My father is the social butterfly, while my mom would be much happier holed up at home watching basketball games and drinking tea. She once described her ideal vacation as getting a hotel room on the beach with the whole family, but to be clear - we would not actually visit the beach. When questioned as to what we would do, my mom suggested that we would all take naps.
I spoke with her this weekend and she kvetched about having to go to an engagement party the next day. I asked her who it was for, and she said "You know - that loud woman?" I responded, "Mrs. Venugopal*?" Now, to be clear - that was the only identifier she gave me. In addition, I've had lunch with Mrs. V once.
I don't know how she's done it, but this is yet another example of how my mother has trained me. I always seem to know what she's talking about, even when given incredibly vague and ambiguous clues. Another example: my mom knows I'm a big movie fan, so she wanted to tell me about a few movies she had seen.
maisnon's mom: You know that one, where he's a lawyer and his client did it ...
maisnon: "Primal Fear"
maisnon's mom: Yes, that was very good. I saw that other one. White lawyer, his client is black...
maisnon: "A Time to Kill, " it was based on a John Grisham novel
maisnon's mom: Very suspenseful.
I think if you've known someone for decades, you start to be able to fill in the mental ellipses. I always want to know a person's stories - their personal constellation of events, people, and experiences. It is my primary way of relating to people. I learn so much from that story about the embarassing thing you did in 7th grade: the way in which it is told, where you pause, what you emphasize, your choice in words and pacing, how you've grafted it into your mental map.
That's how I think of memory, and to some extent, life itself: the most bad-assed linked list ever.
* Names have been changed to protect the loud/innocent. Oh - the party was for her eldest child.