I’m away for two weeks on a work assignment, training a new manager. This means two weeks of hotel life, being away from my family and having lots of alone time.
I thought being away would give me time to work on writing, reading, deep thoughts and all that jazz. At home, as much as I love my situation and would never give it up, there is little opportunity for solitude. Because of this, I felt traveling would be a welcome respite; selfish time for me to do what I wanted to do and work on this little writing hobby for which I never seem to have time.
Instead, one week has proven that I just spend time wishing I was home. Or worrying about my work and situations beyond and not beyond my control. Or feeling so tired that all I want to do is lay in bed and watch preseason football.
However, yesterday I was encouraged by my girlfriend to have an adventure. So I braved the 114 degree heat index and took Uber to Colonial Williamsburg. I really enjoyed myself, even though I did not dress appropriately for a sweltering day.
My first act of adventure after purchasing my ticket was missing the stairs down to the bus to the actual “colonial” part of Williamsburg. I walked outside and down a path, looking at a very old windmill and looking at hot families (temperature, not attractiveness) walk by me and laugh or argue amongst themselves. I ended up walking all the way to the street back to town until I did something I hardly ever do – ask a stranger for directions. This is not a “guy thing”, I believe it’s more of an introverted/shy attribute, but in any case I was helped to the bus and made it to my destination.
I walked down Botetourt Street and passed by people dressed in period costume. Every time I passed one of these people and made eye contact, they were very friendly in greeting me in the language of the day. It actually made me feel like I was walking in some virtual reality Gunsmoke episode. Yes, I realize this is Virginia and not the old west, but that’s where my brain went at the time.
I tried to act as if I were actually back in 18th century Williamsburg. I went into Tarpley’s shop and looked at merchandise, wondering what I would buy if I had the wages of an average citizen. I walked past King’s Arms tavern and Shield tavern which both had long waits, but I pretended I didn’t stop because I was too poor. I spent almost 30 minutes down in the printing office and bindery, listening to an older gentleman talk about the process of book binding because…well, books are cool. I sat in the Courthouse for a 30 minute proceeding featuring cases such as the woman whose husband died before anyone could witness his will, and the 8 year old girl who was entering into a contract to be a seamstress’ apprentice for five years because her mother could no longer afford to keep her. I went to Chowning’s Tavern for food; a tavern described as being for the common folk and so inadvertently went along with my “too poor for the King’s Arms” story.
I was hot and exhausted but made it to the evening “Ghosts Among Us” tour I had paid for. It was a fun hour of storytelling and tame “scares”. The whole reason for this post though was the introduction to the tour by our guide. She told us that no cellphone use was allowed, as they did not want the storytellers disturbed and she wanted us to unplug for just one hour and enjoy the experience without trying to worry about pictures or video or incoming texts. Just to be…on our own.
It made me happy because I wouldn’t have to worry about taking great pictures, as it’s not my strong suit. It also made me a little sad, because my memory is definitely not my strong suit.
I may expand upon this subject more at a later time, but I will try to speed things up by saying I’ve had memory issues for as long as I can remember. No pun intended. Just this week I heard a cover song after going through a YouTube rabbit hole and thought to myself “What a great version of this song!”. When I went to “like” it on YouTube, I saw it had already been liked. About three years ago. I cannot fully describe right now how much that disturbed me.
So the thought of experiencing this hour of Ghosts Among Us without pictures made me realize that I probably won’t remember any of it in a couple of years. Unless I write about it now. Now the details of the hour? I’m not going to describe that here. I’m not going to turn this site into my personal journal. If I really need to start keeping a journal, I suppose I can do that privately. But still, the theme is an interesting one.
What constitutes something that I will remember versus something I will not? It’s not like I have amnesia, I’m able to function in society in a pretty normal fashion. I would lying, though, if I haven’t worried about my future and if this will get worse. I don’t know if the extant of my memory issues are normal or not. One person’s “oh that happens to me all the time” could really just be a small fraction of the things I have forgotten. Or perhaps there are others much worse. The fact still remains that if I didn’t have a map of my Colonial walking tour from yesterday, I would not have remembered the street or shop names. Is that normal? Do I just not make much effort to pay close attention to detail, or is there something wrong with me?
I don’t want to turn this into a novel. Honestly, I feel like a lot of this has to do with my central apnea. Although I don’t know how long I’ve had the condition, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had memory lapse issues since my 20’s at the very latest, so maybe it’s something else entirely.
Does this mean I have a less fulfilling life? Is this why I’m a fairly laid back and grudge free person – because I take “forgive and forget” quite literally?
I’m sure there’s a reason for this that will never be revealed to me. But I will do my best to enjoy as many days and as many moments to the best of my ability. If I’m not going to remember them years later, I want to squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of them that I can.