This is a picture of my feet. Obviously, I know what my feet look like, but chances are if I have spent any amount of real world time with you, I remember exactly what your feet look like, too.
As I have mentioned oh, so, repeatedly on this blog in the past couple of months, this seems to be the summer of rediscovery for me. I am reconnecting with old friends, exploring the past, basically just trying to figure out who I was at certain points in my life, in hopes it will help me more forward into who I am becoming next.
In other words, BIG transition.
One thing I have discovered through all these trips down Memory Lane and Memory Street and Memory Avenue is my memory is unreliable, shaky, full of holes . . . it basically sucks. I have no sense of time, so I usually can’t place a memory at the proper moment in the past . . . unless I can remember my haircut. Short punk rock hair – High school. More specifically – Flock of Seagulls bangs – sophomore year of high school. Unfortunate perm “Just to add some body” (thanks, Mom) junior year of high school. “I let my friend shave my hair into a Grace Jones flattop” — that would be senior year. College freshman is the year of painfully growing out flat top. By sophomore year, I had managed to get hair to my shoulders and bangs. The rest of college is pretty much long hair getting longer as I fully entered my Granola, Birkenstock phase. I could go on, but I’ll spare you. Needless to say, this is not the most scientific or reliable of methods to establishing history.
It does bring me to the point of this post though. I remember really weird things. I cannot remember huge, important events with any reliability. Things that I’ve dismissed as failures of my memory (for example, there is no way I actually swam alone across the St. Michael’s harbor at the age of 9 or 10 to retrieve an escaped dingy. Whose parents would let them do that? Turns out mine ) end up being true. Other things that were important and much more pivotal have completely vanished into the recesses of my brain. (IT Guy tells a story about seeing me for the first time. According to him, our eyes locked across the crowd at morning meeting at the Renaissance Festival. He says my hair was down and I had the most amazing green eyes he had ever seen. He says we just stared at each other. Sounds like a perfectly romantic and cinematic beginning to a 17 years and counting relationship — we saw each other and just knew — except I have absolutely no recollection of it at all.)
I have had some luck reconstructing some of my personal history with the help of some very patient people – IT Guy, my mother, an incredibly indulgent ex-boyfriend-now-friend (XBFNF ) who is putting up with me asking questions via email like “where were we when .. . . . ,” “do you remember…….”, “how long…”, “who was . . ” and on and on about things that happened almost 20 years ago. (Thanks, XBFNF.) What I keep coming back to though, is the stupidity of what I do remember. I cannot remember what I said to XBFNF when we broke up . . . and this was a big, important relationship in my life . . . but I can remember exactly what his feet look like, almost 20 years later.
As a matter of fact, I can remember the feet of pretty much everyone I’ve seen barefoot more than once. I can remember what your feet look like if we were friends in high school, in college, if we dated, if we just went to the pool a few times. I can remember what your feet look like if we are in dance class together. I can remember the feet of most of the preschool kids I have taught and some of their moms. If you showed me pictures of just the feet of most of the people in my life, past and present, I am positive I could correctly identify at least 90% of them.
If you are now thinking “WTF? Feet?” you are not alone. I’m thinking that also. I guess it means I notice feet (although I don’t really notice myself noticing feet.) Seriously, why can I remember everyone’s feet and not things that might actually matter like the where and when of the first sex with Ben or why I didn’t break up with that guy in high school or where is my checkbook anyway?
My memory remains a mystery. I wish I could remember it all, but then I might not actually accomplish anything in my life today. Maybe that is the point of spotty memory. Maybe our brains can only hold so much and we need most of the space for living in the now.
I don’t think I’m quite done on Memory Lane yet, but I’m getting there. In the meantime, you might want to get a pedicure because, apparently, I will remember your feet.