Finally getting organized to go to New York and Washington next week, for my mother's memorial service at Arlington Cemetary; and staying with my sister in New York, plus catching up with a few old friends.
I went through my old addresses database – now increasingly supplanted by the data shared between my phone and computer; but at one time an elaborately structured Filemaker document, organized under major parts of the world (as they appeared in my life), people's names, addresses, how I know them... as so many connections have become virtual now, the locations aren't as important as they once were, but it's nice to be able to call up 'NYC' and get anyone in that general area. (Even New Jersey!...)
Yes, the database does have various kinds of weird resonance: relatives, people I love, people I've forgotten, people I barely remember – I do have a poor memory for realities, and I easily lose track of things. For some names, an entire emotional/physical history, a powerful presence, springs up as I read the name – including people I literally haven't thought about in fifteen or twenty years.
And there's the eerier, sadder problem of so many dead, from AIDS or, now, from aging: in the 1980s I can remember Bill (then best friend, accompanist, now a choral director at Berkeley – and we haven't spoken since what, the mid-1990s) talking about his list of those who had died of AIDS. I think he used a spreadsheet; at one point I started to think about transferring names to a separate Filemaker database, at least to prevent constantly coming across all those painfully lost names. The organization of that disintegrates soon enough; exasperatingly, there are many for whom I'm not sure whether or not they are still alive – and it is not the kind of search that seems very pleasant, so it gets indefinitely put off, of course.
Today, weirdly enough, a name from the WDC list – a Steve: and I suddenly, if fuzzily, recall being intensely in love with a man who seemed only mildly interested in me – perhaps thirty years ago. I can remember trying to contact him, trying to act cool, but wanting desperately to get any kind of attention from him at all...
But all I remember now is the story; I remember hardly another thing about him. That he was blond, not tall, and I was in love.
The rest is gone....