Thursday, February 14, 2002

without looking (in case she's around) describe your mother. in detail. try to conjure a still picture of her in your mind. I can't even hold a clear or stable picture of my own mother in my head. It's fuzzy at best. The more I think about it, the more images flash into my head, but I can't hold any there long enough to take a good look at it. Like with my shoes, even if i were able to sustain a picture of my mother in my memory long enough to exhibit her features in detail, I would no doubt fill in gaps poorly, distort and mistake. Even if I were to suppose I could somehow perfectly reconstruct my mother at a point frozen in time--in immaculate detail--I still wouldn't have anything close to resembling my mother. My mother has never been frozen in time. And yet I know my mother when I see her, and no matter how much she changes, I am convinced that I will always know my mother when I see her. Why? Why couldn't someone come along that fits only the imperfect details that rattle around in the vague snapshots of my mind? Wouldn't I be then equally liable to mistake that person for my mother?

Perhaps I know my mother, and my shoes as well, far better than I think I do. Perhaps I have an immense store of knowledge about the details of my mother and my shoes that I never even paid attention to but that somehow came in under the radar, and exists in my mind in such a way that I can't access that information at will.