Saturday, October 11, 2008

Forgive and Forget

I just got done watching one of my favorite movies: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The movie is about Joel and Clementine's relationship. If you haven't seen the movie, stop here. Really don't read on. The movie is too good and... thar be spoilers below, matey.

No, really. Stop here and go watch the movie. This blog post isn't going anywhere. But you can't undo the spoilers. So watch it and come back.

Anyway...Like all relationships Joel and Clementine's relationship starts out fresh and new and exhilarating and rewarding and fulfilling. But also like all relationships, those feelings fade until Joel & Clementine are left with the burden of realizing that nobody's perfect. And then they break up. Badly.

So they each decide to get their memories of each other erased. Literally. There's a company called Lacuna who will map out all of the memories and then erase them. The movie takes us through what Joel experiences as these memories are being erased. We move from the most recent memories backwards. So we start seeing all of the bad memories. The ones that are easy to let be erased. But eventually, we start getting to the good memories. And that's when Joel starts wishing that he could keep some of them. The rest of the memory erasure is this sad journey of trying to keep some of the memories, but failing. At some point, Joel realizes that it's pointless. The memories are just going to be gone. We travel all the way back to where Joel & Clementine met. With Joel knowing that this is the end. After this he won't remember her at all.

Sometimes, all that I can remember are the things about my wife that drive me absolutely nuts. I think our relationship is different than Joel & Clementine's in that we've learned how to forgive each other for not being perfect. But it's the forget part that drives me crazy. I don't know how to forget.

I think there's a lesson in this movie: try hard to remember why you chose to be with this person. Unlike Joel, I still have the opportunity to remember those great moments. Those moments that drew me to her and her to me. Like on the jetty at Galveston. Or the first time she leaned over and said, "Kiss me". Or Jefferson and pretending to be deaf. And on and on and on and on....

But what comes so easily to mind, without any effort at all, is, for example, the disdainful tone in her voice when she got home and the kitchen wasn't clean. Or disagreements about parenting. Or whatever. All of which, in comparison to the good memories, are just stupid and insignificant blips. But these stupid little things get in the way. They block out the precious moments. I have to, periodically take the time and effort to remember the good ones or I fear they'll slowly fade away.

I was mad at her before the movie. And if I think about it, I can remember why. But after watching Joel, I'd much rather think about Galveston.

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