I Don’t Remember, I Don’t Recall

I went to a friend’s 40th birthday party the other night. I guess this is the year all my old classmates and I turn 40.

I have this very specific memory of laying down on the floor of my house, probably 9 or 10 years old. The TV is on and it is the evening. I have a pen and a notebook and I’m laying on the floor, writing in the notebook. I’m writing down numbers. Lots of numbers, next to each other, on top of one another, numbers everywhere, really. I occasionally look up at the TV, but for the most part as I am laying there on my stomach with my pajamas on. I distinctly remember scanning the page, up and down, looking at the numbers and saying to myself “this is probably what math is like in college.” A few minutes later I distinctly remember saying to myself “wow, I will be 29 in the year 2000.”

What does all this have to do with a 40th birthday party? Well, memories for one. The recurring theme of this blog is that I am rather fascinated with the passage of time and all the sociological and mental aspects of dealing with it. We are obviously not the same people at 10, 20, 30 and 40. Obviously. Just think of yourself at those ages and how much you changed every ten years. It’s all dramatic change. I find myself wondering if the level of change will be similar from 40 to 50. I think the changes will be more physical on this go around. But who am I to know? I guess the older people can chime in if they want.

Anyway, memories. As we sat around the table at the party, each of us had very specific memories of one another that we all pretty much forgot. One woman who I’ve known since the age of five told me she remembered clear as day that back in Kindergarten I always seemed to know the days of week. I always knew what day it was. Of course, I have no memories of this. Another friend reminded me that when we were 19 he crashed for months on the couch of the apartment on Peterborough St in Boston. I felt bad, and told him so, that I had forgotten about this. How could I have possibly forgotten about someone who I lived with? For months! Of course, as soon as he said it, I remembered that and more and he also filled in some cracks of my memory about other amusing stuff that happened in that apartment and on that floor.

So how is that we can retain certain things, certain moments, from when we’re splayed out on the floor of our house when we’re 9, but we can’t remmeber someone we lived with for a couple of months when we were 19? It’s absolutely fascinating stuff. ¬†Anyway, that night was a blast. When you get five people who have known each other for that long a period of time, there are inevitably some chestnuts that get unearthed. The biggest laugh of the night (and probably the biggest laugh of the YEAR) was the result of something that someone had forgotten, in fact.

So this is the year we all turn 40. I’m pretty okay with that, so long as I can keep connecting with the people I’ve been on the ride with. One thing that does keep changing for me is the value of those relationships. Even if I only connect with them once a year, once a month, once a whatever. Those relationships keep getting more important to me. I want to hear more stories that I’ve forgotten. I want to laugh. I want to remember.

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Peter Gabriel, “I Don’t Remember”

I got no means to show identification
I got no papers show you what I am
You'll have to take me just the way that you find me
What's gone is gone and I do not give a damn
Empty stomach, empty head
I got empty heart and empty bed
I don't remember
I don't remember

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything

Strange is your language and I have no decoder
Why don't you make your inentions clear
With eyes to the sun and your mouth to the soda
Saying, "Tell me the truth, you got nothing to fear
Stop staring at me like a bird of prey
I'm all mixed up, I got nothing to say
I don't remember
I don't remember

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything
Anything at all

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
i got no memory of anything
absolutely anything at all
I don't remember
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Checking In

I don’t know. I have to tell you, I really wish I could write here more. I truly do. I miss really taking the time to write, to really think something out and put it down. It’s funny – this week a friend of mine emailed to tell me that he still reads the blog and is happy that someone out there is still writing in the “long-form” online format, instead of doing what everyone else is doing, which is writing in 140 character blips (i.e., Facebook and Twitter). Here’s the problem – I’m updating Facebook and Twitter WAY ¬†more than here. Because that is honestly all I have time for. I feel like the bad guy, abandoning a 10 year relationship, which is essentially what I have done.

It makes me a little sad. But how sad can I be? It’s life, man. Commuting has replaced blogging. So be it. There’s not much I can do about it, so I’ll continue to miss writing, but I’ll try to do it when I can. “When I can” tends to be Saturday nights at roughly 11 or midnight. Normally I’m in bed at this time every night, but Saturday’s I’ll draw it out a little and go old school. Spend a little time by myself. Try to find some new music or read a book, maybe write a post.

But it’s hard to come up with stuff when my life is so……….well…….I don’t know. Nothing interesting is happening. I should re-phrase that. I’m pretty sure that every day something interesting happens with my kids and life, but I’ve said it before and I will say it again – this blog is not about my kids. And it never will be. There’s plenty of mommy and daddy blogs out there if that’s what you’re looking for, so go find them.

Speaking of books, I’ve just finished Jean Edward Smith’s FDR biopic. Good golly. It was almost 900 pages. Now, I knew FDR’s presidency was transformative, but I never realized to what degree. The things this man accomplished in office were astounding. He didn’t do it without controversy, or without having some pretty low ratings in the public opinion polls, but my goodness, the list of things his administration accomplished are extraordinary. If you are at all a fan of history, this one is one of the best. A captivating, interesting read. A lot of the personal stuff (and there was a lot with FDR) was left out of the book, which I appreciated. You can’t write a fair bio without getting into it in some detail, but the book was largely focused on his professional accomplishments. What a read!

I’m still following this year’s version of the Bruins with great interest. I’ve been to probably 6 games and I think I’m 1-5. All of them have been close. I’d like to hope I’m not an albatross around the team’s neck when I am there. Because I plan to be at all the playoff games this spring. I do not think they will make the Cup finals, but I think they’re a possibility for a fairly deep run if they can make a meaningful move before the trading deadline.

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