Currently questioning the relevance, or the particulars of Memory, and specifically, the confirmation, or re-confirmation of memory (if that’s even a thing… James?)
I spent a year living in Winchester back in 2003. Other than a quick visit in 2004, which caused me to fail at least two uni subjects, I’ve never been back until today.
That’s 8 years. 8 years that I’ve spent becoming a completely different person while simultaneously forgetting aspects of the place and then replacing those gaps with perhaps more improved or better reworked versions of those memories. At least, that’s what I assume, because everything else that I thought was amazing at the age of 19 has since turned out to be, well, not that spectacular in retrospect.
First thing I did on arrival is follow the old tow-path along the river that I used to coach rowing on. That path is, incredibly, exactly the same, even the puddles are in the same spots 8 years down the track (so to speak). At this point, the entire experience really is just a reconfirmation: yes, those spaces are exactly as they are in your memory.
The striking, and perhaps upsetting aspect however, is the realisation that those spaces are just that. Without the rowing, without the other coaches, without any of the original reasons I’m so familiar with that path, it becomes just an ordinary path along an unremarkable river.
Which means it’s always been about the people, a particularly tardy one of which I’m waiting to arrive at the local pub, another space I’m currently reconfirming. Thankfully, the only thing they’ve changed is the relaxation of the ‘no mobile phones’ policy and the edition of high speed wifi.