Category Archives: Moments

The fewer the thoughts, the greater they weigh. It’s the nature of remembering & the autistic brain…

Moments aren’t for defining; they are to be put to song—


IMG_2445I was just lying there, stewing somewhat— having had a Shanghai of a day, cat in toe by my face most of it, swinging-low. She kept me working from the cave today but anywise.

I was flicking through some menus and films thinking; but at the same time, weighing things over and over quite involuntarily— things that weigh more, the fewer of them you have.

One of them was an idea I had some time ago for a clock, that would no doubt cause its owner endless torment with the perverse manner in which it kept time. But it’s in their nature: it just so happens to be what they do— because they’re secretive. It’s also the nature of remembrance, that the only function it serves is to remind us of other things— which is why, as we grow older— we tell each other stories in the hope they will remind us of other stories.

It’s as fitting an analogy as I am prepared to make to the autistic brain today, short of explaining the mechanisms of the clock. Remembrance is not an uncomplicated process. It’s a voluntary act dependant on a series of involuntary recalls. There may be a degree of summons, but like the cat this morning, there is a powerlessness to affect what happens next.

I’m reminded of an early Latin text— one of the earliest and funniest extant, as it were— written in or around the first century, so I wasn’t around at the time to comment as to the prevalence of what it describes. The truth is, I care only to recall but bits of it, and one of them concerns a water clock in a dining room, with a trumpeter, whose only function was to announce the time, so at any time, the clocks owner would know precisely how much of his life he had lost. Make a note, because I’ll be returning to this observation another time.

In turn, I was reminded of several observations made by friends over the years: that by and large I keep my thoughts about my person, and they are at times saddened I do not, cannot or wiln’t share them. I’ve been criticised for it a number of times; my thoughts it seems, are worth more than dust or my company— and regardless of the humour involved in such comments, they always leave me bound to a curiosity I either do not or cannot explain. You could argue then, that by doing so, you make a case for saying you can measure whatever life you’ve had, you’ve lost— by the measure of whatever life you’ve failed to share.

Rough notes as they are, capsulise the multiple ironies therein: life lost incorporates everything; it’s an imperious semantic field from which, not even thought can escape. It is for all intents and purposes infinite, but yet there was once a man with a leaky pot and a trumpet attempting to measure it; to share the thought: that I don’t readily share my thoughts is awkward to validate in as far as you must do one to do the other— and in order to remember it, I had to think of other things— while lying there— stewing somewhat.

It’s funny; it can take as long as an hour to capture the essence of a moment in order to share it. It’s not something I find displeasing— it just reinforces, on a personal note— how powerful the implications are of such generosity. Most people will never work it out; because it’s not in their nature; they are unfortunately, not enough like clocks.

So the next time you ask yourself, where it was you think that you last saw your glasses and are startled by the response— be sure to take another note, that it’s time to re-examine the events leading up to it. If however the response is along the lines of, I don’t know where they are but I heard them land a moment before catching a satisfied glimmer, only to see them perched exactly where you left them.

Ask yourself this:

What then was it you think, that you heard land?