Memories are made of this

bummedBeen ruminating on memory a lot these past few days and meaning to write my thoughts down but kept forgetting to do it.  No, really.

Went to a memorial service for a relative recently and listened to personal reflections, many involving events I was present for, and found myself thinking, why don’t I remember that?, or that sounds vaguely familiar, but mostly, I don’t remember that at all.

Much of my distant past is a big blank spot. Seems the things I remember most are either the most painful, embarrassing moments or events that have become oft-told anecdotes. The latter trouble me a bit, because as a storyteller, I’m not above exaggeration or embellishment, and I worry, that over the years, the nugget of truth the tale was built upon, has been worn away by editorial license.

My mother passed the year I turned 17 and my remaining vision of her is equal parts myth and memory. Well-intentioned people have canonized her over the years, but as one of my sisters is wont to say, “Mom was no saint.”  While I don’t believe I’ve tried to make her out to be one, I do carry with me a feeling that she was always one of the few people that could help me make sense of the world.

I was at a high school reunion years ago, and a classmate I’d had some interaction with back then, approached me and said what he remembered most was how effortlessly I moved through the different social circles. And I’m thinking, what the f–k  are you talking about?! Because my recollection is one of awkwardness, constant self-loathing, and an unfulfilled desire to belong.

My siblings and my wife are sort of the USB’s of my life when it comes to memories. If I need something from my childhood fleshed out, one of my sisters undoubtably remembers it like it was yesterday. My wife’s recall is even scarier. She can tell you what people wore to specific events or relay practically every dream she’s ever had. I’m forced to defer to her version of events, even on those rare occasions where I actually do remember what took place.

I wish I remembered things from my past more clearly. It might go a long way towards easing my present state of mind. But to hear my siblings tell it, there was much of my childhood that was happy. Perhaps that’s the best way to remember it.

Come watch the Champions League this Wednesday!

I will be at Maggie McGarry’s Irish Pub in North Beach this Wednesday, April 29th at 11:45AM PST to watch Arsenal FC vs. ManUre in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Semi-Final.

Photography by Kay S. Jay

Photography by Kay S. Jay

So play hookey from work, school, or simply shirk whatever obligation you may have, to join me and other members of the Bay Area Gooners to urge on the mighty Gunners!

If recent matches are any indicator, we should have a great group to watch with!

The bad relationship nexus outside our window

I’m not sure what it is about our block in San Francisco, but we are regularly awakened by couples in the throes of a relationship meltdown. This phenomena has manifolded in recent years. Maybe the advent of reality television has given more people the confidence to act out their ill-fated dramas in public, though I suspect from the things we’ve heard, these unions were on shaky ground from their inception.

Last night for example, I was awakened by the plaintive wail of a woman responding to the rage of her partner, as he attempted to shout her into submission. From across the street, I could not make out the words, but the gist seemed clear enough. Then moments later, another couple passed under our window, she wanted to linger for a moment, perhaps to be sure the other woman was not in danger. Unfortunately, her male companion was not at all like-minded, telling her, This is one of these stupid things you do that drives me f–king crazy.

And so it goes on our street. Other gems of tenderness that have roused me from a good night’s sleep have included a man telling a tearful woman, Between your neurosis and your insecurities, you are making me crazy, a diminutive woman poking the man towering over her repeated, yelling, Stupid, you’re stupid. These things always happen because you’re stupid. I looked at this timid fellow, standing there and taking it, thinking, maybe she has a point.

Then there was the young lady running down the street, as her admirer plodded after her shouting, I love you, I love you, why are you running?, I love you. I’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve failed to sleep through the night because of two people, who by every indication, are not meant to be together.

When discussing this, my missus and I alway wonder, what has become of boundaries, both private and public. Not only would we never speak to each other in such a fashion, but any conflict that does arrive, is played out sans audience, as anything else, would not only show a complete lack of decorum, and be just plain embarrassing.

Actually, dear reader, the truth is, I’d be in BIG trouble.