Friday 14th August - Memory

Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us ~ Oscar Wilde

Ever since I can remember I’ve known how to play the piano. I had a lesson here and there at secondary school, but quickly became fed up of playing scales over and over again. I’m not great, but I can perform a piece or two. It may come as a surprise to you but I can’t actually read notes; the same goes for when I play the drums. I think it’s been seven years since I first learnt how to play, and perhaps a year since I’ve played anything, but seat me in front of a piano and my muscle memory will effortlessly guide my fingers across the keys.

What fascinates me is the way our memory works. Is there something within our subconscious that chooses what to remember? If this is the case, why can I remember trivial things such as Angela Lansbury was the teapot in Beauty and the Beast? Or that an oenophile is someone who appreciates wine? And yet, I can’t remember my first day at school - or much of my primary school life for that matter. I even struggle to recall what I ate yesterday…

My mind’s like a box of Trivial Pursuit cards - but with the questions torn off.

I've read that we sometimes forget certain things because old information is replaced by new information. But that still doesn't answer my question. Why would anyone in their right mind choose useless facts over noteworthy memories? Maybe we don't actually get a chance to choose? Maybe our collection of memories are filtered by a Sorting Hat? Or perhaps they were just not that noteworthy after all?

Anyway, I’ve come to three possible conclusions:

1. My mind prefers to remember things that give me a false sense of security and contentment, veiling a set of memories that are too overwhelming to recall
2. I’ve developed dementia in my old age
3. I had a difficult childhood featuring a talking teapot and a lot of wine

I'm thinking the third one is most likely.

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