Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Assault In Memory Lane

The problem with taking a trip down memory lane is that you can’t control the route. Doesn’t matter what kind of satellite system you use, which maps you consult- memory lane has a mind of its own.

Sometimes it’s a cul-de-sac: you try and steer it towards something you want to revisit, but no matter how much you try and divert the kerb stones, or pile on more tarmac, it just peters out. There may even be a big prohibitive sign proclaiming NO ROAD BEYOND THIS POINT, or a little aluminium barrier; point is- you can’t take that chain of thought any further.

I don’t like it much at all.

Memories seem to take on a life of their own. A little like visiting the quaint rural cottage where you spent your formative years, only to find it replaced with a dog food production plant. You try and remember situations as they were: the people, the places, and yet you can usually only recall parts of the route. Erosion must have digested the rest.

In memory lane, there are too many dark doorways. You head off, skipping happily as you remember how you used to eat those icecreams with the flake stuck in them on summer holidays as a child, when, BLAM- an unrelated memory jumps out of a doorway and mugs you. It doesn’t ask politely if it can take over your head for a moment, it assaults you. When the violation is over, you wonder if it’s possible to remove memories permanently. Sometimes, you don’t even want to go down that stretch of memory lane, but you can’t help yourself, and whole gangs of muggers batter you senseless, and all the while you lie there helpless.

Program the setting to Happy Day, ten years ago, and you find yourself plummeting over a cliff, fumbling for glimpses of the past- brittle roots which snap off in your hands as you head for the cruel rocks below.

There are plenty of things I wish I could forget. Things I did, things I regret. Things that happened to me over which I had no control.

So. What to do?

Well, for me, memory lane is under construction. It’s got tape around it at the moment, and isn’t quite ready for heavy traffic, but every day with my friends, family and especially my children and K, I’m creating new side roads, special pavements, fresh views and, with time, it’ll be a place I will come to often.

I don’t want to live in the past, but I do want to create a past worth remembering.

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