77. absentmindedly


It was bound to happen and it did. I wrote an entire blog post and failed to save it. Bloggets, the next post will be the failed #77, forever fated to be #78. Fortunately I can rewrite the entry based on my brain’s hard drive memory, the thing I worry about in head injuries. I’d hate to lose my memories due to some preventable cause. Sure, everyone has a memory or an entire phase of life that he/she would like to forget, but most won’t pay the price of losing all the surrounding and attached memories with it. But that’s how memories link one to another, all wrapped around each other like a city laundromat where everyone’s laundry goes into the same washer. Good luck pulling out just the socks and shirts that are yours. “Excuse me, Ma’am, is this your bra hooked onto my sock?”

Don’t take my word for it. Do a little experiment. If you have a treadmill, get on it at 3.0 miles per hour, a nice steady walking pace. Or go for a walk. Get your rhythm. Then imagine one thing, only one thing if you can. Let’s say Neil Young, because he is singing Tell Me Why on the I-Pod. Inevitably you find yourself feeling old strings in your soul vibrating along with the tune. And then you recall an existential teen sadness where you pondered the whys of life and your family and your future. Images of your friends come to the surface, some dead or just obliterated by change. These feeling-driven image/memory kernels float like insects across the still waters of your consciousness until a deep dwelling bass sucks them down in a gulp.

Wow! Where did that bass come from? Was it some psychological defense? Is there a protective vacuum cleaner function in the inner psyche that sends out a fat large mouth bass to capture vibrating cricket chirping thoughts? Maybe. One thing is for sure– I’m not  thinking about Neil Young any longer. I’m wondering why my brain tried to erase those tender thoughts from my teen years, my friends’ faces and the cars we drove and the concerts we attended. Somehow I recall my friend Bob Evans and the old car he obtained from his father’s early death at 42 years of age. Bob was 16 and devastated by that blow.  I cannot even begin to measure such a psychological crater made by a subterranean hydrogen bomb. How coincidental that one of my teen clients lost his dad and is processing the grief with me these days.

These Days was a song by Jackson Browne that Tom Rush covered. I loved it. “These days I sit on cornerstones and count the time in quarter tones till ten, my friend. Don’t confront me with my failures. I had not forgotten them.” And then there was the bloodless Child’s Song by Tom Rush and No Regrets. My heart would start swirling at the beginning and then be drained by the end of these songs. And yet I’d move the old needle on the record to feel the cut again. Damnit they were sad and I guess I was too. I meshed with the sadness and bled out emotionally. And despite the intervening 40 years, that sad cloudwave still arises chemically in my blood and hovers over me today.

Ah today, yes, I have things to do. Can’t go back into the cobwebs of a dank closet where I still dream of my baseball glove. It meant something to me. Like many other things and people in my past, I have a longing for them that cannot be satisfied in the material world. The best I can do is write about these things. What am I doing on the treadmill? Oh, yeah, one thing. Only one.

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