Thursday, 3 November 2016

A Little Silver Slipper of a Moon

I'm surprised by the details I continue to recall from my American odyssey, particularly now we're in autumn and I've raced on (at my own reading speed) to other countries, to other eras, to other mundane life situations or complications of youth and adulthood involving other protagonists, but then perhaps I shouldn't even claim these callbacks as entirely my own because most of the time I don't try, they come unbidden and out of keeping with whatever I might be doing at the time or if there is a link it's tenuous, not something that anyone else would make, let alone comprehend unless explained, hence the surprise.
And then there's the element of surprise when I do try, only to find the detail I want has gone AWOL; the character having told their part of the story has gone walkabout or the name of the town, now its existence is neither here or there, has vanished, so that I go around with a pinched expression as if I'm controlling a mechanical arm in a concentrated bid to win a toy. I mentally scan, grab the first letter of the mislaid word, and then cast about for its other fellow letters or associations. Yesterday the letter in play was 'W': Wing, Wing, I'm sure it's Wing-something. Wingfield! Is Wingfield a surname? No, that can't be right, it seems an uncommon sort of name. The doubts creeping in and indeed persisting until I succumbed to Google and confirmed my grey matter had triumphed; the irony not lost that I should trust and seek reassurance from a search engine in the belief that it will, in all likelihood, lie to me less and cast far less uncertainties than my own circuitous memory, which I think must be an irregularity like a mole or a birthmark, for surely I should have more faith in my own learned knowledge and not have to check it against some outside resource which may or may not be accurate. Indeed, both are error-prone and yet one relies more heavily on the technology-devised brain to give not just clues but concrete facts.
Still, yesterday I evened up that imbalance though heaven knows I've forgotten the score. And then, once reassured in my faculty's retentiveness of useless yet interesting data, I remembered more without looking, which pleased me no end, since even if this proves to be nothing more than a memory exercise it should starve off dementia, as all it needs is a little prod. Doctors should take heed of that when they ask you questions which have answers you never cared for then or now. Why the hell would you take the trouble to retain anything if it held no interest for you? And yes, that might include the name of the current Prime Minister! I'd rather hang onto the things I've loved, either by name or image, and not strain to remember those that matter to me personally very little.
In an earlier paragraph, I mentioned that my mind is circuitous (I did, didn't I?!) Well, anyhow, it is and that I've just proved by the removal of myself from the beaten track to wander with you in the bush for a while, but now, after several rotations and a few puzzled compass gazes, I spy the natural path once more and really think we should return for nightfall is not far off. I've heard there are bears, and grateful though I am for your company I would not make a happy camper, although I did take the precaution of bringing a bell should a bear emergency arise, which I admit to originally thinking was some kind of folkloric legend. Perhaps now would be the best time to unpack it from my knapsack but it does rather make one feel like a school mistress in a yard instructing her charges to stop play immediately and line up. What if I rung it and then looked behind to find a line of bears?
A silly scenario, but then stranger things have happened and been reported. And nothing in my imagination is out of bounds, I'm freer there than I am anywhere, though I draw the line at making such things materialise, but should it happen, well, I'm not to blame. The circumstances happened to be right and I was just there. If this was a play, I might employ a screen to project my mental images at infrequent intervals, like how they used to do in Charlie Chaplin films, except these wouldn't state but highlight pictorially what's coming next. Screen: A little silver slipper of a moon under which a young girl and an older woman stand, because I'm about to rejoin the Wingfield clan on my armchair travels.

Picture credit: Maggie Cain and Joanne Dubach in Mary-Arrchie's Theatre Co's production of The Glass Menagerie. Photo by Emily Schwartz (Chicago Theatre)