A friend of mine came over for a glass a wine the other night and while she took her coat off at the front door, I noticed a creepy looking bug on the ceiling. She volunteered to “remove the bug” if I got her a step stool.
Our ceilings are kind of tall and even on the third step of the stool you have to reach on your tippy-toes to stand a chance at the ceiling.
“I hate heights,” my friend muttered under her breath. She was all pleats, like a paper dragon, hesitating to extend and a little wobbly to boot.
“Why didn’t you say that before, forget the bug!” I wanted to yank her down off the stool, but things were precarious already. Any sudden movements seemed ill-advised. “I didn’t know you were afraid of heights. What do you do when you go skiing?”
“I scream a lot.” She confessed.
“That reminds me of a trip I took to Vail a hundred years ago,” I said to my friend. It was a New Year’s Eve trip I took with my husband when we were engaged. “That was a crazy trip. Did I ever tell you that story? Hmm, I should blog about that story.”
As she backed her way down to solid ground, like it was the last steps off Mount Kilimanjaro, she perked up rather quickly and asked, “How can you possibly blog about something that happened a hundred years ago? You remember the details?”
“Oh yeah. Of course I remember the details.”
I proceeded to tell her the story and she agreed it was a blog must. That skiing story to Vail prompted three unrelated flashbacks, which fractured into a handful of side anecdotes that fueld a bunch of digressions and a half dozen non-sequiturs, interrupted only by wide-open mouthed frantic silent uncontrollable howling convulsions.
The next morning, at my computer, I clicked onto my blog to write a new post−the story that I told my friend the night before. I lightly drummed the keyboard while the words would come to me−not really engaging any of the keys, as much as it was a little finger exercise to get the oxygen flowing from my hands to my brain and vice-versa.
Hmmm…I lifted my head to stretch my neck and to ponder what it was exactly I was going to blog about.
What the hell was it? What was the story? I crunched my brain cells and condensed my memory and strained for clarity. What was so funny, the thing we howled over, that story that I remembered all the details to? I racked my brains. I thought about how we sat in the kitchen talking about food and eating, and over-eating. Then we sat on the couch and talked about movies, what to see and who might win at the Oscars. Then we talked about work and art and what we wanted to be when we grew up. Hmm. Nothing. I couldn’t remember “the story.”
I texted my friend. “What was that story? The one I was going to blog about? The one I remembered all the details to?”
“Geez. Umm. I don’t know.” She texted. “Was it about the kids? Like when they were young? I think it was about the kids when they were young. But, that’s all I got.”
Yes! It was about the kids. I always blog about them. They are very funny people. And even funnier when they were young. Hmm…what was it about them?
Maybe I could nudge my friend’s memory. I texted her back.
“We laughed. Remember? A lot. No-sound laughs. Remember? Remember the story now? We thought we were going to pee from laughing so hard, remember?”
“Yeah! No. I don’t remember.”
Darn. Then all of a sudden I remembered a post I wrote months ago on remembering stuff. The post was titled: Memory Retention for DIYers. It gave 19 tips on how to improve memory retention naturally. One of the tips was to retrace your steps. Literally. Like say you were walking through your house and halfway through the living room you thought about taking something out of the freezer to defrost for dinner but by the time you got to the kitchen you couldn’t remember what you wanted to do there. According to this tip, you should go back to the living room and retrace your steps.
What did I have to lose? Nothing. So I got up from my computer and I walked to my front door and opened it. Then I closed it and said, “Hi, don’t you look fabulous! I’ll hang up your coat.” As I waited for my invisible, imaginary friend to take her coat off, I looked up at the ceiling. Don’t ask me why I did. I don’t know. But as soon as I looked at the ceiling I remembered the bug, the step stool, my quivering scared-chicken of a friend cowering on the third step, her purported fear of heights, a question about skiing, her confession about screaming and, and my Vail trip!
About which I remember all the details.
But that’s another story.