Reviewing the

The older I get, the more I realize that my long-term memory is very keyed off of sense memory and instants, rather than any coherent narrative. I’m not sure if this is the way that things work for everyone else or if I’m the odd one out, but I remember a chain of events as if it’s something I’ve read or been told, even when they’ve happened to me — something that I shorthandedly think of as flattening events into a straight line — while I can remember absolutely everything about very specific, seemingly meaningless, instants or seconds that just nonetheless feel fully immersive as soon as I even nod in their general direction.

I was thinking about this lately as I prepped for this year’s Emerald City Comic Con. I offhandedly tried to remember what the weather was like the year before, so I could think about what clothes to pack, and instead of any coherent “well, on the Thursday of the show, it was like this” response, my brain immediately flashed back to running from the hotel to the convention center on the first day, trying not to think too much about the rain as I listened to “Reviewing the Situation” by Sandie Shaw.

I remembered crossing the roads, the precise path I took and the sense of, Well, this year’s show needs me to do X, Y, and Z as I did so, listing off that day’s to-dos to make sure that I didn’t forget anything important. (I did, but I remembered before it was too late.) I remembered the coffee shop I passed, thinking, maybe I should get something now while I have the chance and then convincing myself that I should be responsible and get it done after my first work for the day. (A bad decision; work took over and suddenly it was lunchtime and I was starving.)

I remembered everything with such clarity and detail, even though it was this minor moment on the way to a show. But when I try to think, well, what happened on the Thursday of the show last year, it’s as if I’m reciting a list to myself instead of anything so detailed. I can’t work out if this is a gift, a curse, or simply the way everyone’s memory works… and if I think about it too much, I just end up derailed on another odd sense memory from years ago…

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