Driving Sideways

Ever since the accident, I’ve been extra careful, especially when it snows. I can still feel the gravitational pull as my car slid across the ice, past a braking Honda Accord, and planted itself sideways in the ditch.

I’m sure my expression was one of shock. I kept thinking, “This isn’t really happening.” My brain had it on replay, the only phrase that made sense out of the chaotic wasteland that was my mind in those brief moments between driving down the road and being sideways in the ditch.

My mind still goes there every time it snows. I try not to drive by that spot, if I can help it, with the tree, and the house back a ways, and the ditch that I imagine still has the imprint of my Santa Fe in its depths. The car I slid past pulled over to the side of the road after I went into the ditch sideways, its driver scrambling out to assist me.

I am grateful for the kindness of strangers, always, but definitely then. I was in a state of shock. In my mind the whole accident was replaying in slow motion, over and over again. Continue reading “Driving Sideways”

Losing It Again

“I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Memory is a fickle thing. It used to be my constant companion. People often asked me for clarification when anything involved a shared memory because they knew I would know what had really happened. It was a gift I guess I took for granted, that I lorded over others like Excalibur newly freed from the stone.

But unbeknownst to me while I was in the middle of that blessed time, memory was also fickle. I imagine it had begun curving away from me, its ends a bit frayed by time, without my even recognizing the shift. As time went on I started to lose fragments of my massive memory. I used to joke about it, back then.

“I guess that memory had to leave to make room for this one, right now,” I would tell people, but inside my brain this niggling doubt began inching its way in. Continue reading “Losing It Again”

July 2, 2005

10 years ago today I found out I was going to be a father. I remember it like it was yesterday — the anticipation, the nerves, the hope that it was indeed going to happen, that it wasn’t a cruel joke being played on me by God. And yet it seemed like God was on … Continue reading July 2, 2005

Significant Details

“Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are.” ~Susan Sontag When we look at photographs of ourselves as children we can sometimes laugh and talk about how we felt at the time, but do we honestly remember or are our “memories” mere byproducts of our parents telling us about the … Continue reading Significant Details

Recognition

blankstare“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

There’s just something about faces. You know, the juxtaposition of eyes, nose, and a mouth, ears on the side, and whatever type of chin someone possesses. I have seen a plethora of faces in my lifetime. They come and go quickly through my periphery, but for the most part they aren’t forgotten. In fact, I remember most faces I’ve ever seen, which is really no exaggeration. Sometimes I’m proud of that fact, and other times it makes me dreadfully sad.

I saw a man today who I haven’t seen in over five years, but I recognized him right off. However, I didn’t approach him to catch up on old times. For one, we were merely acquaintances way back then, and for another, he obviously didn’t remember me. I used to take that personally, wondering how someone could just forget me like that, but admittedly I wasn’t a huge part of his life, and/or memorable enough to make the list of people he would automatically recall. I could have taken the time to refresh his memory, but what would have been the point? “Oh yeah, I know you now.”

What makes me sad, though, are the times when I see someone who was significant to me in some former life but who has no idea who I am when we pass. Sometimes I even say hi, and they look at me like I’m a total stranger, even though for a solid block of time we were as close as two peas in a banana peel. For some people is it just easier to move on and forget, and is that a positive or a negative thing? Continue reading “Recognition”