I Think I Erased You

I am now meeting people I know, only to find that I have erased their names and entire personalities from my conscious memory.  It is only a prominent mole, a facial tick or a crooked nose that makes me realize that I do indeed know this person but have no recollection of how.

I am failing to recognize people I know on an increasingly regular basis.  I think this is a defensive mechanism and it is the antithesis of recognizing strangers.

It all comes back to a simple issue.  Our brains were developed in a village and the most people we could ever expect to know was one hundred.  As a consequence, we have a limited capacity for remembering people.  If a stranger came into the village, we would have to quickly get to know him to determine if he was a friend or foe and if he was staying.  But if we want to remember someone new, then someone else has to be erased.  I meet a lot of people so I think I have unconsciously developed a technique for erasing people without me even knowing it.  It’s not personal.

My previous strategy of deliberately ignoring everyone, whether I know them or not, has not worked.  My family and close friends found it too distressing.  I explained my theory and they presented me with an alternative thought: that I am becoming senile and should accept that things will only get worse.

So I should write my will now, while I am of sound mind and body.  And before I erase the people I love from my memory.

Comments

  1. John, I have erased so many people, places and events from my life that I hardly have a memory of my life prior to just a handful of years. Sometimes it is not the entire period of time that I erase, just the bad parts I guess. I have no real memories of childhood, what little I had of one. I had to grow up much too soon and the childhood just kinda faded into black.
    I too see people I think I must know, or am told I know someone whom I can’t ever remember seeing before in my life. The strangest thing about this is that I can tell you (and have been able to since the age of 2) everything you would want to know about my Uncle Willard. The thing is Uncle Willard died two years before I was born. My Aunt Betty always thought it was uncanny, she couldn’t believe I could talk about him as though I knew him well. Even down to the smallest quirk.
    I cannot begin to fathom the human mind, what we choose to retain and what we choose to forget. Or do we choose at all. I know that I have repressed some very bad things in my life and once tried to get a Psychiatrist to help me remember some things. He asked me why? Why do you want to remember, just don’t worry about what you have chosen to forget. Did I chose to forget it? And if so why do I now what to know? Interesting questions.

    • Oh, Brigette, how true that is. I choose humor many times to deal with pain and memories. But the underlying issues are still there. Take care, John

      • Brigette Bridges says:

        Hello John. It’s been a while. I was just going through some posts I had made and read. I came across this one. My memory is such a strange and odd place. I don’t actually remember writing this. Of course I don’t actually remember what I did day before yesterday either. I guess a lot of it comes with age. But given my past and the memory loss of years gone I wonder.
        Anyway, I just wanted to say hello and let you know that I do think of you time to time and hope that things are well with you. I still have a lot of issues I”m dealing with concerning the loss of my husband. I miss him as much today as I did a year ago, two years ago. It still seems so surreal. But one day fades into the next and life goes on. I am still baffled by that fact. Seems I am the only one stuck in time.
        Drop me a line sometime, I would love to hear from you.

        Your Friend, Brigette.

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