Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Got No Memory of Anything At All

My friend Web 2.0 has tagged me with a meme. Here are the rules:

1. Post the rules of the game.
2. Tell us five vivid memories that you have (from anytime in your life) that never seem to fade. The memory can be a defining moment (birth of a child, day you got married) to some funny incident that you witnessed. I suppose you should be willing to share the memory too. Be truthful.
3. At the end of the post, tag one to five other people to take part in the meme (be sure to list their names and link to their blog)

People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their five things. And so on. And so on. And so on.

It's worth noting that one of Web 2.0's vivid memories is of me making a fool of myself. One wishes that one could erase other people's memories, a sort of "Eternal Sunshine" raygun. Alternately, one might wish that other people would filter their memories to protect their friends from worldwide humiliation. But I digress.

I'm actually cursed with a horrible memory. Brother and sister, mother and father, friend and coworker alike regularly ask me to participate in memory-sharing, and I regularly let them down. For whatever reason, memories rarely take root in my consciousness--certainly not in vivid detail.

Nevertheless, I see what Web 2.0 is getting at. The more vivid the memory, the more we might expect it to have shaped and formed us. Everyone who was alive remembers where they were when President Kennedy was shot or when President Nixon resigned or when President Clinton said "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." If you were conscious, you remember what you were doing when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on takeoff or when the Columbia exploded on descent or when terrorists flew two commercial jets into the World Trade Center. In the wake of that moment everything shifts a bit, including us.

I've been reading Martin Buber's I & Thou and found myself needing to write the following down.

“I can neither experience nor describe the form which meets me. . . . The relation in which I stand to it is real, for it affects me, as I affect it.”


With time we dissect and categorize and assign meaning to these moments, but in the moment of their occurrence, in the moment we're encountered by something or someone they are not utilities but realities, and they affect us in real, permanent ways.

With that, and with a bias toward returning to Web 2.0 the favor of universal humiliation, I present five vivid memories.

1. I remember sitting on my porch waiting for my ride to my first roller skating party, a ride which never showed up. I suspect I had written down the wrong day.

2. I remember standing alone in the parking lot of my church after youth group, waiting for my ride to pick me up. I remember not being able to get "Karma Chameleon" out of my head, no matter how hard I tried.

3. I remember taking turns with Web 2.0 slamming our heads into our locker, when a classmate shook her head derisively and told us "You are such nerds." (Please note the plural.)

4. I remember my first date with my now-wife, in which she waited for me to clean up after a performance before we went to see the movie Five Heartbeats. I remember holding her hand during the movie.

5. I remember my friend Dennis coming up to me during a break in a high school jazz competition to tell me that the Challenger had exploded over a watching crowd in Florida. I remember not believing him and telling him it wasn't funny.

Is it any wonder I'm so insecure? OK: I tag Pete Juvinall, who is decidedly less melancholy than I am.

1 comment:

Web said...

Oh yes, the slamming of the heads... that explains a few things. :-)