Tuesday, January 10, 2006
When I was small, my mother would recite poetry by memory - poems from when she was in grade school. I was amazed that she could remember them by heart. She told me teachers used to make children memorize them. I thought that was an unbelievable feat. My brain isn't wired for memory. Every single day I lose my keys. I can never remember to take medicine. I rely on my computer to remind me to eat.
I never did remember more than a line or two of poetry. The only one I can think of is,
"In Flander's Fields the poppies grow
Beneath the crosses row on row"
But that was only because I had to read it in front of the school for remembrance day in 7th grade and I practiced so much.
There was one other line of text I did memorize though. I was young - maybe 3rd or 4th grade. I often saw it in movies and heard it on the television.
Somehow I was enchanted.
"You are under arrest.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to an attorney.
If you can not afford one, one will be appointed to you.
Do you understand your rights?"
With great purpose I rehearsed it aloud. I would try it different ways: a menacing voice, out of breath, authorative, dissapointed. Barbie would arrest Ken, Ken would arrest Barbie. I would arrest one sibling, ordering the other to, "take them away!"
I don't know how it charmed an 8 year old girl. I never aspired to be in law enforcement (although I did love Jessica Fletcher from Murder she Wrote). I never once dabbled in theft. I never understood my own right to be silent, even though I did understand the price I paid for talking too much.
If I asked my therapist about it, he would say, "Well, I'm not sure. Any thoughts on that?"
I would say, "Every minute of my day was scheduled - my mother controlled everything. From that perspective I suppose this was a seductive speech, and evidently a relatively constructive way to exercise my own power."
I think I might be outgrowing therapy.
Posted by Rachel at 10:54 PM