Crashes and memory

6 Apr

Yesterday morning, shortly after I finished up my blog, I pushed my bike out the door to head for work. In the distance I heard the sound of a car crashing into something. Followed by the screech of tires and another car crash. Followed by the screech of tires and yet another crash.

I live close to Interstate 95. (In fact, I can hear cars and trucks barreling down the interstate as I type.) As it turns out, I was an audio witness to a multi-car crash that snarled morning traffic something fierce. Within an hour of the crash, the bottom dropped out. The tornado warnings gave way to a blustery thunderstorm. I was safely at work and in the gym when the storm hit. It knocked out the satellite TV in the gym. That wasn’t so bad. TV morning news shows get on my nerves.

Later in the day, my significant other was in our front yard getting groceries out of the van when he was the audio witness to an elderly man slamming his car into the bus stop sign at the corner of our street. The man went up over the curb, sheared the metal sign post right off, then drove over it onto the sidewalk, back onto the street where cars really belong to be. Then he turned sheepishly down our street in one of those driver maneuvers that attempts to send the message, “I didn’t do that…” Significant Other watched the man  slowly go down the street. Alas, it is a dead end street (Interstate 95 cut this street right in half back in the early 60’s–I told you I95 was close.) Then the old man returned, driving back up the street and off, as far away from his shame as possible. Leaving the sheared off bus stop sign lying on the ground, bent and worse for wear.

Yesterday was a bad day for driving.

I spoke to an old friend over the weekend. We have known each other since we were 12, when we met in summer band in junior high school. We went to high school together and were college roommates. He is in Atlanta. I haven’t spoken to him in about a year, so it was fun to catch up. Although we may have spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about the weird hairs that now pop up in and on our ears. (Why does a hair suddenly appear at the top of my ear?!) At least we weren’t comparing heart medications. Our conversation touched on some of the people with whom we attended high school. Which inevitably lead to the theme of memory.

“I don’t remember who that is.”

“Of course you do. You know…”

“Was she black?”

“No, she was blond…”

This conversation sent my mind on some sort of track. It isn’t really nostalgia. More like morbid curiosity. Through a serendipitous clicking around on the Internet, I found pictures posted of my class’s 25th or 30th reunion. I have never been to a high school reunion. (I figure those events are for people who actually want to remember high school.) Through the magic of the Internet, I was able to be a sort of cyber-fly on the wall.

That was a trip.

First, there are the people I don’t remember really, but when I cross referenced the online pix with the pix in the yearbook, I did remember their faces. Well, the faces from the year book anyway. Then there were the people I did remember. There was the woman who, back in the early 80’s, I used to see hanging out in the local gay bars, who always acted like she had never seen me before in her life. We weren’t really friends in high school, but she knew my name. We had classes together. I was pretty sure she wasn’t a lesbian–just a woman who prefers the company of gay men. There she was in the reunion pictures with the same hair color she had in high school.

There was a guy who used to have the hottest body, looking quite well fed these days; then there was a guy who always struck me as sort of a nerd who looks so flipping hot in middle age. Many of the women have aged quite well. In fact, that is true of many of the men. Teenagers are actually awkward creatures, so it shouldn’t be surprising that people improve with age.

I have no idea what my brain was up to when it took me down this curious path. I know that I looked at the pictures and, more than ever, could not imagine myself attending a high school reunion. I looked at the pictures and realized, I don’t have a single memory or anecdote I could mine for conversation at such an event. “Hi, I remember you, but I never knew you, did I?”

I suppose seeing former class mates morphed by time, is another reminder that I too, perhaps, have been morphed by time. Time is neither kind nor cruel, despite the things we sometimes say. It is just time.

Now, a skillful writer would tie this whole time and memory stuff back to the car crashes, but this is truly stream of consciousness and the metaphor eludes me. So. all I can say is, drive carefully. You know, take your time.

Happy Wednesday


12 Responses to “Crashes and memory”

  1. Pamela N Red April 6, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    I’m glad you weren’t in one of those accidents. That is terrible.

    About twice a month I pluck the hairs out of my husband’s ears and trim his eyebrows. It’s pretty common. I think they get lost. Some guys lose hair on their hair and it relocates to their ears.

    • catzenspace April 6, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

      Hair is so weird, isn’t it. And don’t get me started on the nose hairs!

  2. wwendy smith April 6, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    I have never left High School:) Well of course I have, but not my friends. I was asked by another friend who chose to keep me throughout the years but let go of everyone else, if we felt like we were in a time warp, since we all still hanging out and drinking together. It is a fair question I dont know. I do know that we were ‘stoners’ in High School, and we have absolutely all grown up and made exceptional things out of ourselves. We go to High School reunions I suppose to show we are still a unified pack, and now we are also successful:) I do know that I look around when I am there at the people who had all these friends that I was envious of, and I realize they dont have them anymore, I suppose it is much better to have had a handful of friends who have held my hand throughout my life then to have had a ton of fair weather ones in High School. I suppose I have gone off on a tangent here. LOL. Oh there is one other great thing about having the same friends since High School, we can all get together, have a conversation, and our spouses couldnt follow it or understand it if they tried 🙂

    • catzenspace April 6, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

      Hooray for long term friendships! I am still close friends with 2 of my friends from high school. That’s nice!

  3. Fred Lehman April 6, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Know what you mean. Been there, done that … and not to long ago at that. Give it a bit of time and you’ll be back in the present with the rest of us. 🙂

    • catzenspace April 6, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

      I seem to find myself wandering around in the past quite often but, so far, not at the neglect of the present, so I guess it’s OK…

  4. Marian Griffin April 6, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    This is great!

    The part about seeing high school acquaintances felt very similar to what I have also recently experienced. I was extremely shy in high school and have gotten in touch with a few people from back then–some remembered me and others didn’t. At any rate, I spent time looking through their pictures as they unlike me they had attended reunions. I was astonished at how some people changed and how some look almost exactly the same. I wondered why I had been so shy with these people–why had I felt even intimidated by them back then…Curious.

    • catzenspace April 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

      Looking at these pictures (and the yearbooks) did put me back in touch with many of my high school era feelings. Alas, some of the insecurities have never gone away–they just morphed a bit. Interesting to revisit their earlier forms…

  5. queenie April 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    looks like going down memory lane
    someone forgot to stop….hehe…

    anyhow enjoyed your blog

    only been to one reunion
    a 5 year one…don’t think
    that really counts…no one
    had really changed…other
    than some had kids

    the hottest guy in my grade
    is also now very very well
    fed indeed and so is his
    homecoming queen wife

    i’ve only a few friends on
    fb from h.s. some i’ve deleted
    like the one that kept pestering
    me….what are you up to…i could
    not remember him from high school
    guess i should have looked him up

    anyhow…i don’t see the need for
    h.s. reunions…life is much better
    every year there after…

    i ramble…love your writes
    cat zen….hope toto made it~


  6. That Weather Girl April 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Hope you told your college roommate hello for me!

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