Since Soonae and Jong have been so good to me, such good friends for so long, it’s nice to be able to do a significant (to them) favor in return. To that end, I am sitting at the Il Piccolo Cafe on Broadway in Burlingame, a town about 20 miles south of the City.
They needed to take their car to the Saab dealer down here for a service appointment, so I drove it down, dropped it off, and walked about a mile and a half up California Drive to this cafe, because I found out that it also had surfandsip.com, my regular cafe internet provider. Woo hoo! (Do you think I’m addicted to internet connectivity? naaah.)
My observational faculties are akin to a lint brush. Things that I see just stick to my memory. I don’t know if it’s exactly a photographic memory….maybe eidetic is a better word. Things fly at me in great detail, and the walk up here, past shops, apartment buildings, homes, an almost-precious downtown area, was no exception. I thought of a lot of things, largely contrasts to San Francisco. I may live in San Francisco, but it inhabits me.
Objects, smells, tastes often evoke memories, comparisons…a yard gate, the kelly green snakecoils of a garden hose, brown leaves fallen on a gravel driveway. Ancient garage doors. Dilapidated carriage house on top of those garages.
Lumbering beasts of large cars in driveways or better, those leviathan creatures sitting quiescent in a garage. The word B O N N E V I L L E in individual metal letters riveted to the rear left quarter panel of my aunt’s 1965 Pontiac Convertible. Midnight blue. White top, white vinyl interior. The high-beams indicator was the silhouette of an indian (now “Native American”) brave in glowy blue. The chubby labored look of a whitewall tire pressed against the concrete slabs of my Uncle George & Aunt Ann’s driveway next to their chocolate-brown ranch house in a subdivision of Piscataway, NJ.
Further back, to the selfsame Bonneville parked on the macadam in front of Nanny & Giggi’s garage on Vaughn Street in Luzerne, PA. My great-grandfather still alive, but very old and unable to make the stairs to bed, so I always saw him sitting on the edge of the sofa in the middle room. A sofabed like they used to make sofabeds, where you ratcheted up the bench and the whole middle tilted back until it clicked, you returned the bench to its original position, and you had a flat surface approximately the size of a full mattress.
My very first memory, as i recall it now, is that old man hunched forward at the edge of that sofa, which always remained in its “bed” configuration. The man died in 1967, when I was three years old.
So. Having hit the absolute beginning of my vast storehouse of memory, I head back to the present, picking up speed along the way, like the flurry of clips in the title of the last WB episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (“The Gift”).
I’m back in the present, or more specifically, in the Now, just in time to be standing in front of HighwayOne Auto, where sits a white-on-white 1960 Cadillac Fleetwood. I laughed out loud. The lumbering leviathan had nothing to say.
Keep in mind, here, now, that I’m not talking here about memory associations, I’m talking more about a waking dream, where your conscious mind is drawn almost completely apart from what your senses report, an internal safari that is beyond reason, beyond rationality. An existence which does not exist.
I have no defense against such episodes, just as Adam Hoskins has no defense.
I’m not sure I want one.