When a Million Gigabytes Isn’t Enough

See that little guy in the middle? My daughter spotted him.

Words written in my novel so far: 27,383

Blades of grass that are still green in our yard: 2

Visits from an old friend in the last 24 hours: 1

In sixth grade, I stood in front of the orchestra each day before class and sang “Rhythm of the Night” by El DeBarge. People heard me.

There. Now I have no more secrets left in the world. My life is officially an open book.

The good news is that people I knew in middle school still act like they want to be my friend. I know. Weird, right?

So a good friend who I knew in middle school but didn’t get to be awesome, amazing, lifelong friends with until high school stopped by last night with her kids. Every single time I see her, she mentions something that makes me realize that my memory is not as wonderful as I previously imagined.

Possibly, between the two of us, we could reconstruct, hour by hour, each sordid day of high school in excruciating detail. This is why we can’t live too close to each other, because the horrible mundaneity (made-up word?) of our high school lives would cause us to self-destruct.

This visit’s revelation: I don’t remember junior prom.

We went to prom as a group but also with guys we had already broken up with. I mean, the important parts of the evening were already written in stone: the gorgeous dresses, the limo rental, the dinner reservations, the prom tickets. The boys were incidental… arm candy, really.

And, well, hindsight is 20/20, but I could have done better on that front if I’d been a little more creative.

We were on the junior prom planning committee. Our truly creative colors: black and white and silver. Our venue: a hotel in downtown Atlanta. Our dinner: I don’t remember a second of it, almost as if it never happened.

There were the photos on my friend’s front lawn, the limo ride, BLANK HERE, and more limo riding. I remember being back in the limo and my date and another guy arguing about whether the Porsche 928 or 911 was cooler.

Now, a psychotherapist might suggest that something horrible happened at dinner that I have wanted to block. I would suggest that absolutely nothing memorable happened. And I mean: nothing.

My husband, my friend and I were sitting around after dinner last night, and the subject of prom came up. She said, “Yeah, remember dinner at that Japanese steak house?”

Blank. Nothingness. Black hole.

I must state that alcohol was not involved in our prom experience. Though truthfully, alcohol would have been a heck of an improvement.

“Japanese steak house?”

“Yeah, you remember, the one called… shoot. I can’t remember.”

Since that part of my life never happened, at least for me, I didn’t try to pretend I knew. “Was it Kyoto?” Well, maybe I tried a little.

“No.”

So we were talking about it and remembering the guy she went with who went on to move to San Francisco and have three kids and turn out all respectable and stuff, and then I brought up bowling after prom.

“Bowling?”

“Yeah. Don’t you remember? We went over to J___’s house and had brunch and watched movies and went bowling.” I remember the bowling because I hate bowling and never manage to get above about 25.

“Did we change clothes?”

All I could think about was us in our long dresses and silly bowling shoes, but I assured her that we did. The guys kept their bowties on for a special flair.

(It must be noted here that none of us got married to each other at any point in the future, and the bowties may have played a role.)

My friend also brings up people’s names who am certain never existed. Sometimes I accuse her of making them up. She says they have become Facebook friends, but we all know how easy it is to create a fake persona on the Internet. Shameful, really.

I read or heard a report a few years ago about the memory capacity of a human brain. I remembered it–ha! See? I can retain information–and looked it up just now in Scientific American. The human brain can potentially hold about a million gigabytes of information.

I have no basis for comparison for what one gigabyte is versus 20 trillion, so I am going on the assumption that one million gigabytes is pretty a-okay.

My brain is so full of useless details, muck and drivel that I may need to do a spring cleaning.

Apparently, junior prom dinner was cleaned out a few years ago in a similarly hopeful sweep. I probably needed the memory space for things like how to make pesto or how to teach a child how to blow a bubble or something.

If anyone remembers anything notable about prom night, please email, Facebook or call me. I probably said something very smart or provocative or premonitory. That’s why that gazillionth of a gigabyte exists no more.