Nope, still don't remember...
I was mentioning an unforgettable incident from our shared, misspent youth to an old chum, recently, when it transpired that he couldn't remember a damned thing about it. Now, when herbal mood enhancement may have been involved, it's perhaps not surprising that memories differ and fade, but you'd think, if you had been ejected from an exhibition of kinetic sculpture with the immortal words, "Please leave now, this is an art gallery, not an adventure playground", you'd probably recall the occasion. But no, not a glimmer.
I am increasingly intrigued by this "partial memory" syndrome. The recognition that there are differing perceptions of the same event is nothing new, of course. The fable of the blind men describing the elephant is ancient, and well-known, though it would be interesting to know whether any of them, forty years later, had managed to forget all about ever having handled that elephant. Especially in the case of the unfortunate guy -- rarely mentioned -- who discovered that an elephant was very like a heavy shower of evil-smelling rain.
But that entire notable events can be forgotten -- not just recalled differently, but erased from the memory bank -- by one or more of the participants is strange, and not a little sad. This is especially the case when that particular event is of significance or emblematic to someone. I was puzzled, for example, not to be able to recall an occasion, early in the relationship with my Significant Other, when, apparently, a pigeon flew into a department store window directly in front of us, stunning itself -- thunk! -- and falling to the pavement, leaving one of those ghostly "feather dust" impressions on the plate glass. Ah, talk about yer coup de foudre... Such a shame that, in my mind, it never happened.
Worse, though, is to be the subject of stories -- much retold by others and polished to a deep shine -- which, as far as you can recall, either never happened at all or, if they did, were perpetrated by somebody else, someone completely unlike you. Me? I would never say or do something like that! Admittedly, there can be a certain level of Jeckyll and Hyde in my behaviour; like anyone, beyond a certain level of intake -- even of fresh air -- I may switch into a different personality, and say or do things I may come to regret. Or forget. Or even choose to forget.
But that thing with the monkey on a tricycle in that carpark in France? It never bloody happened, as far as I'm concerned. Though oddly -- in the words of the song -- I remember it well. Just don't ask.
The horse that wasn't there...