The other day, I was chatting with my sister while the two of us perused stuff on the Internet. My sister chanced upon this button, which says “I am gone forever. [Exit, pursued by a bear.]”
And then, because it was just the two of us, I felt completely free to unleash the full force of my enthusiasm upon her, and immediately replied, rather incoherently (for such is my joy at stumbling upon bits of things that I love in real life), “That’s a famous stage direction! And Mary Stewart uses it as the chapter-heading quote in one of the chapters of Madam, Will You Talk? It’s Shakespeare; from The Winter’s Tale!”
Immediately after my enthusiastic outburst, however, I teetered on an edge of the abyss of insecurity, primarily because people often find my memory disconcerting, not to say downright creepy. Not knowing me, you are perhaps even at this moment making the face I encounter so often, one of disbelief, mingled with fear, at the things that I remember.
I always used to think of remembering things about people as being a courtesy – confirmation that I was, in fact, listening. For the purposes of avoiding that face, though, I’ve adopted a strategy (false as it is) where I pretend that I don’t remember various details about other people’s lives. Most people don’t realize that a good memory can be a kind of curse, and you find yourself wishing that you didn’t remember – or at least not with quite so much clarity.
I said, “Do you think I’m a creep because I remember things?”
My sister laughed.
I said, “As in, ‘Exit, pursued by a bear’?” (I didn’t say, “And that I remembered an obscure usage of the quote?” but it was implied.)
She said, “No,” and then said, “You have a good memory. Embrace it. Celebrate it.” She said I should say, “Yo, I gots a good memory. You gotta problem wit’ dat?”
Perhaps next time I am confronted by the disconcerted face, I will break that one out. But I doubt it. Ye olde “popular vernacular” tends not to roll off my tongue in a very convincing manner.