I learned something new recently. Not only can you eat corn raw, but it’s actually better that way. When I first heard this, about two weeks ago, I thought some highly guarded culinary secret was inadvertently leaked, but it seems that a bunch of regular non-chef people know about it already. And all I keep thinking is – isn’t this a crazy enough game-changing fact that, if you did know it, wouldn’t you want to tell everyone? Yet no one told me.
I love knowing why I know something – where I learned it, who told me, what I was doing at the time. It makes the fact seem more solid. But obviously only super memorable pieces of info have their moment of discovery marked in my brain. And that bothers me.
I know where I learned about raw corn, but I’m constantly wondering where I learned other less meaningful things. Of course I learned stuff from my parents, from school, from just being alive, but wouldn’t it be great if you could remember the exact moment that you learned a specific thing? A few years ago I was obsessed – and I do mean obsessed – with this thought and I picked an example out of blue. Of course I knew what a screen door was but I wanted to pinpoint the exact moment of when I learned that.
I asked my mother over and over again if she remembered teaching it to me. Of course she didn’t. I would let a few phone conversations go by without mentioning it and then I’d try again.
“Do you think maybe you said ‘open the screen door’ and I said, ‘what’s that?’ and you explained it?”
She actually began to hang up on me. Finally, after months of this, she exasperatedly said, “I probably mentioned screen door and you saw a door with a screen and made the connection!”
I could tell she was just saying that to shut me up.
I’d ask friends if they remembered learning what a screen door was. No one did. Not a single one. I started feeling like my need to find this out was getting dangerously close to having to count my steps or lick a light switch before turning it on or something so I tried to get it in check. But even though I no longer asked about it aloud, I still wondered about it in private.
Months later, I was having dinner with a friend who was visiting from California. He was telling me a story about his next door neighbor and how he thought she was smoking hot when she came to his door but then, when he opened it, he was sorely disappointed. Typical guy story. But I didn’t understand why he would think she was hot when he hadn’t yet opened the door. He explained: it was because he had a screen door and she was all back-lit and he couldn’t see her face.
He did not know about my obsession.
He paused and then said, “Oh, I’m sorry. Do you not know what a screen door is? It’s a door, but instead of being solid, there’s a screen.” I flipped out.
“WHAT MADE YOU TELL ME THAT?? WHY DID YOU SAY THAT??”
“Oh, you just had such a weird expression on your face that I thought you didn’t know what it meant.”
Persistence paid off! At last, here was the exact moment someone actually articulated the definition for me. I’ve always heard it’s possible to manifest what you need, and here was proof. I have no idea how, but I’m 100% sure that I somehow conjured up that explanation. And since that’s true, logic follows that that must mean it’s also possible to conjure up more important things. Like people and work and situations and experiences that add to my life rather than drain it. It’s easy for me to forget that’s possible. Luckily I had an ear of corn to make me circuitously remember.
Maybe after awhile it would get overwhelming if I knew where each fact inside my head came from. I know when I learned about the corn and the screen door. And this week at least, I know when I re-learned the importance of concentrating on what I want in my life rather than all that’s there that bogs me down. And, who knows? Maybe that’s enough.