Thursday, October 20, 2005

Chain of Memories

I finally got a job. Started today. It surprised me quite a bit, seeing as how I didn't know it until about eight-thirty this morning. I work at my dad's place of employment now, and it is all right despite being temporary, seeing as how I am leaving for college in two weeks. The work isn't so bad. I only spent seven hours sweeping the floor. My dad sells and services pressure washers, and the back garage where most of their stuff is stored is really dusty. Not to mention that it probably hasn't been swept like that in six months. If at all. But I did my best, and would like to think that I've improved things, even if the job isn't finished. Its almost all swept, but no quite. When I was sweeping, in a brief moment when there was no other people around, I started whistling. I do that occaisionally, when no one is there to listen. But the song surprised me. I hadn't listened to it recently. So I stopped whistling, and sounded out the few bars that I could remember in my head, trying to place exactly where I had learned it. I picked up more and more, slowly working on it, and it hit me. It was one of the concert songs from my time in Jr.High band. I wish that I could actually remember it all as we played it, and feel a bit dissapointed in myself that I couldn't remember it all despite the hours upon hours of practicing. I mean rehearsing, as I didn't do all that much practicing on my own. Band was fun, especially because I changed instrument in the seventh grade from alto saxophone to tenor, changing from a section of nine to a section of one. That year for the christmas concert we played this one composition which was the Pink Panther and the Flinstones, and I was perfectly positioned as the only one with the part of the panther's melody. Yay for a solo. But I have to ask myself why I remembered this song. It really came from nowhere. The stuff about the concert and playing Pink Panther makes sense, it came from remembering on the line of the song, but why did I remember the song in the first place? One way to look at memories is that they are links in a chain, and you follow one to another to another, and soon you discover something that yoiu didn't realize that you knew, something surprising, a hidden item in a dark corner of your mind. But I don't think that the mind works that way. A chain is a good and strong collaboration of parts. You can do alot with a chain. With a chain of memories, obviiously not every link is equal but strong links can hold up weak ones, and insignificant details can be unearthed by the major ones. This linear connection also follows the passage of time, so it could be considered that recent events which are still fresh in the mind anchor the older ones, keeping them stored and safe. But for recollection it is insufficent. In order to get at vital memories of days long past one would have to work from present back, taking time despite the speed of synapses. Also, some things aren't memories at all; an example is a mathematical equation area equal pi r squared. You didn't experience this, yet I'm sure you remember learning it. It isn't a memory, but it is stored in your brain. And while everything that is remembered is linked to something, it is linked to several memories but not all memories. It is more of a web, the center of which is the present, what you are learning and experiencing now. Instead of the present anchoring the past, the past holds up the present. And while one thing leads to the remembering of another, it is not the only path of remembering. In Physiology we learned the difference between shrot and long term memory, how everything is stored first in the limbic system, a crescent shaped area of the inner brain, and it decides what gets moved to the cerebrum for long term storage. The limbic system also being the seat of emotion, emotionally powerful memories get tied down first, stored in the gray mass to be recalled instantly for years to come. That one battle of the World War II, though, that one that you know is so important but always forgot, even on the day of the tesy despite pulling an all nighter, wasn't emotionally powerful enough to get stored. The limbic system is also the primal part of the brain. The one thing that a baby knows when it comes out of its mother's womb is how his mother smells, and nothing else. This is the base from which it learns everything else, starting with how she looks and sounds, then to other things and people. Smells elicit emotions while bypassing the thinking parts of the brain. You smell smoke and you fell the danger before you think 'fire'. This emotional response is what has led to those deoderant commercials to say what they have said, that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. And this is why. But this just helps proove my web thoughts. The first thing that you know, the anchor to which everything else is tied to, is how your mother smells. From that you have the basis for everything else, even that battle from history class is tied to it. From one strong anchor you eventually get another, be it your sixth birthday where all of your friends were there and you recieved all of the presents you asked for, or it was that time when you were twelve and fell out of that tree and broke your arm, or that first date, or your first breakup. These emotionally charged events are ingrained upon the inside of your skull and cannot be removed; the extreme of both the good and the bad are with you until you die. Tied onto these events are the times that aren't so emotional, and tied to that are those facts that you had to memorize. Everything tied to each other, always there despite the darkness of the time spent without the conscious effort of remembering. You haven't forgotten them, you just haven't remembered them yet. Or at least most things are that way. The web does break, or rather some things didn't get attatched strong enough. You may remember what you had to eat for breakfast this morning, but do you remember what you ate last tuesday morning? Or dinner on May 5, 1994? This may seem meaningless, but if you can remember what you ate this morning, and its just as meaningless as every other time, then why do you remember it? The beauty of short term memory. All the everyday crap that you can drop into nothing without weighing down your mind. Some things don't need to be remembered. Some things aren't remembered. Other things you want to forget. Hopefully I will begin to forget a few things. Already the past, my life during high school, seems like it happened to someone else. I know that there will people at college that I had frequent interaction with in the past, but I almost hope to not see them, or if I do that they just ignore me. It happens already, friends from years past just looking past me in the halls. Or looked, now. I don't frequent many halls anymore. Some things won't leave, I know, but I hope to just bury them in new things. I'm not thinking about any particular memories, or any particular person. Just everyone. Already it is starting to become easy, the loosing of old ties. Hopefully there will be new people to replace them with, people that I won't want to forget. My dad delivered my housing contract today. It is about two months too late, and I won't be getting into the hall that I want, as I have been informed that it is already full. Instead I get to go pot-luck fora lesser dorm. Well, lesser in my mind, but I don't really deserve to be living with smart people anyways. I don't belong there. But I will sign up to take an opening as soon as one comes in. But, with the couple hundered that I will make in these last two weeks and the little bit that I have saved up, I will be able to buy most of a new computer. My dad is going to help me out, but I'm going to pay him back as much as I can. Another thought, just came to me. It might be related, but maybe not. I started dreaming again.I guess we dream every night, but I usually don't remember them when I wake up. Until recently. It is strange, and there is no real reason for it. The situations are always far out, but there is always someone that I know in it, also just playing their part. Which is usually themself. No, not always the same person, and not even the person that I would think that I would dream about. Only once, for them, of the few. Why do we dream? Why do I dream? Sometimes the story gets out of hand, so I stop it. Once I had this dream, a good while ago, where it started out all right but slowly grew stranger, so I started to fix it. As I corrected it, made it considerably better one thing at a time, I noticed that I was waking up. I wouldn't say that I was becoming conscious, for in order to fix a dream one must be conscious, even if one is asleep. But I didn't want to wake up yet, so I let the dream go, and it became weird again, but at least I was asleep. It wasn't so bad, really, I just thought that I could do a better job at it. But, in most of the dreams there is either a person that I know, or it is a circumstance that I have experienced. Why is this? Are my dreams tapping into my memory, temporarily tying together unrelated threads to create something alltogether different? I will go ponder this some more, as I try to sleep. Still, I do not think that I fall asleep, and that instead I only wake up from one dream into another. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.


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