My fun memory association

This has taken me some time to blog, maybe because it just seemed like an odd memory quirk, and I’ve known it would be a wordy blog. Whenever I think of odd subjects to blog, I wonder if there are like-minds out there? So any of your similar experiences are welcome.

Whenever I scramble eggs, I think of that old B horror flick, Sleepaway Camp, quite creepy for a 10 year old. The movie had nothing to do with scrambled eggs, but I know now from “memory experience” that I once scrambled eggs when I thought about the movie. I’d probably thought about the movie for a while, maybe the whole time I scrambled the eggs. Now the memory comes back to me when I’m stirring eggs.

Well, I’ve scrambled a lot of eggs, so much that I sometimes think of Paul Auster too, the sad writer who tells stories of being trapped. (Some of his works have been made into movies. I recommend The Music of Chance with Mandy Patinkin and James Spader, very quietly creepy.) But with this second scrambling egg memory, I actually think of a small, autobiographical, essay book of Auster’s called The Red Notebook. It’s about all of the strange occurrences that have happened to him and the people he knows. This particular egg memory I associate with the little chapter about his leaping over a banister to catch his daughter from crashing through a 2nd story window.

I consider myself an amateur movie buff, and it seems a lot of these repetitive memories are about movies. When I’m cutting up raw chicken, I think of either A Clockwork Orange or The Man Who Wasn’t There.

It’s not all about movies or stories though. This one is a little harder for me because it’s personal. I sat in the Little Rock airport waiting for Brad to come home from a business trip. I had hit a low point in an anxiety/depression phase of my young adulthood, and I sat there feeling very sad. Several months later, after we moved to Austin, TX, I took a job as a bookseller for Barnes and Noble, one of my favorite jobs. I counted out my till one night and thought about how I’d felt in the airport. Ever since then, when I have several bills to count, the way you can swish them really quickly from one hand to the other, I remember my feelings in the airport. So I know it’s not just a movie quirk of mine, but a strong memory association.

My mother once said she would hate to have a photographic memory because she would be compelled to remember all the bad things in her life or what she’d heard in the news, not just the good memories. Sadly, I tend to remember way too many negative things, even from 25 years ago. I also have a strong sense of regret. Regret is as bad, or even worse, as dread. So now at 31, I hope to think more toward good things. It’s a very practical, Biblical command in Philipians. Whatever is true, noble, lovely, excellent… think about such things.

So with some calculated thinking, I could choose some awesome memories and pick tasks I do a few times a week or month and have that good reminder to carry with me.

1 Comment

  1. Anil
    Posted Mon Apr 3 21:36:50 -0800 2006 |

    It's interesting... I have a very good memory for some sorts of things (I tend to remember anything I've ever read) and it can be something like a curse. I think it manifests itself very similar to how you describe; Sometimes it's a song connected to a task, but one odd one is a video game (Dr. Mario) I was playing while watching a movie. I replayed the game much later, maybe a year later, and could remember the entire scene/dialogue from the film.

    I do think at some point you have to make a choice about what you remember. Maybe even that you choose what your memories are, what filter you see them through. People make fun of me for being an optimist, but I'm pretty happy to have made the choice to see even the negative things that have happened as having had some positive results. I don't usually regret things, but I did spend a lot of time being down or depressed rehashing things, and I think maybe all of us who are at this age are at the point where it finally feels okay to just let it go.

    Or maybe it's just me. :)