Quotes By I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections

“I am living in the Google years, no question of that. And there are advantages to it. When you forget something, you can whip out your iPhone and go to Google. The Senior Moment has become the Google moment, and it has a much nicer, hipper, younger, more contemporary sound, doesn't it? By handling the obligations of the search mechanism, you almost prove you can keep up....

You can't retrieve you life (unless you're on Wikipedia, in which case you can retrieve an inaccurate version of it).”


“In these days of physical fitness, hair dye, and plastic surgery, you can live much of your life without feeling or even looking old. But then one day, your knee goes, or your shoulder, or your back, or your hip. Your hot flashes come to an end; things droop. Spots appear. Your cleavage looks like a peach pit. If your elbows faced forward, you would kill yourself. You’re two inches shorter than you used to be. You’re ten pounds fatter and you cannot lose a pound of it to save your soul. Your hands don’t work as well as they once did and you can’t open bottles, jars, wrappers, and especially those gadgets that are encased tightly in what seems to be molded Mylar. If you were stranded on a desert island and your food were sealed in plastic packaging, you would starve to death. You take so many pills in the morning you don’t have room for breakfast.
You lose close friends and discover one of the worst truths of old age: they’re irreplaceable. People who run four miles a day and eat only nuts and berries drop dead. People who drink a quart of whiskey and smoke two packs of cigarettes a day drop dead. You are suddenly in a lottery, the ultimate game of chance, and someday your luck will run out. Everybody dies. There’s nothing you can do about it. Whether or not you eat six almonds a day. Whether or not you believe in God.”


“People always say that once it goes away, you forget the pain. It’s a cliché of childbirth: you forget the pain. I don’t happen to agree. I remember the pain. What you really forget is love. Divorce seems as if it will last forever, and then suddenly, one day, your children grow up, move out, and make lives for themselves, and except for an occasional flare, you have no contact at all with your ex-husband. The divorce has lasted way longer than the marriage, but finally it’s over.”


“It was exciting in its own self-absorbed way, which is very much the essence of journalism: you truly believe that you are living at the center of the universe and that the world out there is on tenterhooks waiting for the next copy of whatever publication you work at.”


“A while back, my friend Graydon Carter mentioned that he was opening a restaurant in New York. I cautioned him against this, because it’s my theory that owning a restaurant is the kind of universal fantasy everyone ought to grow out of, sooner rather than later, or else you will be stuck with the restaurant. There are many problems that come with owning a restaurant, not the least of which is that you have to eat there all the time. Giving up the fantasy that you want to own a restaurant is probably the last Piaget stage.”


“My religion is Get Over It.”


“So Lillian Ross came to the party. Before dinner, she asked my mother for a tour of the house. My mother showed her around, and at a certain point, Ross came upon a picture of my three sisters and me. “Are these your children?” she asked my mother. “Yes,” my mother said. “Do you ever see them?” Lillian Ross asked. That did it. My mother walked Lillian Ross downstairs and back to McKelway. “Out,” she said.”


“I'd known since I was a child that I was going to live in New York eventually, and that everything in between would be just an intermission. I'd spent all those years imagining what New York was going to be like. I thought it was going to be the most exciting, magical, fraught-with-possibility place that you could ever live; a place where if you really wanted something you might be able to get it; a place where I'd be surrounded by people I was dying to know; a place where I might be able to become the only thing worth being, a journalist. And I'd turned out to be right.”


“On some level, my life has been wasted on me. After all, if I can't remember it, who can?
The past is slipping away and the present is a constant affront. I can't possibly keep up.”


“Failure, they say, is a growth experience; you learn from failure. I wish that were true. It seems to me the main thing you learn from failure is that it's entirely possible you will have another failure.”


“I had no idea the Monkey Bar meat loaf was going to have my name on it, but when the restaurant opened, there it was, on the menu, Nora’s Meat Loaf. I felt that I had to order it, out of loyalty to myself, and it was exactly as good as it had been at the tasting. I was delighted. What’s more, I had the oddest sense of accomplishment. I somehow felt I’d created this meat loaf, even though I’d had nothing to do with it. I’d always envied Nellie Melba for her peach, Princess Margherita for her pizza, and Reuben for his sandwich, and now I was sort of one of them. Nora’s Meat Loaf. It was something to remember me by. It wasn’t exactly what I was thinking of back in the day when we used to play a game called “If you could have something named after you, what would it be?” In that period, I’d hoped for a dance step, or a pair of pants. But I was older now, and I was willing to settle for a meat loaf.”


“I have been forgetting things for years—at least since I was in my thirties. I know this because I wrote something about it at the time. I have proof. Of course, I can’t remember exactly where I wrote about it, or when, but I could probably hunt it up if I had to.”


“Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.”


“But the main problem with our marriages was not that our husbands wouldn’t share the housework but that we were unbelievably irritable young women and our husbands irritated us unbelievably. - The D Word”


“. . .once you find out he's cheated on you, you have to keep finding out, over and over and over again, until you've degraded yourself so completely that there's nothing left to do but walk out.”


“On some level, my life has been wasted on me. After all, if I can’t remember it, who can?”


“Here's the thing about dessert--you want it to last. You want to savor it.”


“When you get divorced and you don't get the house (which I never did), you leave behind all sorts of things you don't have the sense to know you'll someday wonder about, or wish you still had, or, worst of all, feel genuinely nostalgic for.”


“But when you've had children with someone you're divorced from, divorce defines everything; it's the lurking fact, a slice of anger in the pie of your brain.”


“Now I know that there’s no such thing as the truth. That people are constantly misquoted. That news organizations are full of conspiracy (and that, in any case, ineptness is a kind of conspiracy). That emotional detachment and cynicism get you only so far. But for many years I was in love with journalism. I loved the city room. I loved the pack. I loved smoking and drinking scotch and playing dollar poker. I didn’t know much about anything, and I was in a profession where you didn’t have to. I loved the speed. I loved the deadlines. I loved that you wrapped the fish. You can’t make this stuff up, I used to say.”


“One good thing I'd like to say about divorce is that it sometimes makes it possible for you to be a much better wife to your next husband because you have a place for your anger; it's not directed at the person you're currently with.”


“You always think that a bolt of lightning is going to strike and your parents will magically change into the people you wish they were, or back into the people they used to be. But they’re never going to. And even though you know they’re never going to, you still hope they will.”


“There were cats; cats I was wildly attached to — my husband and I spoke in cat voices. Once the marriage was over, I never thought of the cats again (until I wrote about them in a novel and disguised them as hamsters).”


“I was a journalist and I liked to watch. I was in awe.”


“But the truth is you don't always know you're getting a divorce. For years, you're married. Then, one day, the concept of divorce enters your head. It sits there for a while. You lean toward it and then you lean away. You make lists. You calculate how much it will cost. You tote up grievances, and pluses and minuses.”