Thursday, June 04, 2009

Selective memory

Most people have a negative perception of selective memory, as if its always used for evil. Likely many have witnessed the biased skewing of a larger story by those who chose to remember only selective pieces that will support the version of the story they wish to remember.

But today I'm choosing selective memory to remember someone I loved who is no longer here. Let me explain.

Wolfgang was my first real boyfriend; the first man with whom I had an actual relationship and sex, not just messing around. Meeting him was the catalyst for my coming out. We met in 1993 and were together for 3 years. We separated on friendly terms, but did not stay in touch very much over the years because our lives were moving along different paths.

Yesterday afternoon I learned that Wolfgang had passed away, at the age of 53. I'm not fully informed of the details, but what I do know is that he died of severe pneumonia, while in CA on a business trip, after 2 weeks in the hospital on a respirator. Apparently he was specific when placed on the respirator that he not be left on it for more than 2 weeks. His condition worsened, so when the respirator was turned off, he passed quickly.

I'm not 'all broken up' over this, as it has been 13 years since we separated, and about 10 years since I saw him last. We spoke on the phone a few times over the years, but did not stay in touch the way some ex's do. Its almost the way I would feel if one of you (whom I've never met in person) told me your parent had died. I'd be sad for you and your parent, but really only on a surface level. Its that way for me too, now that Wolf has passed, and I can't help but feel a little guilty for not feeling something more. Maybe its too soon and grief just hasn't caught up to me yet. Maybe not.

But I believe that guilt feelings are a waste of time and energy so I'm not going to dwell on that.

I'm also not going to deify Wolf now that he's passed, as some have the tendency to do. There were specific, valid reasons for our decision to 'move on' from each other, and I have never regretted this, but I am not going to remind myself today of why we split up.

What I am going to do is employ selective memory. I'm going to share with you a few of the good, funny, and warm memories I have of Wolf.
  • He introduced me to the love and affection of pets. I did not grow up with pets but learned to love having cats around the home we shared.
  • He loved to make Chinese food at home. He had a wok, steamer baskets, and lots of Chinese spices, seasonings and sauces. For Christmas one year I bought him a really serious Chinese cleaver from Williams-Sonoma. He used it every time he made Chinese food.
  • He made me laugh each time he sang his original "King Song", complete with operatic inflections. Here are the lyrics: "I am the King! Everyone will swoon, when I enter the room. I am the King!" You had to be there.
  • He sparked my love affair with the BMW convertible. He had a 325i hardtop when we met, but I soon learned to appreciate the beautiful, if slightly austere, and graceful lines of the 325i convertible. I've had one for 8 years now.
  • He had funny nicknames for sex activities. He would say "foie gras" for sucking, and "foie plow" for fucking. Foie gras has nothing to do with sex, and I have no idea where or why he came up with that. Anytime I watch a cooking show on TV and hear "foie gras", I immediately think of him.
  • He taught me that when you finish a meal at a restaurant, you signal to the server that you are ready for them to remove your plate by placing your flat wear on your plate as if your plate is a clock and its 20 minutes passed 4.

Yes, today I choose selective memory to pay tribute to a person who had a profound impact on my life. If there is a heaven, I hope that once in a while Wolf looks down at me, and smiles.


Crush du Jour: Fernando Verdasco


Joy said...

What a realistic, touching tribute to the life of someone who had a significant impact on your life. I know what you mean about connections and how they change.

Bob said...

What lovely memories.
And they don't seem selective at all; they seem to be the ones that affected you most deeply, and stayed with you the longest.
He sounds like a lovely man.
Though the connection may change, as they do over time, what connected you in the first place will always be the same.

A Lewis said...

It appears that it's already been said in the above comments about what a perfectly fitting tribute you've put together. Amazing and funny things we learn from those around us....and we carry them right on through the rest of our lives with us. Thinking of you today.

mistress maddie said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the lost. It's nice to be able to wrap yourself in those good memories though! And he had a hand molding you to the exceptional person you now are!

wcs said...

Nice tribute.

But, what's up with Verdasco's hair? I mean, it doesn't look so bad in this photo, but when you see him on the court...

Steven said...

Thank you for sharing some poignant information. For those who are partnered, it probably makes them think about their relationship now and what they'll remember most.

You mention things that will now make me think of your "ex." I always knew the "signal" for taking the plate. But now I'll be sure to lay the flatware at 4:20 instead of 3:40 like I usually do. I guess that gives me an extra 40 minutes to enjoy my meal? I also had a catalyst for coming out.

Howard said...

It is amazing to think of the people who may have drifted in and out of our lives who were catalysts for change, for growth. Thanks for sharing.

Beth said...

awww Hon...this was so special. We all should remember the good/funny things about people who pass.

I would be SO devastated if I lost of of you guys...we cannot even go there.