I've never been very good at remembering things out of context. I forget directions, names, faces. I can watch a TV show for years, and be utterly unable to tell anyone the names of any of its characters if it's not going on right in front of me. I can do the same with people that I've been around for longer. I'm forgetful with objects, too. If I'm okay with keeping track of my keys if I always, always transfer them immediately to my pocket after using them, but if I set them down somewhere--well, they're just gone. After the third time I did that with a house key, I took to wearing it around my neck on a chain, the way some people do the cross. And at the risk of sounding blasphemous, I think a part of me hoped that the key around my neck would work as a sort of talisman, warding off future evil bouts of absent-minded forgetfulness.
Yeah, that didn't work very well.
Because another category of things I'm forgetful of is dates. More specifically, birthdays. Even more specifically, one birthday in particular. It's not my brothers'. Got those locked down. It's not my father's--I can remember that one by virtue of knowing it lands on the same day as two other people whose birthdays Facebook notifies me of. And it's not the birthday of the dog of my new roommate whom I've known for less than two weeks, which I know because it's written on our fridge. Nope. It's my mom's, it was yesterday, and damn my eyes for being an inconsiderate son, because I forgot again just like I do EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. Even worse is that my poor memory was double-stacked against me. My father (you can bet HE always remembers) sent me a text to remind me to call, but because I forgot my phone, unplugged and unpowered all day, I didn't get the message until it was too late. (Well, almost too late; I was saved by virtue of the time difference between here and Saskatchewan--and my other got a literally eleventh hour phone call wishing her a happy birthday from the worst son ever.)
My mother is a wonderful, caring person (Actually, let's expand on that a little--it's no exaggeration to say that anything I have resembling a moral code comes from the example set by my parents; my mother has taught me how important it is to stand up for what you believe is right, even if it means standing up against those in power, or speaking for those who have none, just by doing it herself time and again. I could go on about that at great length, but the main subject here is how stupid I am, not the virtues of my family--otherwise, we'd be here all night), and gracefully forgave me my repeated offense, like she does every year. Frankly, I don't think I should be let off the hook so easily. I am a grown-ass man (you can generally tell how grown up someone is by the use of the word "ass"). At my age, people usually have a lot of responsibilities--spouses, children, proper jobs, mortgages, car payments--and they manage. Me, I can't get a damned "save the date" right. Not next year, though. This ain't happening again. I've set myself up a series of notifications: one from my work email, one from my personal email, one on the blog itself, one on Facebook, and one on my phone. Every one is set to trigger on September 6th of 2013, or the day before. Then we'll see who can and cannot remember a significant annual event. (Okay, technically I still won't remember it, but I'll have remembered that I won't remember it, and compensated accordingly.)
The worst part is that this is the second time I've forgotten my phone in the last two months, and the second time I nearly missed an important family event, or at least wasn't as much a part of it as I should have been because of that forgetfulness. I'm sick of doing that. My roommates, old and new, have their family over frequently, and I often feel a pang of loss when I think of the connection I gave up when I moved here. It's a connection that is important to me, and I feel that's grown a little more tenuous of late, and that's entirely my fault. I don't talk to my family enough, and I don't go home enough. The latter I can't do a lot about--finances and work keeps me away a lot. But I can do more about the talking. Admittedly, I really don't like talking on the phone, to anyone. Part of that's the context thing from earlier--I have a lot of trouble following what people are saying if there isn't a clear sense of place and embodiment to them. And there's a part of me that dreads nothing more than that static silence when no one can think of anything to say. (One of the perils of being in game studies is that your life is rather boring to those not interested in games.) So I let things slide, a bit. And a bit more. And so forth. Okay, fine; it's hard. It'll get easier, and it's time to make more of an effort. Mom, if you're reading this, I think the best thing that could come out of me forgetting AGAIN is that I use that mistake as a drive to reconnect with with my family. It's not much of a gift, but I hope you'll accept it anyway.
(Unless everyone else in the family is entirely happy with the current
level of communication, and will actually be bothered by my attempts to
increase it, in which case, um, I mean well. Sorry.)