had a heart attack flavored every experience I had that trip home. My grandmother’s move into a hospice left me in a trance that erased an entire day between the call notifying me and when I picked my mom up at the airport. I can recount exactly where I was when the World Trade Center fell or the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 88 years or when I first heard that Elliott Smith had died.

But these events are few and far between. I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast last week, let alone what happened only a few weeks ago. How many of my memories are true? How many happened the way I remember them? How many of my memories are outright lies I’ve told myself?

I’ve tried, for a long time, to have a policy of total honesty. I’m the king of exaggeration, and I have no problem bending the truth for a laugh, but if I’m asked a serious question, I try my damnedest to answer it honestly. Sometimes, it’s not prudent. Sometimes, it’s not possible. Sometimes, I don’t even know if what I know is the truth.

I know my memory is suspect. Nobody’s perfect. But how can I be honest with myself if the truth remains forever elusive? More importantly, how can I be honest with you?

«

  »

  • erin

    i want to know the recipe for the peach dumplings.
    [tim and i were in Georgetown several weeks back and i picked up a dumpling recipe book- at a lib. book sale-, for dumplings around the world- though i believe peach was not there.]

  • erin

    i want to know the recipe for the peach dumplings.
    [tim and i were in Georgetown several weeks back and i picked up a dumpling recipe book- at a lib. book sale-, for dumplings around the world- though i believe peach was not there.]

  • Matt(Ty)

    Disagree with this Dan Quaylesque statement: “In the end, what actually happened can never be a matter of fact.” But anyways, that orange/maroon thing is TOTALLY a Skeksis. (I wonder if raw HTML works in this thing)

  • Matt(Ty)

    Disagree with this Dan Quaylesque statement: “In the end, what actually happened can never be a matter of fact.” But anyways, that orange/maroon thing is TOTALLY a Skeksis. (I wonder if raw HTML works in this thing)

  • Anonymous

    Every experience is subjective. Even technology is not fool proof, given the prevalence of photoshopping and creative editing. Each angle is simply one angle, and while we may someday have the technology to record everything going on, we’ll still argue that the experience wasn’t like that when compared to what we remember.

    Raw HTML does work, but it’s actually a fighting rooster in profile.

  • Every experience is subjective. Even technology is not fool proof, given the prevalence of photoshopping and creative editing. Each angle is simply one angle, and while we may someday have the technology to record everything going on, we’ll still argue that the experience wasn’t like that when compared to what we remember.

    Raw HTML does work, but it’s actually a fighting rooster in profile.