The Capricious Nature of Remembered Numbers

The Yarn Harlot has a post about finding out you aren't the age you believed yourself to be. I read it and found it hard to understand how one could misremember their age and change the rules of math in order to support this mismemory.

Of course, we all have a tendency to grow attached to certain numbers and refuse to accept their change with time. And it is a shock if one is told that numbers they believed to be fixed are, in fact, mutable.

A few years ago, I was at a store, trying on shoes. They didn't have a pair of a certain shoe in my size (7) so I tried on the size they did have (6 1/2). The shoe fit. I was so amazed that I asked to have my foot measured and I found out that, contrary to what I have believed all these years, I should be wearing a size 6 1/2 shoe. It struck me as odd. I mean, I haven't had my foot measured in a long time, but I seem to recall having been measured at some point in the past and being a size 7. Is it possible that the shoe industry has adopted the same sort of vanity sizing that the rest of the fashion world has and is attempting to make every woman feel a little like Cinderella by making shoes larger? Is it possible for one's feet to grow smaller over time?

So while I know my age, I am still a bit unclear about other hard and fast numbers in my life. Here are the lyrics to a song I wrote about the experience of finding out things aren't the way you remember them.

I was buying shoes at Marshall Field's
Walking back and forth in some black high heels
When a pair of tan shoes caught my eye
So I tried them on, then I went to buy.
But then I noticed something strange
Those shoes were not a size in my range
I told the salesgirl my strange tale
She smiled at me as she made the sale

But as I signed the credit card slip she said to me
"You must be shrinking."

I was waiting in line at the bakery
But the baker then helped the lady standing behind me
So I interrupted, right then and there
I knew it was rude but frankly I didn't care
I said "why did you pass me over like that?
Do you think I can't eat your cake? Am I fat?
I was standing, waiting so patiently
Then it's my turn and you completely ignore me."

The baker turned red, claimed he made a mistake, he said to me

"You must be shrinking"

I was at the doctors for my pap smear,
Yeah, I follow the rules and get one every year,
But this time around as I stood on the scale,
The nurse said something that made me go pale,
She measured me and told me my height
Except the numbers she told me simply weren't right.
I'm a whole inch taller than that, check again
I know my own height, it's been the same since I was ten.

The nurse ignored me, but as she left the room, she said to me
"You must be shrinking"

I was getting into my favorite dress
But as I buttoned it up I saw I was a mess
The shoulders were baggy, the darts wouldn't line
It looked like the dress had never been mine
This dress in which I had once been all that
Now was too big, made my chest look so flat
So I asked the mirror to explain my fate
Where was the outfit which made me look great?

My looking glass lazily surveyed my reflection. It said to me

"You must be shrinking."

I was hanging around with a boy I once knew
And as the night progressed my attraction regrew
So we took a short walk down memory lane
But I'm sorry to say it just wasn't the same
He was still really cute, though a bit of a toff
I tried not to let on that I didn't get off
Still he wanted to know why I wasn't smiling
What could I tell him which wouldn't be lying?

I looked into the eyes of this boy I once loved. I said to him

"You must be shrinking."


Anonymous said…
this is an amazing post.

I'm so jealous of your song writing ability.

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