By Accident of Memory

Hello everyone! No, I’m not dead yet. I’ve just been insanely busy. My work life took a turn and also one of my best friends got married. Shout out to them for throwing the best wedding ever! And shout out to me for remembering to keep hydrated throughout the night. This is one of the reasons I am not dead yet.

Anywho, back in action!

There are tons of things science still doesn’t understand, but I’m pretty sure it knows way more about the brain than I do. Ergo, a part of me is tempted to hand mine over and say, “Fix, please.”

My brain rarely processes lessons learned from certain experiences, i.e. what is the correct thing to say at that point in time, when it is best to say nothing, when to not nervously peel my nails off, etc. Do you know what my brain remembers? Every episode of every TV show I’ve ever seen, the lyrics to Missy Elliot songs, and the name, birthday, and other scattered fax about every person I’ve ever met. Up to and including what they were wearing when they told me those facts.

It comes in handy sometimes. I know the ISBNs of every book in my company’s database without having to look them up. I know phone numbers off the top of my head. I can remind people of upcoming events like anniversaries or birthdays so that plans can be made. In college, my memory was depended on. People would ask me about assignments, details of conversations we’d had months earlier, lines from plays. It was nice. It made me feel like I had a purpose. But I’ve also realized that my memory is not often impressive.

In order to not come across like a Creepy Kevin, I usually have to pretend I’ve forgotten a lot of things.

It took me a long time to teach myself to pretend to forget (see, never remembers any life lessons! My mind is one dastardly creature!). Back when I was a bartender, I had a semi-regular customer order the short ribs, claiming he had “never tried them before.” My response?

“You’ve had them before. Last December. December 15th.”

He stared at me, clearly taken aback, and I was taken aback by his taken aback-ness, which caused me to keep rambling on about December 15th, 2013.

“I was wearing a black button-down with white feathers on it. You’d had a mimosa and then switched to beer. Brooklyn Lager. You were with two friends. I made them Tokyo Teas because they were curious…”

More stares.

“At any rate, you seemed to enjoy them.”


There was another time where someone asked if anyone had this guy Chris’s phone number. I was only casual acquaintances with Chris and surely never had cause to call or text him, but I still was able to recite his phone number off the top of my head. Everyone stared.

“…Well, Chris called Ed last week but Ed didn’t recognize the phone number. He read it off to a few different people and one of them had it in their phone as Chris. I just remembered the number.” Staring. “I’d heard it a few times at that point.” Staring. “It’s just like memorizing lines!” NO I AM NOT STALKING CHRIS STOP JUDGING ME! I AM MERELY FILLED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS AND INSECURITIES!

I went to an event with my boyfriend a few months ago where a lot of people I’d met at a writers’ conference were going to be. I was nervous about attending the event and was comforted by the fact I’d see a few familiar faces.

With the exception of my boyfriend’s ex roommates, who obviously remembered how heavily I come down stairs and how poorly I park, only one or two of them actually remembered me. I decided to give this whole nonchalance thing a whirl.

“Hey, I think we met once but I don’t remember your name.”

“Oh, hey, yeah it’s Jillian. And your name again? Sorry.”

But in my head the whole time, I was going, “Your name is Tristan. You’re from Missouri. You’re a poetry concentration. Your birthday is July 18th.”

Then another girl came up to me, and the same conversation ensued, and I tried to switch off the marquee of facts about Jennifer flowing from brain-edge to brain-edge, but still, “Your name is Jennifer. You are also from Missouri. You teach yoga. You have a cat.”

Truthfully, I think it’s kind of sad we live in a world where I have to pretend details about other people aren’t important to me. I do not care one bit if people remember anything about me, though if they did, I wouldn’t be offended by it, because I understand that the brain is weird and life is weird.

This is just a little quick entry to whet your appetite for the mediocrity to come on this blog. Now I must tend to the unleavened cookies for my first Passover Seder and answer the work emails I’ve been pretending don’t exist.


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