Friday, December 02, 2005

Memory Lapses

If ADD has a poster child, it would be me. I am so easily distracted that...

elipses are considered a life form around here in that they have saved me more than once.

In my synaptic staccato, I am trying to accomplish about a thousand things an hour and completing none of them. I leave books opened to the last passage right next to the newspaper, journal notebooks at a half completed entry, coffee cups everywhere and if I didn't have but two clothes closets, I'd have to hire a white horse upon which to ride to work.

Not a pretty picture.

I forget most everything at one time or another. A few years ago, attending night school, I left after and exam and drove for the better part of an hour only to wind up in long term parking at the airport.

I still have no idea how or why I got there.

This morning I confessed to short term memory loss to a good friend of mine who responded by saying "good thing your long term works, or we wouldn't be doing this."

Emailing each other. Nothing untoward. Nothing dirty. Now that I've lost the vast majority of you, I'll finish.

She's right. If I didn't carry a memory over the last quarter of a century, I'd never be emailing her in 2005.

We were both seventeen. High school seniors. We'd known each other for about a year. We hung with a small group of colorful misfits and were friends in the loosest sense of the word.

We all got along and were irreverent together. Another friend of mine and I would sometimes get a little silly and irreverence would turn into plain nastiness. Mean as a snake, plainly put. We called her names sometimes. Made fun of her.

We were awful.

A couple of days later, we would all be back in our little circle of friends, hanging around as if nothing happened.

She sure didn't let on.

When I left town permanently, we all got together for a dinner at a fancy restaurant downtown for a big sendoff. I found out that she had organized the whole thing. I got treated to a nice meal with a great crowd and, months later when I was alone in a new city in a new country I hung on to that dinner for dear life.

She never knew that.

We grew up. Got older. Graduated high school, went to college, got our first jobs, then our second, then our third. Got married. Some of us had kids. Some of us took a while to settle down. A few years back I got a call from my friend whom I had not seen in over twenty years. We talked, caught up, laughed and joked like the time had never passed. A couple of years later, I was vacationing in his neck of the woods and we all went out to dinner and reminiscences. Oddly, somewhere in the conversation, Annie, the girl we used to make fun of, came up.

Boy, were we stupid said I.

We were assholes, everybody is, said he.

This was different said I. There was something wrong about that and one of these days I'll put it right.

Not that I do this sort of thing as a matter of habit. I've offended plenty of people and never made amends. But something about Annie stuck with me and from time to time, her name would pop up in my consciousness and I'd look around for her.

With no luck. Not even Google gave me a good lead.

Then by happenstance, events unfolded that put Annie within arm's reach. Our 25 year high school reunion was held, she attended and left an email on the visitor's page.

I'm not that smart, but even I could recognize an opportunity.

So I emailed her. I'll paraphrase:

"Dear Annie: You probably don't remember me but I remember you and I remember treating you badly from time to time and you responded by doing something really nice for me. I appreciate that and I never told you so I'm telling you now. Thank you. And I'm sorry for the things I said. You can respond, you can ignore me and we'll never talk again and I will understand. But I had to say this to put things right."

A couple of weeks later I got an email back. Again, I'll paraphrase:

"Dear Dipshit (she never said that but I had it coming nonetheless):

I remember you and all the hurtful things you said to me and it took years of therapy and thousands of dollars just to get back to a normal life. I thought I'd turned that corner and here you are again plunging me back into neuroses from which I'll never emerge.

Just kidding.

I forgive you, you big stupid bunny. Now tell me all about your life."

The moral of the story is this. Well, there is no moral and kids, I'm a professional asshole on a closed course so don't let me catch you doing this at home.

But there is one long term memory I'm glad I kept and finally did something about. I found (again, I was too stupid to notice it at the time) one of the best friends I will ever have. She found a large, invisible rabbit. I got the better part of the deal.

Thanks Annie. Talk to you tomorrow, sis.

Oh, everybody out there. This month, go out and try to put a wrong, right.

Bunny on.

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