Love Letter Day 3: what's your position on cleaning?
I’ve mentioned liking the word “ablutions” before. Close your eyes and say it a few times.
As I recently reviewed my own archive of love letters with the purpose of collating samples for a writing proposal, I realized that I repeat myself quite a bit. I wonder if I’m getting old. Old people repeat their stories. Though I’d venture my brand of repetition is firmly middle-aged in that what I repeat aren’t pithy stories but revelations. Everything is so “mind-opening” for me these days. I keep having the same epiphanies.
I think that forgetting is an act of cleaning. An ablution.
My friend Daniel, who designs computer hardware (and whom I’ve definitely talked about before), explained what computer RAM—Random Access Memory— was to me once because in his opinion it was one of the most significant milestones in computer technology. I asked what RAM was, exactly, and he gave me this great analogy: imagine a chalkboard filling up with information. It periodically has to be wiped clean to repopulate with more relevant and urgent information. Before RAM, everything was permanent and unrepeated. The beauty of RAM is that it cleans itself so rapidly, you don’t even realize information is being updated.
My friend Ngai who hosts the best post-Thanksgiving parties (who gave me a Heavy Hula Hoop) describes holiday drinking as a “Rinse and Repeat” event, referring to her liver as the benefactor of the wash cycle metaphor.
One of my favorite ways to wake up is without having washed my face or brushed my teeth the night before. I know how disgusting that sounds to anyone who might encounter me first thing out of bed, but hear me out. Letting my face naturally break through an accumulation of sebum and plaque and cosmetic fatigue is actually kind of fascinating. Do I also like having a nighttime ritual of thoroughly cleaning and moisturizing my face and teeth? Well, of course. But sometimes when I’m not feeling great, this morning breatkthrough is what reminds me I’m still in control.
Rinse. Repeat. I remember everything because I forget everything and repeat. Like a chalkboard that needs to be full at all times. Rinse. Repeat. Please keep filling my chalkboard.