The wheels of the bus go round and round. Round and round. Round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round. All day long …
I heard the singing before I saw the singer. It was a light female voice pitched just above a murmur and warm with playful good humour. Sure enough, just around the corner past the end of aisle stack of special offers, I found them. A snugly wrapped pre-toddler in a carrying chair their eyes following the singing shape in front of them.
Saturday afternoon in Lidl would not normally provoke such a strong surge of memories. Perhaps I’m just in a reflective mood just now but the whole moment resonated somewhere deep and usually forgotten. It is a song we sang with our children. On journeys. On playmats. In pre-bedtime cuddles. A silly small thing.
It’s often the small things though that have the most power to trip a memory or launch a reaction. The last insignificant snowflake that propels the cornice off the mountain side. I suppose at the minute my lengthy periods of self-reflection make me particularly avalanche prone.
It’s strange how some things come back with HD clarity yet others, that seemed so important, are fuzzy with interference.
In my tidying the other day I came across an old set of diary inserts for a year in the late 1990s. As I flipped through there were meetings and events, conferences and telephone calls: the rhythm of a normal working life. I couldn’t remember a single moment.
But it only took the words, ‘team day’ alongside the name of a famous aristocratic pile to take me straight into a jostling crowd of memories. Each vibrant and full of life. Racing round a go-kart track. Being lost in a maze. Ice-creams and lounging in the shade of a hot afternoon.
I can not think of any reason why that day should be so fixed in my recollections and a thousand more ‘important’ moments eroded into uniformity. Piled now into a vast bank of sameness stretching back over my shoulder into a past where individual voices are a single, ceaseless murmur along the shore.
Perhaps that’s just the way our human editing software works.
I hummed the bus song all the way home. Just like the wheels it went round and round inside the car. I’m still humming it now as I get ready for the week ahead. I’m sure I may be inwardly humming it in my second interview. (or outwardly if thinks get tricky.) I wonder though if, in 15 years or so, it will be memories of the interview that bring back the song or the song which will bring back memories of the interview.
Or will something unremarkable in the margin of next week’s diary provide the arresting memory for week commencing 24 January 2011?
The wheels on the bus go round and round. All day long.