if we don’t, remember me.
In May, one week after I got my long hair cut, I came to visit uncle Victor. I visited him twice a month when I still lived in Zuilen Noord. It was not until I almost said goodbye to him, I asked what he thought about my new hair. He said he didn’t realize that my hair became much shorter. He told me “When you came, I just knew that was you! The other things don’t matter.”
Perhaps for a man at his age (uncle Victor turnt 74 in April), a detail of look would not be the first thing that comes to mind. But then he made me think about how people in general will remember me as? What will make they think of me? After all those years, is it true if all you can say about me is my name, which I also share with many other people? We usually know people by superficials like their names, their titles or their networks. Will you remember someone just because of the compassionate look in their eyes on a cold winter night?
Then the lost of the physical and legal proof of my identity took place. For a moment I thought if that was how I could erase the way people can recognize, identify or remember me, I wouldn’t mind not having an identity card for a while. As far as I can recall, there was no information on that stupid card says what my favorite color is, when was the last time I felt truly content or how I experienced my first love. Nothing can define me. The clothes I’m wearing, the foods I’m eating, the music I’m listening to, the people I’m admiring, my present, my past, even my future… We came to this life without the rights to choose our names (Thanks God I don’t hate my name!), genders and backgrounds and how we look like. Everything we’re doing everyday is determined by names and norms no matter how much we’re trying to be just ourselves. If you have a chance to meet me once or many times in your life, the impressions you have on me will forever be just fractions of myself. And although we’re trying hard to sound mysterious, irrational or uncompromising sometimes, we really are.
So do I ever need a card to say who I really am, or tell you stories about people I’ve met?
I met Juan, from Colombia, when we were waiting to get into the Vatican Museum. He came to Rome with his cousin to celebrate him turning 30. Okay, traveling with a (male) cousin, so this guy was single. It was a good and necessary start for a conversation! He said there’s more than cocaine and sky-high criminal rate than what people normally think about Colombia. We talked about his IT job and my finance major. We talked about Zeitgeist. Then we talked about our names. He thought that my name sounds cool although he only speaks Spanish and English. And I secretly thought the only thing about name that is more popular than his in Colombia is the surname Nguyen in Vietnam. We lost among the crowds in Vatican Museum before we reached the Sistine Chapel. We did not exchange contacts because we thought we could always do it later. I still don’t know his full name.
In the afternoon of the same day, when I was walking along the Ponte Sant’Angelo, I met Chris, from Connecticut. My English caught his attention when I asked a couple to take a photo for me. Then he came and asked where I come from. To be honest he was kinda cute and sincere. I showed him some places and give some recommendations on his map. He was also traveling on his own so he asked if I wanted a company. Until now I still don’t understand why I used my would-expire-if-I-didn’t-catch-that-bus-in-30-minute-ticket to say no to him. Poor Chris! It was Christmas Eve and this silly girl would rather stay in her hostel room than go out with you! Why? Why? Why? Don’t ask her, please!
to be continued