신입생 오리엔테이션에서 통성명도 하고 얘기도 나눴던 땡땡이는 개강 첫날 못 알아볼 만큼 예쁜 옷을 입고 예쁘게 화장을 하고 왔다. 그래서 예의 차리느라 한마디 했다. "어머, 너 땡땡이니? 못 알아보겠다, 얘." 그러나 그에 대한 반응은 무(無)였다. 눈을 약간 치뜬 걸 반응이라고 할 수는 없을 테니까. 꽤 오랫동안 나는 그 아이가 나 같은 못생긴 시골뜨기가 말을 건 게 불쾌했기 때문에 그런 줄로만 알았다. 왜냐하면, 스무 살 나의 세상에는 대체 만났던 사람을 ‘기억하지 못한다’라는 옵션은 존재하지 않았으니까. 때문에 그의 그런 뜨악한 반응이 그 아이의 머릿속에 내가 존재하지 않았기 때문이라는 걸 깨닫는 데는 상당한 시간이 걸렸고, 단언컨대 그 작은 사건은 내가 대학에서 삐뚤어지게 된 아주 사소한 계기가 되었다. 아 물론 '이제 와 새삼 이 나이에' 그를 탓하려는 건 아니다.

좀 심한 경우도 있었다. 밀레니엄을 전후해 '아이러브스쿨'이 흥했을 때, 그때까지만 해도 본인의 성향을 미처 깨닫지 못한 쥔장(그러니까, 본인의 성향을 아는 지금은 카카오톡도 안 한다는 정도로만 얘기해둔다)은 한 친구에게 연락을 하게 된다. 그 친구로 말할 것 같으면, 초등학교 5학년 때 전학을 왔다가 6학년인가 중학교 1학년인가에 갑자기 다시 서울로 전학을 가버린 친구로서, 몇 년 안 되는 시간이지만 제법 잘 붙어 다녔던 남자애였다. 아무튼, 흔치 않은 이름이라(젠장, 지금도 기억 나네) 그를 아이러브스쿨에서 찾는 건 그리 어렵지 않았고, 냉큼 쪽지를 보냈다. 안녕, 나야. 잘 지냈니? 그리고 며칠 후 도착한 회신에는 미안하지만 누군지... 그 학교를 다니긴 했지만 본인이 기억하는 건 땡땡(나 아니다)이랑 땡땡(또 나 아니다)이...지만 어쨌든 이걸 계기로 친구가 될 수도 있겠다나 하는 헛소리가 적혀 있었다. 아 네, 그러시군요. 그럼 안녕히 계세요.

가장 최근에는 이전 글에 적은 선배 때문에 연락한 사람이었는데, 아 또 그로 말할 것 같으면 그 선배의 초중고대 동기이자 20년 동안 나와 같은 아파트 단지에서 자란 사람으로 당연히 대학 이후 모임에서도 몇 번 본 적이 있으며, 심지어 그의 동생 결혼식에도 참석한 사이(물론 동생과의 친분 때문이 아니라 엄마가 동네 아주머니들과 함께 오셔서이지만)다. 그런데 세상에 메일을 보냈더니 뭐라? 누군지 잘 모르겠다더니 아, 땡땡형 동생인가? 한다. 아 예, 땡땡형 동생 맞습니다, 맞고요.

이건 대체 내 기억력이 너무 좋은 게 문제인가, 그들이 모자라는 게 문제...라기엔 다들 제도권 교육 열심히 받고 밤낮으로 공부해서 빵빵한 학벌들이라는... 아 수업시간에 배운 거 외우느라 다른 게 머리에 들어갈 틈이 없는 것인가. 그렇담 내 머리엔 왜 수업시간에 배운 것들을 제외한 온갖 것들이 들어차 있는지 알 것도 같다.
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2016/03/23 13:35 2016/03/23 13:35
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