Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sexy Non Sequiturs (Me, Annotated)

Thanks to Robin, at Your Daily Dose, I'm not putting Me, Annotated posts on their own blog anymore. These are old posts, photos, etc., that I'm taking a fresh look at.

PWNST, or Pictures With Non Sequitur Titles, also used to have their own spot, until I realized that nobody was looking at them there, either.  Today's picture is:

Once in a while is actually pretty often, depending on how many whiles there are in a life.

Yesterday, I took the boys on a trip to "Crazy Frank's," which is a store I've driven by numerous times over the past 20 years or so, this store with these big billboards which feature misspelled words and promise that you can save lots of money and I always wanted to stop there but never did.

April is cold so far, and brownish-drab, and yesterday promised a high of 52 degrees, so I hadn't planned anything outside, and it seemed a good day to go to "Crazy Frank's," so we did.  Mr Bunches seemed intrigued, asking me what "Crazy Frank's" was (Mr F simply watched his videos on the computer), and after we got done fiddling around at the office where we go most Saturday mornings, we hopped in the car and drove there.

"Crazy Frank's" is a flea market, it turns out: a combination of Goodwill and an antiques store, and there was some neat stuff there -- vintage, mint-condition Star Wars toys, for example, and I was tempted to get Mr Bunches the AT-AT toy he wanted but it wasn't in great condition and WAS $30, so I nixed that (and the related vintage toy spaceship that I thought wouldn't work.)

After that, we went into downtown Mineral Point to check it out; it's one of those places where there are art stores and old-fashioned storefronts and fancy candy shops, although it has a half-finished feel to it.

We walked up and down High Street there, and stopped in their refurbished library, and bought some candy, and looked at the Art Park, and then took a different way home, stopping at the scenic overlook where you can walk a footbridge across the highway and watch the cars go below you before going to a lookout spot where you could see rolling hills and rocky escarpments and off in the distance, the futuristic space-shuttle-esque outcropping of Frank Lloyd Wright's "House On The Rock," which features prominently in Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

The boys liked Mineral Point, but got tired.  They loved the bridge and scenic overlook, running back and forth to watch cars and climbing on rocks and looking out to see farms, which haven't yet turned green, either -- whereas fall in Wisconsin, after the leaves are down, has a feel of "job well done", like a house that's been cleaned up after a party before you go to bed, spring at this stage has the feel of a construction site before it gets interesting, just a dirt hole and a bunch of garbage that doesn't look like supplies yet -- and the boys got burrs on their pants, and had their hair tousled by the wind. The sun had grown warm, the sky was a flawless blue, and everywhere I looked there were old-fashioned buildings and interesting sculptures and beautifully twisted trees and distant landmarks and smiling boys running.

My camera, which is my phone, had run out of power early into this trip, and I got no pictures of 75% of the day, which worries me.

It worries me because that PWNST up there? I remember that day.  It's a picture of the railing outside Wisconsin's Capitol building, and we go there all the time in the summer. I can remember taking the boys there that particular day, and walking over the lawn of the building, and inside, where Mr Bunches and Mr F looked into the Liberty Bell replica, and going up to the observation deck where we walked around and looked down at the Farmer's Market that's on Capitol Square every Saturday in the summer.

I remember that day even though it was years ago, because I have that picture (and some others, of course, but even that relatively nondescript picture works).

I can't remember anything before second grade in my life, at all.  I can barely remember huge swathes of high school, law school, and many eras of my life.  They've faded away and it may be that they're not there in my mind, at all, anymore.

I hate forgetting.  Even the tiniest moments of life can be so wonderful that I don't want to forget them, and yesterday wasn't a tiny moment at all.  It was a great day, full of things I'll want to remember, and now I'm worried that I won't, that someday that day will be gone, like most of my 7th grade and much of the year 1993 and others.

It affected me so much that I came home and spent a half-hour looking at cameras online, trying to figure out if I could afford to buy one to replace my phone, which loses power to quickly and which I can't upgrade for free for six months.  SIX MONTHS. A lifetime can happen in six months and it bothers me to think that 10 years from now I might not remember April-October, 2014, at all.

I still had a fun day, but always in the back of my mind was that fear that I would one day not be able to remember this day.  I never worry about much, at all, and I don't worry in particular about death, at all.  I worry about forgetting, which seems somehow to me worse.


Robin said...

This comment is going to be rather long (I suspect), so I am giving you fair warning.

