I’ve said for years that my memory is terrible, but I don’t think it’s quite terrible as it is just weird.
The people in my office are cleaning up their desks, so things are up for grabs. This looked like it was something vaguely magical, so I took it. Maybe it can be my pensieve.
For example, I can remember the awkward time in high school I tried to prank call a friend of mine. I was with two of my friends in the parking lot of a gas station, and one of them was going out with this boy. Because I was trollish, I tried to harmlessly prank call the boy at the urging of my two friends; we were feeling a little silly that night.
I was in the back seat of the car of the friend not going out with the guy, and I made the call on my old LG Chocolate phone. I was wearing my seat belt and it was chilly outside, the middle stage between fall and winter.
I did a horrible British accent, and the first name that came to mind when I introduced myself was a classmate that we both knew. When I realized my mistake and that the call was an utter disaster, I hung up and dropped my phone in the seat, thinking (and saying), “God, that was terrible. What the hell?” It was a mess. My friend, the one who wasn’t going out with the boy, had to text him and say that it was me calling, and that it was just a joke. It was a terrible, though in retrospect, really hilarious, experience.
But it didn’t really have a lasting impact on my life. Sure, I haven’t made a prank phone call since, but that’s probably because prank phone calls don’t really interest me in the first place; the only reason I made the call is because he had both of their numbers but not mine.
However, I cannot remember, for the life of me, the brilliant response I had for this week’s Writing Challenge. I was sitting at work during my downtime, and I was coming up on something really fantastic, but then I got so hungry that I had to go out and get lunch. By the time I settled in to eat and write (as I usually do on my lunch break), the idea was completely gone. I sat in the mezzanine of the Food Emporium near my work, stared at the pages of my journal, and wondered where that brilliant idea went.
I can tell you that I was sitting at a small table situated on the mezzanine level right above a cookie display. I dropped my salt and pepper packet through the slots of the fence around the seating area. There was a strange smell throughout the time I was there, like something synthetic was overheating. The smell wasn’t enough to put you entirely off of food, but it was enough to distract you from your typical Food Emporium experience.
But I cannot tell you what my brilliant idea was. I have no idea what it was. Something that does influence the course of my life, since I care very deeply about this blog and what I post to it, just goes poof.
I don’t have to look far for an unreliable narrator in the fictional worlds I engage with; I’m already the unreliable narrator of my own life.
Writing and my little post-lunch treat. I was trying to write myself back into remember the brilliant idea, but it wasn’t happening.
Today, I also read the transcript of a lecture from an OpenYale class called Death, concerning the matter of personal identity, and what it means to “be” someone. Rather than stay up all night thinking about whether or not my spotty memory indicates some identity crisis where I am not myself sometimes, and my true self somehow recognizes it by blocking out the memory and experiences that “aren’t mine,” I’ll instead point to the thing that is me for sure.
My writing is me. I have 20+ notebooks lined up on brand new Ikea bookshelves in my apartment, and every word penned (and penciled) in those notebooks was written by me at some point in my life. By extension, this blog is me, vaguely edited for grammar and filled with photographs that I take with my phone or camera throughout the day.
These things, my notebooks and my camera (and phone) are what make up my memory.
Question is, does that make me more or less reliable?
Even though this wasn’t the brilliant post I was planning in my head before lunch today at work, it is still a response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Unreliable Narrator. Funny, huh?