“I feel like my mother,” I said bitterly to this friend, convinced, as all women are, that this metamorphosis from individual into clone of parent was inevitable. “I can’t remember anything about what I’ve read, much less where I read it.”
“That’s scary,” said friend and ordered another vodka.
I blame Bloglines.
I can’t remember (see?) who introduced me to the thing but now I hate to travel because I dread returning to find thousands of unread posts from over 80 feeds. These thousand odd posts, you must remember (since I can’t), do not include those posts that I save to read later. As of this morning the posts I have already read but have saved for reasons I can no longer remember, now number 1035.*
How did this happen? How did I allow myself to turn into this collector of bright shiny but ultimately useless virtual objects? Every few days I get anxiety attacks. Will I ever return to those posts and see why I needed to save them? I scan each feed and delete articles. When I get the numbers down to below a thousand I feel a sense of great achievement, but this is increasingly becoming harder to do because apparently there are so many brilliant people out there whose words I cannot bear to have vanish into the ether.
What I do now is delete entire feeds. This is a good thing because though it may not make a difference to the number of posts I already have saved, what it means is that I get rid of potentially saveable posts from even appearing on my horizon. I’m really not sure why I need so many of these things – poems I want to keep; photographs; some phrases I have to come back to…
Talking of which, I really am that Thieving Magpie: a compulsive stealer of phrases. I read something I like and I have to have it for later use. What’s that? Why don’t I just write it down, instead of saving a whole post in which one phrase will be buried? What? Now I have to keep pen and paper on a desk that’s already cluttered with CDs and staplers and assorted drawings and string and paper weights?
This is not to say that I don’t carry around a diary for just such things as found phrases and the products of my own fevered imagination. I have a diary in every bag I carry ( I don’t always have a pen, but that’s another story) . And one in the bathroom and one by the bed. Yes. Some of my best thoughts come to me just as I've either soaped myself or when I’m about to drop off to sleep, so there’s a torch and a diary and a pen (but no water-proof pages). It’s an entirely different matter that what was so brilliant in the middle of the night is all dross in the morning. We do not deal in such clichés. Let’s just say that the morning brings hard work and the night brings much too much illumination for proper sleep.
So this morning, I was making coffee and supervising the milk and packing lunch at a quarter past five when I had the most amazing insight into human nature. It was stunning in its clarity and originality. I was certain that this thing was too large to disappear; I could hold on to this thought while wondering at the same time whether I had already put salt in the pulao or not.
This is the trouble with having nothing in the kitchen to write on except the calendar. I forgot what I totally, totally understood about people before sunrise this morning.
So much for what all this sustained waking up at dawn is supposed to do for your memory. There's a connection between this and why I have so many posts saved on Bloglines. I just know it.
There's a connection between this and why I have so many posts saved on Bloglines. I just know it.
*I thought of writing this post when the number was a beautiful one, like 1111 but I …