The sting

I was recently chastised by a person who had asked me to perform a certain task. He had told me that the person for whom the task was required would be busy that week, so I put off calling. Later he was upset that I hadn’t called, even though the recipient was busy. He was also upset that I hadn’t brought a third person along who needed to work on the task as well.

I objected to having to worry about the third person’s participation. I felt I would be doing well to get myself there and do what I needed to do, and didn’t (and still don’t) want to have to deal with the third person’s schedule or plans. For one thing, I have two days off a week – if the third person can’t participate on those two days, then it won’t work for me.

So I got an earful on the phone. I was told that wanting to only arrange my own schedule was a “weak excuse” and I needed to do better. It didn’t help that the call came on my cell phone while I was at work and I had to deal with being yelled at (chastised in a loud voice) at work on an already stressful day.

But the real problem here is the memories that it brought back.

It was exactly like many of the confrontations with my dad growing up.

I was never good enough.

Nothing I did was ever good enough.

Even if I did what he wanted, it wasn’t how he wanted it, or not soon enough, or whatever.

So, this conversation brought back memories of pain that I’ve tried to get past, mostly by trying to forget them and by trying to tell myself that if I can’t please my dad, I need to forget what he wants and quit trying. I can’t live up to his standards – I have to live up to my own.

I guess you can’t really leave your past behind – it keeps catching up with you.


I often use the phrase “a vague recollection” when describing a memory. When I’m remembering things, I’m not entirely sure that I’m describing an event accurately.

Our memories can be tainted by time, or by discussing an event with someone. More than one event can be merged, so that you may describe something that happened as a single occasion, when in reality, some time had passed.

As an example: I remember seeing a light between the baseboard and the wall of my room. This crack grew bigger while I was lying in my bed, to the point where I could see down inside and see tiny people there. Obviously, this was a dream, but it’s as real to me as actual memories.

Hence the name: a vague recollection.

My purpose here is to document these memories – for me and for others. Eventually I hope to have family history oral interviews on video to share.