Reading something recently, the piece stated the author was from Belarus. Something in my gut said Slavic (the woman's sir name possibly), but I could no more picture or remember a country called Be-lar-us. My last formal geography lesson was 1967 when Russia was the United Soviet Socialist Republic, and all those little countries were clumped together in a big pink blob on the map.
My memory on a good day is like Swiss cheese. I sit on the aged block of yellowing, curdled milk and contemplate the holes. In comparison, my engineer husband has a perfectly symmetrical mind, filled with boxes, stacked for easy sorting. Like an aging Alice, I jump into one of the holes and ask my spouse, "Where's Belarus?"
Of course he answers immediately, "It's part of Russia," correctly pronouncing the name (byel e roos). In his mind he sees the shape of Belarus and which countries it borders.
"How do you know that?" I demand, standing in the shallow, smelly hallow, wishing I had some crackers.
"I look at maps."
I continue my quiz, wanting to know the last time he saw Belarus on a map. I have the small satisfaction he can't quote a date and time.
Memory is a wonder to those of us who operate daily without one. Sitting and chewing the cheese, I realize there's a reason for the haves and the have-nots. My world functions on imagination while the memory people of the world rely on their neat boxes. Life would be dull for those poor spherically-challenged slobs, if they didn't have us cheese heads mixing up the symmetry with concentric ideas and circular fiction.
So while my husband opens his boxes with care, I will continue to rip mine open, leaving a trail of torn paper and ribbon, wearing the bows in my hair to cover the holes.
Happy New Year.