Friday, September 02, 2011

Forget me not

What would life be like if we had no memory? What if we had no memory of people or events? Instead, our entire existence would be the sum of our immediate sensory perception. I wonder if we would we be happier or sadder. Every scar and bruise would be a mystery, and every person would be a stranger. (Heaven for an extrovert, hell for an introvert.)

We would have no memories of pain. But we would also have no memories of joy.

It's strange. The more distant a memory is in my mind, the softer it becomes. Kind of like a photograph that was once crisp and clear, and later fades, curls and blurs with time. It almost seems like part of a dream, or part of a novel you once read years ago.

Other memories are visited more often, with the most salient and pleasurable elements specially preserved, if not magnified. That BBQ at the park with the old college friends. The grill smelled smokier, the boxed wine tasted sweeter, and the cool grass prickled your toes just a bit more in your memory than it might have in reality.

It's your memory, though. You can do what you want with it.


I think about the people who are no longer in my life. They loiter in the back of my mind and reappear at particular moments in time, like when I'm waiting in line or when I see an oddity that reminds me of them. They reenact scenes or conversations I had with them and then, when their performance ends, they bow and exit stage left.

Then I wonder. Am I a memory in someone else's mind? The raven-haired girl who wanders into someone's dream, recites a bitter or sweet line, and leaves the room? Does my appearance onstage conjure joy, sadness, rage, or pity? Or am I not even in the cast?

I wonder if it is better to be remembered or forgotten. When I reflect upon my life, I think I'd rather be forgotten by those in the past, and remembered by those in the present.

Things learned the hard way #582,376

Never rely on anyone to be accountable.

(This statement is the kinder cousin to the corollary, "Trust no one.")

Earlier this week, I had spoken with my manager about an Issue. "I'm on top of it," he assured me. "Don't worry about it, I'll let the Senior Boss know I'm on it."

This morning, however, I received a terse email:

Yellow Gal,

It has come to my attention that [the Issue] was not resolved. I took care of it. In the future, please ensure that [the Issue] is resolved and update me on its status.

Senior Boss

Immediately after receiving the email, I called Senior Boss.

It rang twice before he picked up. "Hello, this is [Senior Boss]."

"Hi Senior Boss, this is Yellow Gal, how are you?"


I waited for him to ask how I was doing. After three seconds, I realized that wasn't going to happen, so I said, "I received your email. Manager told me he took care of the Issue, and would talk to you. I assumed he resolved it."

"Well he didn't," Senior Boss said. I could hear the irritation grating in his voice. "I understand what you're saying. But in the future, talk to me directly instead of just speaking with Manager."

"Understood" was what I should have said. "Okay!" was what I chirped.

There were a few seconds of subsiding silence. Then he proceeded to talk about other work matters.

So yeah. Even if it's your manager or someone you typically rely on, follow up. A tiny thought flitted through my mind that maybe I should have looped back to Senior Boss - but I didn't.

Listen to the tiny thought.
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