After almost–but not quite–20 years in DC, I sometimes think it would be nice if I could opt for a form of selective amnesia. I never watched “Eternal Sunshine” but I more or less guessed the plot and I was thinking of something like a nice home-based machine. You allow it to connect to your social sites and your blog so it can get a good idea of a person and then it simply removes them from your memory. It doesn’t take away the memory of the events or the fun, it just means you can’t quite remember who you had them with, while at the same time leaving a feeling of not being particularly upset about it. If someone called you on it, you’d just shrug and say, “…I woke up like this.”1 Not unlike that other movie I’ve never seen about “First Dates”.
Like this picture, which is one of my favorite taken of me.2 It was taken by–at the time–a best friend, as close as family. We’d talk, e-mail or text on a daily basis, see each other regularly, and this was from an awesome, if not usual, day. This was in late April, and we were waiting on an evening-based art installation at Union Station and playing around with our new cameras.
When it came time for me to pack up and move, I moved close to her–like ‘the next block’ close–and other friends to make it easier to hang out. And I have tons of amazingly fun memories with her and other folks and for some reason, one by one, we just stopped hanging out. Some, like her, completely pulled up stakes, removed all connections on- and off-line and that’s that. While others seemed content that our “friendship” change to become a completely virtual one, which I guess is… better?
These are the people I now see at “shared-interest events” like Pride or comic conventions and because my memory nearly never forgets people, I’m stupid enough to wave, say their name, and then consign myself to 2-5 minutes of fairly awkward small talk.
How have I been? Fine. Oh, you’ve been fine too? That’s great. Well, nice seeing you and here’s where I suggest we get together sometime and you agree even though one or both of us is probably lying.3
Fun, right? Which is why it’d be so nice to have an active faulty-memory-maker. You could rebrand yourself as simply being forgetful when you’ve purposely removed the identity of the person responsible for those good times. Or, honestly, bad times too. Then you’d be the most forgiving person on the planet. “Wait, you’re the one that did that to me? No, it couldn’t have been. Not you…”
Not a very viable plan, I know, but I still wonder if that would feel better than the occasionally depressing moments when you realize you can no longer talk to this person, or that it would feel weird to visit a place you both went a lot because they’ll be there. Oddly, I don’t even need this for exes as much as I do for friends. Ex-friends? Ex-BFFs? Former Friends?
Anyway, just something that always occurs to me as my birthday approaches. So, TGIF, I guess? 😕
1 You knew I’d work it in somehow, right?
2 I’ve tried to get on the #selfie bandwagon, but never really embraced it. However, I understand it, because back in the day, our friends took pictures of us rather than keeping their heads buried in their phones.
3 I’m not calling anyone out here, but the shared-interest events have become akin to funerals in the South. Just as much of an impromptu reunion as it is anything else.