My chronic migraine started in 2003. In 2004, I was still working, albeit with difficulty, and spent as much time as possible in bed in a dark room. I began my job as a sales rep in 1997 or 1998 (yeah, forgetting sucks). So, I had been at it for a while come 2004. Most of my customers were repeats. I visited them once a month, sometimes more, sometimes less... but usually once a month.

I spent many a day in 2004 trying to work with a migraine. That day I was in the town where I lived traveling extremely familiar places. I left one account and simply COULD NOT REMEMBER how to get to the next (even though I'd been doing this for year). I broke down... full-blown anxiety attack. I had to pull into the parking lot of a chicken place because I was now unfit to drive. I called my mom, but she didn't know where all of the industrial accounts I called on were located, so she was no help.

I sat there for a long time and it finally came back to me.

I talked to my neurologist about it and he said that other people complained about memory loss. They just forgot stuff. It was gone. Wiped from their brains. From that moment forward, every time my migraine cranked up badly I would like in bed and break down on two levels. One, the pain was killing me. And the other one was dread and anxiety... what is the migraine going to steal from me today? What will I no longer remember? Of course, I wouldn't know because it would be gone.

When my family gets together and tells stories about funny things that happened from childhood... so much of it is new to me. It is like I wasn't there. But I was. It's just wiped. It makes me sad. Every time.

Briane P said...

I at least don't have the pain of migraines associated with it.

There's always someone worse off than yourself, it seems. I hope you get those headaches under control.

Andrew Leon said...

Losing my mind has been my only dread since I was a kid. Like elementary school, I think. That's my only fear about growing old and stuff. I think to some extent that might be why I became a story teller even while I was still in high school. The telling of stories holds things in my head. Most of life, I don't care to remember, but I tend to tell myself stories about the things I want to remember. Of course, blogging about things has become a good exercise in that.

I don't take enough pictures anymore, and I hate my camera. It takes minutes after a picture to be ready to take another one, and it drives me crazy. Fortunately, my wife's work recently provided her with a phone with a camera that is much better than my actual camera.

I've never been prone to headaches... until lately. I don't know that they're migraines, but I've gone from one headache every many months to something like one a week. The worst ones are the ones I wake up with.

Liz A. said...

But you wrote about the day here. So that's how you'll remember it.

I don't have the forgetting problem. I remember things way too well.

If you think about this thing called "conservation of information" (it's a physics thing as physicists are big into conservation of just about everything: mass, energy, etc.) the idea is that information can't be lost. So, that information, that is, your memories, are still somewhere in your brain. It's just a retrieval problem.

Pictures are good. So are blog posts. I suspect that 1993 isn't remembered because there isn't much to remember. It wasn't really that great a year. (I do remember it. Not fondly.)

Joy Pagel said...


Retrieval problems are actually the problem with me. And yeah, 1993 probably wasn't so great.


Don't let headaches go unlooked at. Sweetie has a camera that she said I could use and I hate that one: same problem with the readiness, plus it makes everything look unnatural somehow, and the viewscreen is terrible.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm pretty sure they're sleep related. Like 85% sure.

Rusty Carl said...

I've read we tend to forget things that we either don't think are important, or that were really traumatic. I often wonder if the reason I can't remember any birthday at all in my life is because I get abducted by aliens and probed and such every year on my birthday. It makes sense to me.

Anyway, I wish I could recall things better myself. I seem to have a near encyclopedic memory for trivia, but ask me about something, you know, important - and I'm stumped. I can't remember where I put my keys, or my wife's middle name, or my Parent/Teacher meeting at my son's school... but ask me who won the AL batting title in 1985 (Wade Boggs .368... highest BA in baseball at the time since George Brett his .390 in 1980... which was a bummer because it overshadowed Rod Carew's .388 from a few years prior, which was a more impressive achievement, I think, due to the many more at bats he had in his great year.)

See, and I haven't kept up with baseball very much in the past 25 years (I did briefly in the late 90's. Not AT ALL since then). I've just got all sorts of stupid stuff like that lodged in my head, and REAL things just aren't there.

A Beer For The Shower said...

I agree with Rusty. I think we just push a lot of the crap out of our minds.

You know, just for our 'reliving high school' posts it was amazing how much we had to force ourselves to sit down and think to remember anything about high school. Anything. I have very, very vague memories of that 4 years, and so does Brandon. All I know is it was pretty boring and terrible. Frankly, I'm glad I don't remember much of it. It's not really anything worth remembering.