Sunday, July 29, 2012

Making Time: Forgetting and letting go even in the age of digital memory

Summer in D.C.

In the Facebook era (or has that era already passed and I’m showing my age?), internet users are connected to everyone. We can, and do, keep track of people whose lives give us bouts of agita. We should forget them, but don’t.

What happens when we can’t find someone whom we did, in real life, care for? Sometimes we can happily leave the past in the past in order to stay in the present.

The smell of honeysuckle recently reminded me of an old, summer friend from childhood. On Long Island, we rode bikes, walked on the beach, played card games and went fishing. One twilight, I remember trying to catch silvery ghosts with a net off the dock. We kept throwing back jellyfish that found their way into the net and trying again.

I remember this friend's first name, but not has last. I can’t find him on Facebook or in dusty, handwritten address books or journals. I don’t remember ever calling him, just spending time together whenever he’d ride up on his bike.

It is almost relief not to be able to find him. We were kids and had kid-fun. A few lovely, non-digital memories from childhood. Which leaves me time to keep in touch current friends instead of clicking randomly through old friends, their friends and random others, ultimately doing very little.

And I can return to my writing. 

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