I must know thousands of people from working at the library, but nearly all of that knowing is in the slimmest form of it that is possible. I don't remember these people's names. I can't recall anything personal about them. I can't remember if I last saw them a week ago or three years ago, and either being true would not surprise me. Out of context it usually even takes me three long beats to recognize them.
But there is always one thing I know, and with my recognition of them, one small, quiet chime goes off in me:
Nice, neutral, or difficult.
They feel either nice, neutral, or difficult.
I don't know why I feel or know this. I can't remember why I feel that way about them. I can ascribe no incident to them. I couldn't give you a reason for it. But it comes to me with complete confidence.
They are nice, neutral, or difficult.
Today, out on my morning photography walk I was taking pictures of someone's flowers. A man came up the sidewalk with his dog, on his way home. I guess they were his flowers then. He greeted me warmly, with a "long time no see!" reference to me and the library.
I took three beats. Then he blinked into perfect view and recollection. "Nice." My brain said, and absolutely nothing else.
We chatted for a bit, and he was... nice.
I guess we remember the most important things first, and last.