The Memory Bank: Day One — Introduce Yourself
“Laura,” the representative announced, “this is Mr. Doore, here for his five o’clock appointment.”
Laura stood up from behind her desk, “Yes, thank you, Dan. I’ll handle it from here.” She smiled at the Dan, who nodded to me and then returned to the main lobby.
“Mr. Doore, welcome to the Memory Bank,” she started as we shook hands and then took our respective seats, “it’s a pleasure to meet you in person.”
“Yes. I’m glad I could make this appointment time after work. Otherwise, I’d come in on weekends.”
Laura smiled, “Well, the Memory Bank is also open on weekends but I work during the weekdays.”
“Good to know.”
Laura woke up her terminal and logged in. “Okay, let’s bring up your file and get started.” She typed on her keyboard and clicked at several places before returning her attention to me.
“Before we begin, I would like to get some signatures from you regarding your account. It’s just part of the formalities to ensure your privacy and confidentiality with your memories.”
“Sure, sure,” I nodded. I watched her produce several documents printed from beneath her desk.
“Sign here, and here, and here,” Laura noted with an X on each of the forms before I took up the pen and started signing.
Laura watched my hands, “Oh, you write like a lefty.”
“Yes, I do,” I said with a grin, “my mom forced me to write with my right hand but my cursive is slanted like a left-handed person.”
“Well, I hope you’ll include that in your memories. You’re one of the first people I’ve met who have such handwriting.”
“Indeed,” I said as I finished signing the last document. I watched her gather the papers, staple them together, and file them within a manila folder inside a drawer.
“Okay, now that that part is finished, I’ll tell a few things about your memory transactions: First, you have a choice of setting up an appointment with me or another Accountant if I’m not here. Second, you will be given an hour to record your memories. We ask that you share at least 15 minutes of your time or you will be charged.”
“Charged?” I asked. “You mean you actually charge a fee?”
I saw Laura grimace, “Yes, unfortunately. Lately, certain customers have been abusing the use of our Memory Accountants, using them for small transactions like altering or deleting memories instead of using the tellers. Our job as a Memory Accountant is to record your memories in the best quality possible. We handle about 100 transactions individually, so our time is precious.”
“I see. Well, now I know better.”
Laura nodded then resumed, “And finally, there is no judgment being made on these memories. It is in your best interests to be open, honest, and fair when sharing. We want your future generations to hear the raw information being shared. In turn, because I have been assigned to you, I can assure you that your memories are anonymous. It is purely coincidental that anyone will recognize themselves in your memory.”
“Will I be sued by that person?” I asked.
Laura smiled, “No. It is understood that these memories are not reflective of your current situation and should not be held against you, even in the court of law. Things change in life, and perhaps you made yourself better than you were then.”
“Ah,” I sighed with relief, “that’s good to know.”
“Now then, let me take you to one of our available memory lounges to share your first transaction.”
Laura and I stood up and we walked out of the office and up the hallway. We entered a room that had six cubicles with three-foot-high walls. Each cubicle had two chairs and a terminal. On the desk were two headphones with mics attached to one of the muffs. We sat down at one of the cubicles and put on the headphones.
“Can you hear me, Mr. Doore?” Laura asked, speaking into the microphone.
I nodded with a thumbs up as Laura smiled and turned on the terminal. She brought up my account information and then opened another program.
“We are going to use this program to record your memories. I will ask you a series of question for our session time. When time is over, the program will stop recording. Are you ready?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be,”I replied. She smiled and started the recording.
“We will be making introductions about you for this recording. Nothing fancy here, just simple questions about yourself. Please state your full name.”
“Justin Martin Doore.”
“Do you use your full name?”
“Only for formal settings, like in government and legal stuff.”
“So you normally go by Justin.”
“Yes. I actually allow very few people to call me by my middle name, family members aside.”
“Why is that?”
“Just something more personal.”
Laura nodded, “Are there other names by which you’ve been called, be it good or bad?”
I thought a moment before answering. “Well, I used to be called Eeyore.”
