Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Deep Impact

Every day our memory goes through a minor, less painful version of shock treatment. Facts, figures, places, sights, sounds, phone numbers, tastes, smells, song lyrics, stenches. It's a lot to take in, but it all has to be registered somewhere. Damn, that tortilla soup was delish. Thanks scalding hot sand, I really appreciate the blisters, let's not meet again. Wow, that new Britney Spears song makes me wish I had hot wax to pour into my ear canals. All those thoughts and memories are filed away for future reference, some fading over time, others standing pat for the remainder of our lives. The same goes for people. Some stumble into our lives smelling of rum, pizza and donuts (usually around 2am, once the bars are closing), but are lost as quickly as a cell phone on a blackout night. Others enter, provide substance and leave an indelible imprint. 

How many times do you find yourself somewhere, glancing repeatedly at someone over yonder, asking yourself, where do I know him/her from? You recall the footprint left on your memory, but can recall no sense of proper identification. Of course, the ones who've mattered most, you'd recognize their face, remember their address, their dogs name and how good they were at handball, even if it'd been 10 years since the last interaction. We all have those people. They come and go at unexpected junctures in our lives, but never seem to leave altogether. They pop up in dreams, sign up for Facebook, get mentioned in a conversation, or invite you to their wedding. And when that happens, all of those memories that may have settled into the back of your mind resurface, and you get to relive all those days, hours, minutes all over again.

Though I can't identify one particular person who has completely rocked the landscape of my life, I can easily identify a few who have been integral in molding me into the man (Young adult? No. Shit, 26 is old.) that I am today. It's weird to consider who I would be if I hadn't crossed paths with various pockets of people over the years. Had I not grown up playing soccer and sports with my childhood friend, Marco, would I be a techy or a tax analyst? If I hadn't met the PNC boys (long story), would I have been some druggie burnout in high school? If the newspaper staff at Chapman hadn't been as talented, inspiring and entertaining, would I have continued down the path toward a career in journalism? If I hadn't met my lady while studying abroad in Europe, would I still find myself buried in the sports pages, ignoring events going on in the rest of the world? Tremendously important and vital parts of my personality can be attributed to those who have come to matter.

Had life gone just a bit differently in a few key areas, would I even recognize who I could have turned out to be? Did I even have a say in the way my life turned out? Are we all actors in our own, unknown untelevised sitcom? (Insert Twilight Zone music here.) 

So many questions, and I have absolutely no answers.


Maria "Spunk" Brophy said...

Great post, Chasen! My first mentor was a lady that was my boss at my first job at 17. I came from a messed up family, and she was the first NORMAL person I spent time with. She cared about me and taught me that I could be anything, and she respected who I was.

There were others after her, but if not for her, who knows where I'd be today?

I think I'll write her a "thank you" - if I can find her.

Thanks for digging up a good memory for me!

charlotte esther wilde said...

cool post (and great movie hah). i think about this a lot and always am reminded of two things:

1) these wilco lyrics that are so dreamy and pretty and true: Are there really ones like these? / The ones I dream / Float like leaves / And freeze to spread skeleton wings / I passed through before I knew you."

and 2) my best friend's mom in high school used to say that people are like diamonds and with every person you meet, they chip away at you to form you into the person you are. i guess chipping can be both good and bad.

anyway, fried you later! emily