Monday, October 05, 2009

A Peculiar Memory, Indeed!

June 1987. I worked in the Computer Applications Department of the law firm of Hogan & Hartson in Washington, DC. Miriam T. Chilton had just been hired to supervise the department. My coworker Craig Dye had the idea to arrange a meeting in Miriam's office with Miriam, Craig and me to apprise Miriam of things in the department. I think Craig just wanted to impress Miriam with the idea that he had some importance in the department that he didn't really have. I have no idea why he included me. I remember Craig saying that he liked to keep Miriam "abreast" of the status of things in the department. I remember having the idea of reference: "Is Craig using the word 'abreast' with a sexual connotation?"

People wonder how I remember the things that I remember. It's because I am paranoid. I often see hidden meanings in the words that other people use. My paranoia actually creates a context for people's statements. I can remember what people say, often far into the past and concerning absolutely trivial things, because I can remember what paranoid ideas I attached to what other people said at that moment in time. I specifically recall Craig saying that he liked to keep Miriam "abreast" of things in the office because I remember that I attached a sexual meaning to Craig's use of the word "abreast" back in June 1987. Sometimes insanity has adaptive benefits. Because I'm paranoid and I attach a paranoid meaning to things, I can remember things that most people forget. I can say with certainty that Craig used the word "abreast" and no other word, such as "apprised."

Something else. I remember that during the meeting with Miriam and Craig I used the word "idiosyncratic." I remember that because Miriam and Craig looked at each other as if I had said something odd. Maybe they thought I was showing off -- at least that's the paranoid thought I had at that moment in time.

After the meeting, which ended at about noon, Craig asked me to go to lunch with him.

I had worked with Craig since the previous fall. Craig started working at Hogan on Monday, October 6, 1986. I remember that he was wearing a bowtie on his first day. I thought he looked freakish. Why on earth would a 27-year-old, common office worker wear a bowtie to the job? I specifically recall thinking: "This guy looks like a total, fucking freak!" One of my coworkers, Mary Jane Coolen, said to Cindy Rodda about Craig: "He is gay. He is definitely gay. There's no way Craig is not gay." I remember that Cindy Rodda told me that on the evening of Friday March 25, 1988.

Cindy and I had gone to dinner together that evening in late March 1988; we went back to my apartment and chatted. I remember that date because it had been an unusually warm spring-like day. Cindy and I watched a public TV broadcast of the Brahms Third Symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein that evening. In his introductory remarks, Bernstein had said that the Brahms Third was his most "enigmatic" symphony. Honestly, I have no idea why I can remember that. But I usually remember facts that are connected in some way to music. I had previously associated the Brahms Third with Craig; Brahms had written the work as a tribute to his great friend and mentor, Robert Schumann. When Craig and I worked together, I used to listen to the Brahms Third all the time. Craig was always an enigmatic person. A mystery wrapped in a riddle!

In any event, when Craig invited me to lunch after the meeting with Miriam in June 1987 it was the first time Craig had ever invited me to lunch. We had never gone to lunch before or eaten together in the office.

Criag invited the Data Base Administrator, Espe Rebollar, to come along to lunch with us. I had no idea why he invited Espe to come along. I remember that we went to Pershing Park, a nearby square with a fountain in downtown DC. Craig didn't have much to say. Neither did I. Espe did most of the talking. I specifically recall Espe mentioning BART. At the moment Espe said BART, I said: "Bay Area Rapid Transit." Apparently, Espe had lived in San Francisco. I once saw a TV documentary about San Francisco's public transportation system. I remember thinking at the time: "Who on Earth would ever talk about Bay Area Rapid Transit -- 'BART'?"

Yes, I also recall things that seem peculiar to me.

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