Tuesday, April 09, 2013

A moment in time


I'm not sure why I typed my mom's address into Google maps.  The house I grew up in was sold to a developer after she died and was to be demolished to make room for what I assume will be hideous townhouses. I guess I was expecting to see a photo of a construction site or vacant lot. Instead I found a snap shot of the house from about a year before my mother died. She is working out in the yard while her dog rests in front of the door on the drive way.

I know some people question Google's efforts to capture these types of images. Although it makes me a bit sad, I'm actually glad they captured a moment of my mom's life that wasn't posed self-consciously and reflected something she loved, working in her garden. It is how I want to remember her.  It helps me try and get past the memory of her last days.

I kind of wish Google had existed throughout history and captured similar moments. I would love to see photos of the house at various times during my life. Photos of me playing in the yard with my brothers and neighborhood friends. Photos of me sitting with my parents on the front steps on summer evenings, enjoying a breeze and a break from the day's heat. Photos of life that didn't just involve people awkwardly posing in front of the camera at birthdays and graduations.

I am going back to Boise in a few weeks on a business trip. I plan to drive by the house (or where the house used to be). And I'm not sure how I will feel or react. It will be hard to believe that the place is gone, the tree, planted in the front yard when I was a small boy, cut down. The fence I jumped over torn down (the same fence I ran into with my bicycle when I was learning how to ride). The remnants of my childhood plowed under.

And it will be odd not to walk through the gate and up to the door as I did on countless trips home in the thirty something years since I left. Countless trips home. It just dawned on me that part of me subconsciously holds onto the place as my home when I haven't lived there for more than three decades. But now there is no physical place to hold onto, to ground me to my past. My mother was that anchor that held me to that place and now she is gone. And so is that home.

I couldn't wait to leave there when I was old enough to get my own place. After sharing a room with my two brothers for the first ten years of my life I longed for my own room. And then I longed for a place that was my own without other people's rules.

And I am nostalgic about the place being gone. Maybe we are like the salmon and other creatures who are drawn to the place of their birth.

Or maybe we are just drawn to moments in time.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Me loves the blog, me hates the blog!


I know, I know, the photo is pretty creepy. But then again, blogging isn't always pretty.  It is better than when I Photoshopped my face on the painting of the Girl with the Pearl Earring.


Now that seriously creeps me out and it's my face. But then again I am drawn to look at it in the same way you are to look at a auto accident when you drive by one on the freeway.

But I digress.

I have a love, hate relationship with my blog. I check my stats several times a day on Blogger and bemoan the fact that, although there are a couple of hundred a people a day who wander in here, it is pretty pitiful compared to a blog about, say someone like Justin Bieber. But after nine years of blogging, I still don't really know what I am trying to accomplish.

I know, I know, I'm supposed to just be writing for the pure pleasure of writing..bla, bla, bla, bla, bla. It's the same rant I've made every other month for nine years. I should just be happy that I can write whatever I want without having to worry about pleasing anyone. But can I help it if I kind of would like a modest level of fame and fortune (heavy on the fortune side).

But I am not destined to be either famous or materially fortunate. If it was going to "just happen," it would have happened by now. Not that I believe that things just happen. You are who you are through where you have been and were. So I have to accept that the seeds I've planted over the years were eaten by birds or never sprouted.

Though as I've aged, I have grown to think if I were ever truly famous, I would greatly regret it. I don't really deal well with excess attention focused on me or my garbage.

Which for some reason reminds me of a friend of mine I'd gone to grade school, junior high and high school with. Just before graduation he dropped out of high school and joined the marines. I am not sure why. But he  stayed in for awhile but the pressure must have got too much for him. He ended up in the brig for hitting an officer. While in jail, his father died and they wouldn't let him attend the funeral. Then he really lost it. He ended up getting discharged from the marines and committed to a mental hospital.

The next time I saw him he showed up at the Boise Public Library where I was working at the time. He didn't look very good. And he didn't really seem to recognize me. I tried talking to him and he made a point of telling me to ignore all of the people with cameras around him. He said they followed him everywhere because he was famous.

I slipped away, gave his mom a call and she got him back to the hospital that he had walked away from. Eventually he was able to leave the hospital and ended up as a projectionist at a porn theater in Las Vegas. Then he was involved in a car accident that left him a paraplegic. He died a few years later.

Tragic life. But it shows you what fame will do to you.

My but that was a downer of a digression.