Life as an Extreme Sport

every streetlamp seems to beat a fatalistic warning

It’s 11:13pm. Thursday evening. I have a pile of work to the left of me, a pile of reading to the right, a large monster masquerading as a cat draped across my feet, and a slightly smaller cat convinced he’s a monster rather insistently trying to lay across my shoulders as I type.

I am, for lack of better phrase, in a mood. The timing is, of course, brilliant – I always hit these when I’m alone. I mean, genuinely alone, no one really around that I could just poke and chitchat with. Might not be a coincidence, then, that it’s when this mood hits.

Not, of course, that it’s any sort of consistent mood. Rather, just a mood. And tonight’s is, in large part, thanks to the most recent Torchwood episode (Adam), which has thrown me where I am. Without spoiling it for folks who won’t see it until next week, it was one of the best examples of why I like the show – it reminded me strongly of Buffy mixed with Doctor Who, this wonderful blend of high camp and sublime acting, looking at the dark elements and how we live with our lives, our selves, our memories.

And so I am stuck with memory, which has already been a running dialogue with myself. What does it mean to remember, and to forget? To remember again? I suppose it started, thinking about concerts and ones I’ve seen for some online trivia thing. But it’s hard to contain thoughts about memory, perception, seeing the world. We shape memory, something I’m so highly conscious of – we warp and rewrite our own narrative, to suit the story we tell ourselves and those around us. Subtly make ourselves look better, right, more or less victimized. Whatever our narrative is, we adjust the memory accordingly. Some people find this startling or weird to think about, but memory studies suggest this to be the case.

What memories have I rewritten? Can I say with any certainty that what I remember is what happened? Or is it just what I wished happened? Wanted to happen? It is, of course, the Rashomon problem in a nutshell. Do we just hope to reach a consensus on shared experience, or does experience become shared when we share the same memory? Is this why we don’t talk? Is this why we hide what we’re saying, thinking, feeling behind gestures and obscurity and opaque masques? I know I’m guilty of it, of not wanting to reveal, of preferring to leave a small thread of my own narrative, one that can be picked up if you see it and ignored otherwise.

Tonight, I just feel like there has been a lot of thread – and a lot of ignoring.

body has given up and decided it’s time to sleep – before I make any brilliant errors here.

Edited to add: hah, how timely… within 30 minutes, to receive an email that just emphasizes the whole thing. Some people just have exquisite timing. Someone remind me why I do this again? I loved this once, didn’t I? Sometimes I think it’s just being kicked out of me…

One comment

  1. Sort of related, but not really.

    We need to get beers soon. We didn’t get to chat/catch up nearly as much as I would have liked a few weeks ago! 🙂

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