Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I went to college but all they found were rats in my head
How do we remember our past? Do we see it as it was or relative to how we are now? It's inevitably tainted by the experiences we've since had, and the way our lives now are, so the past is truly a foreign country.
Smells and songs trigger memories for us, give us flashbacks. But do we recall scenes or feelings?
The way a summer day felt back in the mid-80s, in the attic with the dust streaming in the sunlight and the radio struggling up the stairs, on a lazy Sunday afternoon back when I had the time to be bored. Is it what I did or the ambience that I remember?
It's these feelings that come back to us, these are our recollections whilst the facts are another type of memory altogether. I remember getting a 'B' for my Psychology A-level-I remember what the building looked like and the weather and chatting outside with friends I no longer see, but I don't remember the paper, the questions. The facts are separate and have been whittled down to the grade.
Where does the past go and why is it that bits of it get stuck somewhere inside us and bits of it drop out or decay? Every moment is the past, once you have the time to think about it. Every fleeting second watching us age. We yearn for unpleasant or arduous experiences to fly by, but the fun never lasts, always over before we know it and soon we are 20, 30, 70.
Time certainly appears to pass more quickly as I get older, perhaps because of the growing realisation that the time really is finite - then it drips through the cracks.
Is anyone ever satisfied at what they do with their time? Whenever I enjoy what I'm doing, I get a gnawing at the back of my mind, an anxiety about how this enjoyment is only temporary and will be replaced with other, less appealing engagements. And then it's never as enjoyable. Which is a right pain in the arse.
Still, you gotta laugh, eh?