You Must Remember This

I have a terrible memory at times.

That’s clearly not always true; there are people, places, events that I’ve lived through that live on inside my head in, at times, shocking fidelity despite happening decades earlier, things that I can see with such clarity right now even though it’s been years since I last thought of them. On some things, my memory is amazing. On others, though…?

I don’t mean this in the sense of not remembering people’s names when they’re introduced —although, yes, that, too — or misremembering the details of a story when retelling it. That’s just an everyday, shared experience, I think, the mistakes all of us make because our brains work the way they work. Yes, that’s a memory thing, but everyone has this version of memory, surely…? This isn’t the failure of my memory I’m talking about.

No, I’m talking about my constant surprise at things that not only happen on a recurring basis, but which I know enough to be able to predict. I’m talking about forgetting about the weather.

We had the first full flush of heat this year, recently. It had been teased for weeks, it felt like; the sun vanquishing the clouds in the sky, the temperature going to a level I’ll call “nice enough to ditch the sweater” but no further. It was clear that it was only a matter of time before things actually got hot. The weather forecast was checked over and over, and eventually the big day arrived… and I was surprised.

I wasn’t surprised by the heat per se; I was surprised by how it felt. Despite the fact that every single year this happens, I was surprised by how tired I feel when it’s hot, how the very air feels just that little bit thicker and more difficult to exist it, that little bit more draining. (This sounds particularly dramatic, I know; I’m overstating it to a degree, but I do wilt in warm weather for some reason. I blame my Scottish DNA.)

Like I said, this happens every year, and I know this. Every single year, summer is going to arrive and in a manner more literal than the Rock catchphrase that it sounds like, it’s going to bring the heat. Yet, each year when it does happen, it’s a surprise, somehow. I’m unprepared, and ultimately, unhappy for the crossover.

As I seem to remember saying, I really do have a terrible memory at times.

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