WonderWife™ and I have a long-standing private joke. Years ago, we overheard some off-handed remark made by a little girl and we thought it was funny. Since then, we have lobbed this line at each other, knowing it will always earn a smile from the other. What the girl said isn’t important. The important part, for this story anyway, is where we heard it. Or at least where we think we heard it.
I recently discovered that WonderWife™ and I have different recollections of where the joke originated. Completely different. We both agree that it was on our honeymoon and that the little girl was at the pool of the hotel. But on our trip, we stayed at two different hotels on two different islands of Hawaii and we each have a memory of this taking place at a different hotel.
My memory of the event is clear. I recall the pool and where the girl was in the pool. I remember details like where I was in relation to the girl. The girl was there with her brother and was taking to her father. I remember WW™ beside me, laughing as we walked past. Admittedly I have a poor memory, so the fact that I can conjure this up with crystal clarity speaks volumes. However, WW’s™ competing memories of the event are equally as vivid.
So we have one story with two completely different versions of how it happened. The plain truth is that one of us is wrong. One of our memories is a total fabrication. One of our brains is deceiving us. Yet there is no way we will ever know the truth. It’s like a real life version of Rashomon.
It’s startling to realize that just because a memory is vivid, doesn’t mean it’s true. Our brains are the most unreliable of narrators.
Periodically, somebody will ask me why I write this blog. I’ve never had a satisfying answer…until now. I love to write and I adore the small audience of people who are kind enough to read my words. But the reason why I write is so I can capture the moments of my life and the lives of my kids. Because I know that just because you remember something, it doesn’t mean that it actually happened.