Laura raised an eyebrow, “Eeyore? I haven’t heard that name since I was a child. Is he your favorite character?”
I blushed a bit, “Yeah.”
Laura smiled, “Don’t worry. We can talk about it another time. So, your birth date and where you were born.”
“March ninth, 1973, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
“And where do you live now?”
“Out in the Inland Empire, within the San Bernadino county.”
“And you work here, in Pasadena? That’s quite a drive.”
“About 51.4 miles, to be exact.”
“I see. Well, I’m sure in the future there will be other branches opening in your area. What is your ethnicity?”
“Interesting. You don’t sound Filipino.”
“Well, my parents spoke mostly English when we were around. They spoke Tagalog among themselves and other relatives.”
“Any other languages you speak or have learned?”
“Hmm… I studied French in high school and college but lost it. I tried to teach myself Italian and Japanese but couldn’t find the time.”
I stalled for a moment, “Umm…”
“Well, you can disclose that another time. This and other questions are a normal part of the introduction and are meant to establish your account. Only those whom you allow access to your account will hear the raw memories. Others will hear the abridged version.”
“Oh, is that how it works? I was wondering about that.”
Laura smiled, “That’s part of the confidentiality we exercise here at the Bank. As your Memory Accountant, I manage various versions of your memories for the appropriate receiver. Friends and family members whom you’ve listed in your account get to hear the preliminary version. People outside of your list will hear the abridged versions, which removes certain information that could easily identify you personally.”
“Okay. That’s assuring to know.”
“Now then. Schools you’re attended.”
“Hmm… I remember attending William Penn Elementary before I changed to St. Michael’s Academy. From there, it was Marian High School and then I graduated and attended UC Riverside for five years before graduating again.”
“Have you done any other studies since then?”
“Well, I did attend classes for Devry but I was removed due to falling grades. I haven’t returned since there was an investigation into the school at the time.”
“Okay. Any hobbies and/or interests?”
“Hmm… well, I enjoy photography. I have a Nikon camera that takes photos and records video. I also play video games, do an occasional Sudoku puzzle, and read when time permits.”
“What books have you read?”
I thought for a while. “Oh geez. Just too many to list. Let’s see. Recently, I read Pax, by Sarah Pennypacker. I’m currently reading Clockwork Angels, by Kevin J. Anderson. Some I’ve read in the past were A Separate Peace, To Kill a Mockingbird, Mythology, The Hiding Place, Catch-22, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dune. Oh, all of the Encyclopedia Brown books. The Princess Bride. Just so much to name.”
“I guess I’ll need a list of those books for your file.”
“Yeah,” I replied, feeling a bit sheepish.
“So what is your current job?”
“I work for a financial institution, handling files and documents.”
“Any previous jobs before this?”
“Well, I worked nine years as a temp for a couple of employment agencies. Both assignments involved working with files. Before that, I was an office assistant to an insurance agency. I also did some retail, which I loved and hated, and also worked some computer assignments for another agency.”
“What was your first job?”
“Paperboy. It was a rough introduction to work. I enjoyed throwing the paper. I hated collecting the money from the subscribers.”
“How times have changed.”
“Yeah, they have.”
The rest of the questions were rather bog-standard: what foods I liked/disliked, any allergies, health issues I’ve had and currently hold, sports I enjoy, etc. By the end of the hour, I was starting to fall asleep. I think Laura noticed because her voice became loud at times, stirring me from my stupor. She seemed understanding, though. I’m guessing the introductions are one of the laborious parts of the process. Everything else after that should be easier to handle.
After I got home from my appointment and had some dinner, I lay down and stared at the ceiling. I had already set up another appointment with Laura, Friday at the same time. I think she was pleasant to work with. I hope she continues to be my Memory Accountant until they decide to build more branches over where I live.
I turned over to my side and fell asleep.
Thank you for taking the time to read this story, part of a series of writing prompts for the month. If you’d this and other stores I’ve written, consider showing your appreciation with a clap or three.