Day To Remember
Where was I that morning?
I must have been staying in a hotel.
I’m trying to think but nothing comes.
I remember floral sheets.
Yes, of course, we stayed in the spare room at Doug’s father’s
house, the hotel was the next trip.
We must have got up early.
What did we have for breakfast? Did we eat anything?
Coffee and a couple of Marlboro Lights probably (my favourite).
Clothes? Maybe those green khaki shorts?
Did we drive down the coast road in southern Spain in two cars or one?
Did we go to Tarifa before we hit the beach? Not a clue.
Before about lunchtime it’s all a blur, fragments of pictures
and information but nothing coherent. Then things start to take shape.
As I write, that day in the late summer of 2004 is slowly coming back
I can start to visualise it, feel it, enjoy it in my own personal time
machine. And once I’m there I begin to see things I thought I’d
forgotten, experiences stored in my head that might have stayed there
unremembered, until the day I die, had I not written this article.
My first clear recollection is of the beach car park being very full,
and I have a vague image of tanned Spanish girls in white bikinis, but
perhaps that’s just conditioning from years of Mediterranean holidays.
I think there were two of them.
We walked towards the beach.
I remember the bright sunlight and the strong wind, but I can’t
re-feel the heat. I can see Marina walking, looking at the ground. There
was a small lake behind the beach and people were practising windsurfing,
and they needed it. I think they looked German.
We sat in the middle of the beach.
The wind took our voices away from us.
Crunchy sand. Cigarettes. Towels.
Why do I remember this day? It was unusual and special and I have the
video tape, which helps, but what purpose does it serve to have it stored
in my head? How much does this day, along with the other 13,112 I have
lived so far, help to form my character? This is a question that has
been on my mind since I started making a film about an old friend of
mine who lost his memory. Thirty-five years of his experiences wiped
Stuey and I decided to take the camera up on the huge sand dunes sweeping
around the beach to our right.
Pine forest surround. We drove. Found a beetle.
Same type of beetle I had filmed on a beach down the road two years
ago. I remembered they were black and fast.
Filmed it making its way through scrub. It would problem solve at an
incredible rate. Over, under, left or right of the grass shooting up
through the sand.
Thought it was emblematic of the journey that my friend Doug had taken
since he had lost his memory.
Decisions, journey, experience.
Yeah, a hot motif, if I don’t overplay it.
I can probably only remember a hundred days of my life at the most.
I have a stronger sense of what things were like over time; school,
But what if I woke up one day and all that was gone.
Not only gone, but I didn’t even know how much I had lost.
That’s what happened to Doug. He lost everything and had to start
again. He has built up layer upon layer of new experiences ever since,
creating a personality, creating a history, and an ever stronger sense
of himself. But how much is he the same person and how much is he someone
entirely new, formed by those new experiences?
It’s an almost impossible question to answer. I still don’t
know, but hopefully I’m a little bit closer to finding out.
We stayed on the dunes until the sun went down, covering them in the
obligatory red and golden glow.
We jumped off them, we rolled down them.
The wind died off to a faint breeze. Innocent smiles.
Car hot from sitting in sun. I can’t remember but it must have
And then Tarifa.
Doug borrowed my jacket, the one that I lost.
I can remember the French restaurant and the superb sangria and those
delicious crepes. Yellow walls. Doug spoke French.
Busy piazza full of children.
I’ve forgotten what happened next.
We must have gone home. And to sleep.