DREAMING OLD MEMORIES

6 Dec

Sometimes I get to thinking. It’s a novel idea, I know, but sometimes I do it. And here’s my latest bit if cranial nonsense.
I heard once, or it was explained to me by an expert or it emerged from an alcoholically-fuelled debate, that dreaming is a very special thing.
It happens, of course, when we’re asleep and our brain somehow grabs hold of images and events from during our lives and plays with them. One event might merge into another, or precipitate an intriguing plot-line for our sleeping heads to investigate.
What I picked up somehow is that this is a way our minds have of discarding unwanted rubbish and clearing space in our memories for new things. If that’s true it makes eminent sense because the last thing any of us wants to happen is for suddenly, mid-experience, a notice to be plastered in front of our inner-eyes saying “full up – stop living!”
We don’t actually want out memories to become full. It would be a disaster if they did, and each and every one of us must harbour quite a lot of unwanted detritus in the back of our heads, memories we will never need to access again, spaces where new experiences can be carefully filed away.
This may or may not be the way things are, you understand. I’m merely theorising on the basis of a half-remembered discussion from the days when my conversations with mates in pubs tended towards the esoteric. But assuming I’m right I thought I’d mention the aforementioned idea.
It’s getting to be like this. I dream quite a lot and forget most of what I dream, probably for some perfectly rational reason to do with nonsense. Yet of the few I do manage to recall once I’m conscious I’ve been aware that many involve people and events from quite a long time ago, when I was young. Last night I was wearing grey school shorts, I’m quite sure of that, and so were the lads I was with, on one of those home made vehicles made from orange boxes and old pram wheels that we were so fond of back then. And it crossed my mind that I’d had quite few dreams set in the black and white world of the early fifties.
So is my mind sorting through a fascinating period of history (childhood is probably fascinating for most us no matter when it was set – mine was the fifties and for my kids it would have been the eighties and nineties)?
And if that’s what it’s doing it’s a real cause of concern.
Is my brain searching through my past for what it considers to be irrelevant so that that part of my memory be overwritten?
I do hope not!
Those were precious years, so precious I’d do anything to go back and take a fresh peek at them, even relive them – but the tragedy is I’ve forgotten so much. Oh, I know there will have been hours, even days, of boredom, but I’d really love to treasure again the thrill I got when I started reading a Famous Five book that was new to me, or met, for the first time, my First World War ace hero, Captain Biggles. The second instalment of that war hadn’t been over for long (that’s how I look at WW2) and there was still a great deal of grey drabness around. Yet in the furtive monochrome of the lost years I found so much magic I’m sure that the land of dreams has already obliterated far too much of it to provide space in my memory so that I can remember new things, like what a prat the Prime Minister is and how wrong the present government is about just about everything it pontificates about. Wasted space!
And, brain, for goodness’ sake don’t obliterate precious fading memories as I dream because that black-and-white world was, I’m sure, a bloody sight better than some of the nonsense I’m expected to contemplate today.
© Peter Rogerson 06.12.15

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