Friday, September 26, 2014

Savings Account

This fall I am starting with a clean slate. August was like that thread in the sweater that you pull and the whole thing begins to unravel into a big heap in your hands. No amount of mending could begin to fix the holes, and so, with a heavy sigh, I start over. This is all prompted by the fact that I lost my laptop to a series of unfortunate events. In the end, I lost two years of images captured from all over the place, pages and pages of refugee research and peace-keeping solutions to humanitarian problems that plague our world, and folders filled with things I can’t even remember (but that I am sure were extremely important, detailed, and could have been famous someday). Alas, it is lost, and it made me take a step back and think about everything that I still have and the all the other ways we manage to collect, document and save memories. 

After I lay on my hardwood floors, mascara running down my face, sobbing like an uncontrollable five year old on an airplane, I sat up and realized that nothing was truly lost. I didn’t need my computer to remember my life for me. That zipper that doesn’t align on my shoulder bag I got in the market reminds me of that afternoon in Vietnam, drinking Fanta and dodging scooters. The journal filled with watercolors of the pacific reminds me that all those salty summers are still logged. Calling up a friend to reminisce about that time we got stuck on a tinder boat in the middle of the Mediterranean brought back that queasy feeling deep in my gut. Wandering into my Brooklyn kitchen and reaching for a fresh bag of ground coffee brings me right back home. As summer winds down, I can’t help but notice that my tan has faded, but that mosquito bite at the base of my ankle has turned from a scab to a scar that will be there for the rest of my life, reminding me of that perfect night that we cooked out on the esplanade overlooking Manhattan. That scratch on the hardwood floor is when we thought it would be a good idea to drag the dresser (without taking the drawers full of clothes out) the day I moved in. The postcards that decorate my kitchen wall are a timeline of zip codes, thoughts and happenings from friends and loved ones who have managed to track me down as I nomad from place to place. There are so many other ways to collect memories of the things that are important to us besides the digital world.

With all that in mind, I challenge you to print something out. I challenge you to write something down with a pen and paper. Pull out the sharpies and thumbtacks. I challenge you to get your hands messy, to stain your shirt, to drip paint on your jeans, to tape something onto the wall, to nail something into your foundation, to leave a mark that will never fade.

This cup is for Claire, because you get it. 

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