As I Meet You, So You Become Memory
Tonight the Hong Kong government will enforce stricter Covid-19 rules and that means restaurants will close at six, bars will be closed indefinitely, and gyms, nail salons and massage places will be boarded up. The measures will stay in place until the fourth wave of coronavirus passes through and Hong Kong lowers its daily infection rate from over 100 per day to in the single digits.
They are for the first time using mandatory testing for any individuals who have visited five sites of local super spreading infection.
The city has passed a law that enables it to shut down and put on lockdown any place of a suspected infection spread.
Meanwhile, in the past week, a legislator has gone into exile and had his bank accounts frozen, and a local church group has had its bank accounts frozen as authorities investigate alleged fraud and money laundering operations. This church helped protect protestors from police during the citywide protests last year. The lawmaker also was responsible for several de-escalation events, as he worked to convince police officers to back down from charging protestors and making mass arrests.
So many ways we used to live are gone. Some of the people we used to know are gone. Even friends and family we still have with us are no longer really with us, as we cannot travel to visit them, or meet down the street for a drink.
Is it our distance from them that produces memory? They seem to come up more and more in my thoughts because they are no longer around.
Memory powerfully counters narratives in our everyday that have shifted us from what we know and love.
Mark Doty has a great poem about a loved one who has passed away.
Under Grand Central's tattered vault -maybe half a dozen electric stars still lit- one saxophone blew, and a sheer…
Memory is soul food. We respond to qualities in others that make good memories. Memory seems like something the mind does without any training. It seems incessantly to capture ideas and thoughts and experiences so that we will have them, even if we never know when we will need them, or why.
It is so that that life comes back to us, when it seems like it is gone forever.
Do I find myself using my memory more often these days?
I find myself trying most often to find new experiences that will become memories. I think it’s because my mind notices the isolation and the erosion of what I used to have into what I no longer have, and it is trying to find something to sustain me for later.
When Dante was in exile, he wrote the Divine Comedy. It is filled with the formerly alive. He must have sat in his tower somewhere and dreamed up all the ones he knew, and remembered all the things he read, to fill his nights and days with stories.