“The saddest thing about life is you don’t remember half of it. You don’t even remember half of half of it. Not even a tiny percentage, if you want to know the truth. I have this friend Bob who writes down everything he remembers. If he remembers dropping an ice cream cone on his lap when he was seven, he’ll write it down. The last time I talked to Bob, he had written more than five hundred pages of memories.” – Don Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
I used to do this.
When I was in Australia, Jeanne and I would keep a daily record of what we had done, where we had driven, what we had eaten, who we had met, clothes we had bought, silly quotes we had said or serious conversations we had had. Here is an excerpt, dated April 14, 2009:
Used book stores–found The English Patient at Angus and Robertsons
Hair Machine–Jeanne got her hair did
checked out Adelaide Central Market
ate chicken/lamb gyros
Haigh’s chocolate centre–Jeanne got a toasted coconut chocolate and the chewiest caramel chocolate in the world
hunted for pedicure place at Rundle St.–found Axia
all three of us got pedicures with Vanessa
ice cream at Cold Rock (hahaha): Aussie Vanilla + Mint Chocolate cookies
Jeanne’s birthday dinner at Gaucho’s Argentinian Restaurant: two fillets with garlic and chimichurri sauce, roasted potatatoes with sea salt, Merlot Cabernet, complimentary glasses of port, chocolate bavois (mousse), chocolate truffles, flourless chocolate cake
“You see…I would like to live inside of a truffle.” – J
And so on.
We stored this daily log as a text document in our Macbooks, which we would update once every four or five days. I’m always grateful we kept this log, because if nothing else, it helped keep the timeline straight in my head, when days and nights in different cities, hostels and cars began to blend together in my mind. It reminds me of how exactly we spent our time.
The strangest thing is that lately–and by lately, I literally mean the past four or five days–I’ve felt as if my brain has been firing synapses into the quadrants that have all of the vivid memories of Australia interconnected, networked, intertwined in all their complexity. I’ll be sitting at my piano or walking the dog, lost in thought, and suddenly be jolted by the bright red of Jeanne’s overcoat or the exact way the sand was mushy and clay-like when we scrambled over the cliffs of Clovelly Beach or the flashy, chaotic, blurry way that the corner of Bathurst and George St. looks, right outside of the railway station. I’ll remember bits and pieces of my trip that I didn’t record, didn’t write down, didn’t take a picture of. And often it seems like the moments I didn’t write down are the ones that remain the most vivid, the strongest in my mind.
Maybe it’s because we are fast-approaching the one-year mark since we left for our trip in 2009. Maybe it’s because increasing uncertainty of today has made me cast a longing backward glance into days that seemed simpler and more carefree, even though at the end of the day, I know the simplicity of that glance is merely an illusion. Maybe it’s the constant complication of drama in my friend circle. Maybe it’s the pain of dealing with my fractured self and identity in an increasingly honest fashion. Maybe it feels like I’m losing the place I stand once again. Maybe it’s all of this. Or none of this.
But whatever it may be, it feels as though subconscious parts of my brain have been lying dormant, in hibernation, but have really been secretly recording information all this time. It’s like my brain is blipping at me with scenes from my own reality tv show, but without the dramatic music (unless you count Elbow and the Airborne Toxic Event as the soundtrack of life recently) and without the suspenseful (and artlessly contrived) cut to commercials.
And now I, once again, feel catapulted into a hopeful existence built on possibility.
Possibility that will become reality.