Sunday’s Theme Music

Today’s song popped out of nowhere into my stream, nowhere being an easy reference to the interior realms of the space where my little gray brain cells huddle for warmth. But overhearing the women across the coffee shop talking (powerful stage voices), the song is appropriate.

“Changes” by David Bowie (1972) was already nestled in my cerebellum when I sat down but I wasn’t sure if it was today’s music. Then I heard the women talking.

First, they mentioned streaming services. They were comparing Netflix and Amazon Prime (or Prime Video), and how they share and release shows and movies on their sights. Talking about Amazon Prime prompted one to mention the free two-day shipping on many items, and the associated guarantees. A joke about getting stuff faster so you would order more faster emerged. Memories about ordering stuff in the old days and getting it six to eight weeks followed. It usually came by mail, too. UPS and Fed Ex trucks weren’t rushing around every where in those days.

Then they talked about catalogs. Spiegel’s. Sears. Montgomery Wards. Ah, yes, they’d ordered from all of them, and had fond memories of ordering from the Spiegel’s calendar. (I’ve ordered from them all, too, especially when I lived outside of the U.S. in the 1970s.) The women then recollected tales of the outhouse where the Sears catalog sometimes ended up, as those thin pages worked well to clean up after your business.

Last, they recalled S&H Green Stamps and using a sponge to paste pages at a time.

Yep, “Changes” is appropriate for today, from the weather and the seasons, to the music and the times, and how long it takes for your order to arrive.

I decided to use this Youtube offering of “Changes” because of Bowie’s photo. Look at the lad. Ah, changes.

Just A Dream Snippet

Just a dream snippet remains from last night’s viewing. It felt like the dreams were on, but like the television running in the background while I was doing something else. Not much seemed noticed.

The one time that I remembering seeing the Dream Vee, I had butter on my arm. It was a twenty-year-old version of me. I laughed about that and was talking with someone else, showing them where I had butter on my forearm.

I know my dream age, because my image was lifted off a photograph that I saw not too long ago. My hair was dark and thick, but cut military short, and my mustache was dark and heavy. My wife and I had gone to a shopping mall. At her encouragement, I bought a pale yellow, short-sleeved shirt, the top that you pull over, with a three-button Henley packet. It became a favorite shirt for a few years.

While I was laughing about the butter and attempting in dream-muddled-confusion to understand how I’d come to have this thick, long streak of butter on my right forearm,  I realized how yellow it was. At that point, I heard, spread yellow light over your body.

That’s all that’s remembered.

Gadfloof

Gadfloof (floofinition) – a housepet who provokes others into action by criticism.

In use: “A true gadfloof, Raven beckoned Suzo forth with mews and glances until Suzo followed her. When they stopped, Raven sat down in front of the litter box. She looked at Suzo and then dolefully looked at the box. Suzo looked at Raven. Raven looked at the box again and Suzo realized it needed to be cleaned.”

Rewind

Sometimes, someone mentioned something that I did or said, and I respond, quite intelligently, “What? I did?” Then I’m required to think back, struggling through the murkiness of memory to determine if they were right. What’s weird is how it sometimes feels like I’m rewinding a tape, going backwards in my head until the moment springs up and provides me with the Eureka moment.

Happened a few nights ago when someone said that I’d mentioned a book and the movie made from the book. After rewinding, I came across the point when I’d mentioned Freakonomics to him.

 

PINS and Needles

Approaching the ATM, I process a mental flowchart. Which account am I using today? What PIN is required? There’s a line, so I wait, but while waiting, I begin to doubt that I’ve remembered the correct PIN for this account. I start going through PINs and their applications. Some were based on phone numbers, prompting recall of the whole telephone number and where I lived then, triggering memory of the address and where I worked, and my office number, further driving me from certainty that I have the right number, and suddenly opening up a memory chasm which swallows the PIN I’m supposed to be using, launching me into panic about the fucking PIN number – number is redundant, you idiot – and then it’s my turn and I step up and remember —

And then it’s all good. All that worrying was for naught.

Her Memory

She’d found herself forgetting everything. It was, she explained to friends and families (who didn’t seem interested), like a wall or chasm existed between the answer and the question. She knew the answer was on the other side, but she couldn’t reach it.

This infuriated her. She’d been a five-time champion on Jeopardy! Ask her anything about culture, politics, arts and literature, physics and chemistry, or geography and history, and she could give you a quick, correct answer. Or could. Now it was changing.

She would not accept this. She adapted, because that was her nature, first keeping copious notes on calendars and notebooks about everything that happened. Nothing was too mundane. Updating her calendars and notebooks took from fifteen minutes to an hour every day, and was done as part of her ritual of preparing to retire for the night. Memories of more personal matters were augmented via recordings. The first recordings were done with a small Sony tape recorder. She switched to digital as the technology matured and became cheaper and more reliable. Eventually, she started making digital video recordings and storing them on the cloud. Then she could see and hear herself, reassuring herself of who she was and who she’d been.

By then, she’d retired. By then, her hair was wispy and white, and she wore wigs, out of vanity. By then, she’d buried her third husband and second child, and her parents and siblings. By then, she’d gone through cancer in her cervix and successful treatment, and had a hip replaced after a fall, and was treated for glaucoma, and celebrated her ninetieth birthday. By then, many friends had died or moved away, or were in hospice, or couldn’t remember her. By then, new technology emerged for an augmented digital memory, something like Keanu Reeves’ character had in Johnny Mnemonic. She’d enjoyed the book (by William Gibson) (because she loved science fiction and fantasy), but didn’t like the movie. But then, she’d never been a huge Keanu Reeves fan, outside of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, although he wasn’t bad in the first Matrix film.

Technology improved. She gave her memory a name, George, after her first husband. George would chat with her about what she needed to know and do, and what had happened, who said what when.

A new product, “Your Best Friend,” emerged. Using smart technology embedded in phones, computers, cars, houses, and businesses, her memory could have a holographic presence and a voice outside her head, almost everywhere, almost all the time.

She loved this aspect. She named her new memory Jean, after a friend she’d lost in her past. She and Jean had shared many good times together, and she thought it would be better to have a dead girlfriend as a faux companion rather than a dead husband.

She and Jean went everywhere together. It was initially a little strange to others and she was self-conscious about it, because it was all new, and others didn’t have virtual holographic friends. Others thought it odd, or that she was weird, or demented, you know, delusional. She was on the cutting edge. If her husband(s) could see her now. Hah!

Technology improved and became cheaper and more prevalent. Soon, many people had such companions, nannies, guards, and mentors. Eventually, she forgot that this was her memory.

Her memory had become her best friend, which, if she thought about it, was how it should be.

 

The Clean Out

It was the final clean out; they would no longer live there.

They’d been three generations of readers. He, the grandfather, no longer there, had led them into that society. He was always buying, reading, borrowing, and lending books, but his apex moments came when he talked about them with others. By talking, he enjoyed a significant amount of listening, to hear what others thought about the books, to calibrate, validate, and counter his personal findings. These predilections for books led to a ginormous collection. Shelves of books filled several family room walls. More cases of books were in the hallways and living room. Other collections guarded the bedrooms. Stacks of books decorated tables. Other books had to sit on the floor.

With him gone, and the house being cleaned, they went through the books and kept a few they considered the crown jewels. The rest had, lamentably, to go. Friends were told, “Come and get books. Take whatever you want.” Her concern was not to get rid of the books, but to find others who loved them as much as he had.

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