I have a really good memory for small, seemingly bizarre details. I have freaked people out by remembering family names, stories, dates and history. What someone wore or ate at a specific time or place, and I can see in my mind exactly where some conversations took place – not just, in a car, but on what road, and approximately the cross street or landmark nearest, and what song was on the radio. I can see them in my mind.
I can remember conversations, menus, who ordered what, and the name of the waiter. I am adept at series of events, dates and timelines. I can place events before or after milestones.
We went to Mexico for the Spring Break after Grandma died in February. And Laura was on a band trip to Holland, so she didn’t go with us, but when we got back, that’s when Dad bought Laura the 84 Pontiac Sunbird that he bought at the used car dealer next to the Long John Silver’s on Alpharetta. And the car had a sign on it that said Crème Puff! And Laura was so surprised. She had about six weeks til her birthday, and I was in eighth grade, and I had taken one of Laura’s bikinis with me to wear in the pool. We stayed at an Omni Hotel, and one night, we had dinner on the water, and I ate Grouper Veracruz. Right after that trip, Dad was diagnosed with diabetes, and I had this pretty dress from Lord and Taylor that I really loved, and … you get the idea.
|This is that dress (I'm on your right).|
My therapist has remarked on my memory for detail, so I don’t think that the way I remember all the little details is standard So, imagine my surprise when twice in the last week, people I’ve known for years remarked on a memory we had shared that I assumed was too insignificant to remember.
The first one was a college classmate who remembered a specific party we were both at and some very specific details about some friends who were there as well. Turns out, we both remember the same sequence and people.
The second one happened late last night/early this morning. I woke up around 2:30 AM overheated. I kicked off my covers and went to check the thermostat. I notice the green light on my cell was flashing, so I took a look. It was a message from a high school classmate. He was my sister’s age, but we were friends through Drama Club, and I love him dearly. He mentioned a TV series he’s watching on Amazon. It had a scene in it that he described and he asked if I knew why it reminded him of me.
I didn’t skip a beat. I typed:
“My mother wants to whip you up and down with red shoestring licorice”.
I was right, of course.
Here’s the backstory. Once upon a time, our Drama Club put on a play called The Game. It was about three characters placed in a sociology experiment which had them protecting their square of space marked on the floor. My friend Darrell played either Edson, Carter or Baker – all three were interchangeable. The only other character is the doctor who is barely in the show. A few minutes at the beginning, a few at the end. It’s minimalist. At the start of the play, the three main characters receive a piece of paper that contains the phrase that they are asked to recite on cue whenever a red light goes on. In the play, the phrase was, “This is my space, this is mine. It is beautiful and it is mine.” But the doctor passes out the slips, so it’s a required prop. Every night, those of us backstage would write out messages on the three slips of paper. One night, I wrote “My mother wants to whip you up and down with red shoestring licorice”. Darrell got that slip. He did not laugh. He didn’t even crack a smile. But as soon as his blocking changed and he could look back at the wings of the stage, he gave me “a look”.
Last night, he told me that he shot me that look because it was “The funniest thing I’d ever read. Probably still is.” That makes me happier than you can know. We instant messaged for a few minutes then I went back to sleep.
I have a lot of happy memories. And the thing is, when I share those memories with someone else, it’s nice. When we both remember it the same way, it makes me happy because I know I’m remembering it accurately. Or, more to the point, I think, that we were, for a minute or two, connected on a high level and it meant something to us both.
And when we connect, we share our life, and our hearts and maybe we spread the love.