February 13th, 2009



Just some fun images from my drive home today. When I got off the expressway and turned down the first street of my path towards home there was a guy carrying four balloons, two black and two red, with a weight wrapped in foil at the bottom of the ribbons. Plain rubber balloons, oblong, nothing fancy. But he was walking along like it was the happiest day of his life, swinging the weight beside himself in time with his steps. I noticed his hat bill tipping back occasionally, so he must have been looking at the sky. His movements were so carefree and relaxed, what we would call childlike, unrestrained.

I got to the corner where I turn right and there was another man standing there, a printed banner with "Happy Valentine's Day" in his hands. He stared at the people in the cars directly, almost challengingly. Have a great Valentine's day, I DARE YOU! There was a dissonance between his face and his message, and even though I smiled at him, he never made eye contact with me, even when I was the first car at the red light, waiting for my turn. I was thinking about blowing him a kiss or some other acknowledgment, but he started walking down the line of paused traffic instead. As I turned I wondered what his motive was. If it was love, why stand there after it was obviously no fun anymore? There was no affiliation markings that I saw on him or on the sign, so why do it other than love? I wondered what had just happened to him, how long he was standing there, what motivated him to print a sign wishing everyone more love in their life - or if Valentine's day means something totally different to him.

I've decided this is one of the reasons memory fails - too much information. I've only glancingly recorded what I noticed, there was so much more to say. Details of dress, posture, expression, the angle of light, the temperature outside, the time of day. But even the fact that today I passed a man holding a sign wishing me a happy Valentine's day will be lost and forgotten, only brought to mind if something relevant sparks the memory. There's too much information for my brain to hold on to it all, so I forget. I suspect that as I layer day after day of experience onto my life it will get progressively worse. And yet I don't know how or if I should stop it. Of course I can journal more, which is a selective form of memory. I could photodocument everything, but that gets in the way of experiencing. So for now I think I can accept that this is the best solution - enjoy and forget to make room for new enjoyable experiences.