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Monday, September 04, 2006

England Yard Sale

Yesterday was the "Yard Sale To End All Yard Sales".

Of course, I've noticed that every Yard Sale we have is "The Yard Sale To End All Yard Sales".

Once again, my credibility is hanging by a thread. And it really is hanging by a thread this time.

Two weeks. That's how long we have left in Los Angeles, California, USA. But that's not going to stop us from having even more Yard Sales. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we get another 5 to 10 Yard Sales in before we take off for England.

We may very well have a Yard Sale on the morning of our flight. Why not?

Usually when you create any sort of "Time Capsule" - set something aside, put something out of sight, with the hope that it will take you by surprise years hence and give you a hit of nostalgia - usually it never works out because, as easy as it is for us to fool ourselves, there is still a part of the brain that remembers the creation of the Time Capsule, and secretly counts down the years, months, days to its excavation.

But my wife and I had altogether forgotten the message we left to the world, markered on the underside of the low drawer of an IKEA dresser we built together 2 1/2 years ago. The message came to light again yesterday as we hauled the IKEA dresser piece by piece out to the yard, for purchase by strangers.

The message:
(in my wife's handwriting)

"2-22-04 ON THIS DAY , UNTIL THIS EVENING, NEAL & JANET TOILED TO CONSTRUCT THIS SOLID, HEAVY THING WITH SCREWS OF DIFFERENT SHAPES. IT TOOK A LONG TIME"

(and, in my handwriting)

"CATS WATCHED THIS HAPPEN. JANET & NEAL WERE VERY BRAVE AND DETERMINED. THEIR STORY IS AN INSPIRATION TO US ALL."

My wife didn't remember writing the message, even after seeing the proof. But she is a big CSI fan and thorough handwriting analysis finally convinced her that it was indeed we who had writ it. I did remember. But I truly had not thought about that February day's IKEA construction nightmare one single time in the intervening years. Like Mr. Bernstein in "Citizen Kane", not a month goes by that I don't think about that girl on the ferry with a yellow parasol, but I hadn't once thought about our crazy bottom of the IKEA dresser message.

And so, all that forgetting - two and half years of forgetting - created, yesterday, a vivid, nostalgia-saturated rush - a shock - of memory and, more importantly, tangible proof that I have existed. That on February 22, 2004, I really existed. The knowledge that I did exist and that I continue to exist ... strangely comforting.

Is memory like pain & pleasure, hot & cold, heads & tails? Is it necessary that I forget - thoroughly, thoroughly forget - in order to fully, totally experience the revelation of remembering?

Leaving L.A. - leaving the USA altogether - I am heartsick to think that some of my comrades here will continue to exist - maybe for the rest of my life - only in my memory. I don't want to forget them. But if their memories are to be preserved, to be kept fresh for the long term, maybe I have to.

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3 Comments:

There is a profoundness to building something heavy with screws of different sizes that took a long time. Good analog for your journey.

The only ones who will live on only in memory are those who are content to do so. The others will darken your doorstep unexpectedly with two screaming children asking how you say "diaper genie" in British.

- By Anonymous art, at Tue Sep 05, 03:53:00 AM GMT+1  

Good God, you sold your red shoes? Sacrilege!

- By Blogger Warren, at Fri Sep 08, 06:29:00 PM GMT+1  

I tried to sell the red shoes.

But you can never really be free of...

...the red shoes.

- By Blogger Neal Romanek, at Sat Sep 09, 02:47:00 AM GMT+1  

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