Déjà déjà vu

I don’t understand déjà vu.

I can remember instances of it from ten or fifteen years ago. (I bought a set of Playmobil toys from a store at a little collection of craft shops half an hour from my home. The déjà vu occurred while I was walking towards the café where my mother waited for me–looking down at the paper bag clenched in my fist as I passed a knicknack store that would become a candle shoppe–extra letters for extra fancy, extra pricy.)

I seem to get déjà vu quite often … I find myself thinking automatically, again?, anytime it occurs, and not (I should note) in reference to the subject of the feeling.

And like dreams, my déjà vu moments sometimes decide to get creative. The feeling that I’ve experienced this before is commonly vague, but recently I had one related to my brother’s new house that was solid. Rocklike in its tangibility.

I went back and helped paint at the house the weekend before this last, and just as I was finishing the last bit of primer on the trim at the foot of the stairs, it happened. I’m kneeling on the hardwood floor in a narrow staircase, my body facing the stairs but my head twisted around to see the trim that’s half behind me. There’s a foot ladder eminently in my way, so I’m scrunched up quite tightly, painting the last few brushstrokes of white primer onto the base of the wood trim. I have seen this before, says D.V., but not satisfied with the typical, she goes on, I’ve seen this but I haven’t really been here. Only in dreams. Yes, that was it. I dreamed this, it must have been last year, last summer perhaps, maybe in June.

My mind is telling me that I saw the house my brother wasn’t yet looking for with his then-still-girlfriend who I had met in passing, if that. A very specific portion of that house, in fact, and my involvement with it. But trainable intuition reminds it that I couldn’t have actually been there, so it’d better amend the story and tell me I knew the house my bro would buy before he had ever started looking.

And I repeat: I am weird. (And I expand: we’re all weird.)

So what is déjà vu, anyway? Is there any general theory on what’s going on in the brain when we get that feeling of redundancy? It’s crazy stuff, I tell you. I’d like to understand it.


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