Nostalgia is a siren’s song, all pretty ‘fa-la-las’ right up until it sucks you into the depths… One day you are a perfectly sane individual who just prefers the oldies channel on the radio, then overnight you become a crazy old bat who rambles about ‘kids today’ to cashiers at the grocery store.
The problem is that nostalgia is like gel on the camera lens, softening all those images in your head. And the further back into your memory you go the thicker that gel gets, smearing everything until your young life is like a beautiful Monet, a sort of, kind of vision of reality.
So far, I have been spared the calling of nostalgia, seeming to draw more comfort from historical accuracy. It’s the same personality quirk that makes me more accepting of wrinkles than Botox – because every wrinkle tells a story and even if some of those stories are sad, I don’t want to erase them.
That said, I admit that there are a few things I might like to recall in less vivid detail… like the ‘body perm’ I got in junior high that left me with a full-on afro for six months (no pale-skinned, freckled girl can make this look work for them). Or my early attempt at drinking which involved a wine called Lonesome Charley that came in a six pack (yep… it was a six-pack of wine… makes a box of wine seem positively sophisticated, eh?). Wound up with me being driven home from the party in the back of a pickup truck, covered in an oddly fluorescent shade of pink vomit that ruined my jean jacket.
And there were a couple of boyfriends who broke my heart (you KNOW who you are!) and a larger number who wasted my time with sloppy kisses and other disappointing maneuvers (you all know who you are too!)
But maybe the perm and the wine and even the lacklustre boyfriends deserve to be remembered in clarity. I have three daughters who have all been spared the agony of ‘permdom’ because of my hard-earned wisdom. And although I probably cannot remove hangovers and bad relationships from their futures, I will at least be able to offer up a bit of ‘been there, done that‘ comfort (with my “I told you so”).
Life is a mad compilation of things you want to keep doing forever and things you wish you had never done. And in between are a zillion moments you don’t even notice at the time, like walking the dog on a sunny morning or making dinner while the kids practice piano and do homework all around you. I want to remember everything … except maybe that perm…