McMadeleine | Excerpt from the upcoming book “Everything About Wine, But Wine.”

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I had nothing behind me. No memory alive. An absolute void that goes from 1986 to 2018. Some images, yes, appearing fast and indistinct, like an advertising jingle. Transient ungraspable perceptions. Pop ups of unwanted information, because incomplete, out of place. Cookies that due to some flaw in the firewall of my brain, surface for a moment without any revealing value. Memories, or false representations of memories that are useless if not to distract me from my flat and linear present. My defense mechanisms have the function of sheltering me from the depth, from the verticality and from the linearity of the story of my emotions, of my experiences. The goal is to save energy, to save space on the hard disk of my brain. All the superfluous, what is not functional to the management of clicks of my synapses, is put in a Cloud of which I have forgot my password. Of course, I would certainly be able, if you ask me, to chronologically reconstruct, year after year, the time spent. But it would be a rational reconstruction, without emotions, or with fake emotions, posthumous. I would like to recreate an idea of the past that has no adherence to the emotional truth. The counterpoint to these false memories is the cadenced but unpredictable sound of the notification. It is as if I had delegated the role of memory researcher to my devices. I no longer need, now, to know what I did yesterday and what I will do tomorrow, because a Plin! from a notification is ready to remind me of it in my place. A delegation that has atrophied my perception of time, reducing the regular passage of the seconds to a mere 9 sequence of forgettable events. A few seconds of suspension on the surface of the connections of my cerebral cortex, and then off, erased forever. Until one day ...

It was raining in Rome and I could not say which date accurately. I was returning from a trip to Genoa. A train that was two hours late and I was hungry. In front of the Termini station everything was closed when, on the side of Via Giolitti, I saw an electric yellow light that caught my attention. It's a place that seems familiar but I cannot determine why. I also feel an instinct, a force, which is more than just hunger, an atavistic desire to reach that light and above all those artificial aromas. The restaurant is closing but maybe I'm still in time. Inside there is a varied humanity. People who seem in suspension, out of place, with an indifferent air. I order a Big Mac Menu with a Coke. I do it in a mechanical way, without particular emotions. I think I'm there for a simple need of primal hunger. Called by a basic instinct. I think. The Big Mac is inside a chest that has the shape of a golden shell. The noise it makes in opening me gives me a little shake that I barely register. I bring the hamburger to the mouth, without particular perspectives. But as soon as I take the first bite, a violent sensation collects my senses. A sensory and emotional vibration like a rekindling of the pinball of my peripheral and central nervous system. I could not say how long it lasted, maybe less than a second, but here in front of me everything seems clear, sharp. Then the feeling fades. I try to dip a potato in the barbecue sauce, I still feel a chill but it's just 10 a less powerful version of the first taste. I again sink my teeth in the hamburger, trying to recover the stage that is now fading, and still nothing. It's like a thump, something forgotten that for a moment has resurfaced on the screen of my memories and then plunged back into the ocean of unwanted spam. I try, with logic, to reappropriate that feeling, but I know it's useless. There is no rational road. There is no connection, no matter how powerful it is, that manages to transmit such a quantity of data, and there is no hard disk with memory able to store it afterwards. So I forget the fact. But here at the last bite of my Big Mac, where all the sauces were concentrated and melted with cheese and the last piece of meat became one with the soft sandwich soaked with flavoring, the shock returns and brings me back to a memory, which remains suspended there in the air, vivid and clear. It's 1986 and I'm in Milan with my uncle Niccolò. For the first time I taste a sandwich at Mc Donald’s. That feeling, which I had already forgotten, is now able, through a mysterious system of data hacking, to recover all the information lost in this long period of time. They return through the digestive tract, like a gastroesophageal reflux, the tactile memories, the experiences, the taste of these useless thirty years. No longer in the form of simple memories, but of digested experiences, which cyclically, thanks to a mysterious and alchemical mixture of artificial flavorings, now regurgitate in my brain.

to be continued...

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