|Me, or an extra?|
Big deal. But something weird happened: as I listened, the long-ago image of myself that had materialized in memory began to change, or more accurately, things around the image began to change. The background rack-focused from blur to specific decor—a shag carpet that I never stood on in front of unfamiliar posters tacked to wallpaper that I never saw before—while my clothes morphed from a vague shirt and jacket I might've owned to striped pants and a garish turtleneck that I'm fairly certain I didn't own. My face remained the same, round and happy, a bit blurred, content, but everything around that face changed, and quickly, to a decade-specific style that I vaguely recognized as "true."
"Things you remember often change and date," Mark Doty says, "any more immediate perception replaced by the stories we tell about them. But that which we don't know we remember—well, those things seem untouched." Sure, but what happened to my memory feels less like dating than a kind of popular re-creation. Seventies Reenactment (line up for tickets): my biographical specifics replaced (improved?) by the notes of an assistant art director from That '70s Show. My rounded self rendered flat not by a flawed memory-making but by the intrusion of today's popular versions of the past. That's scary. I'm on guard now.
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