Involuntary acts of memory...
Catching up on my blog reading recently, this post from Charlie reminded me that I do have hobbies: Wallowing in the past. Nostalgia-as-nervous-tic. Pouring salt in old wounds.
You know how when you're just driving around and suddenly something pops into your head, and you think, “I haven’t thought about so-and-so in a million years?” And then you get lost in thinking about the memory, letting it take you through a door that had been closed for a long time? I love that mental trick; it’s like reassurance that even when I think I’ve lost people and places in my head, they reappear and I can have them back again...like they had just been resting, or waiting for me to be quiet for a while so they could come back.
Listening to Dinosaur Jr. recently brought back a memory of a childhood friend; we met in 8th grade and were on and off friends through high school. Not too long after college began (for me), our friendship began to dissolve. We fell out of touch, those memories scurried to find a place in my unconscious, and I thought of her only peripherally for years. Until I heard "Blowing It" from Green Mind on an Internet radio station.
The auditory recollection connected with an image of the t-shirt (of the album cover featuring the little girl with a cigarette hanging from her mouth) she wore so often, and it all came back in a rush: A summer in NYC, trips to Beaufort, running away, lots of running away. Even in our early 20s, always talking about running away. The memory didn't make me miss her (the crazy had just gotten out of control by the time our friendship ended), but I did miss the me I was then.
Some memories feel like an ambush. It’s like having all of these pieces floating just outside of your conscious mind, amused and wicked and waiting until they feel like surfacing to screw up whatever it is that you're supposed to be focusing on.
I wish there was a better way to control it; to keep the things that make me smile, blush, or laugh when they surface, but edit out the ones that make me angry or sad. Yet another thing to add to my "PROS" list for a future voluntary lobotomy.