Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Memory

When I was in elementary school, one day in the cafeteria I sat next to a kid—I don't remember name or face—who had a good lunch. By good, I mean he had a bottle of real orange juice, not a Hi-C or a CapriSun. I remember he ate some cookies or something sweet (maybe a pudding cup?—clearly he had the means) and then took a drink from his juice. He then made a face and asked a teacher why his juice tasted gross. She asked if he had eaten something sweet just before drinking it. He answered yes. She informed him that sometimes the sugar in cookies or pudding made citrus drinks taste oddly sour.

I have never forgotten that event, and I don't think I've ever taken a drink of orange juice without remembering it. Yet it isn't something I think about; it's just one of those thoughts that's always close without ever being at the forefront of my mind. It floats in and out of my semi-consciousness without fanfare or announcement, like a recurring dream that isn't remembered until experienced yet again. Recognizing its presence is like getting a letter in the mail that informs one of the opponent's next move—king's night takes pawn: check—and then noticing the chess board in the corner for the first time in weeks, always there, the game constantly being played but rarely occupying its own moment.

I often have thoughts that are another line in a years-long conversation with myself, months seperating each thought in the continuous stream—this thought is one of them. For months, maybe years now I have periodically come back to the continual idea of having continual ideas periodically, and now, in this moment, I have caught it before it flitted back into the background of my mental desktop, into another stack of paperwork to be shuffled and revisited. I have control-alt-deleted and caught this process in the act of eating my RAM—so now what? Do I End Task?1 Having been written down will it crystalized and dissolve into the air—is writing an act of destruction? Or will this thought become the memory that I refer to each time I have a recurring thought from now on, like the kid in the cafeteria with the orange juice, writing as an act of transfiguration?

1Force Quit for you, Janssen (and me, but I'm still Jenny from the block). For you, Mom, there is no translation. Maybe Dad can explain.


Janssen said...

I enjoy being the token Mac owner. I'm glad you're one too.

Bart Bradshaw said...

I do the same thing - have long-term conversations with myself, sometimes a little subconsciously. Dreams seem to be involved somehow too.

And good call on the Force Quit note. It's quite a bit quicker and more efficient than Ctl-Alt-Del.