Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time in a Bottle

Jim Croce wanted to save time in a bottle, but that's just not possible – or is it?  While it may be true that we can't save up time, hoarding it away, keeping it stashed and on hand for some future use, can't we capture it – in little bits and pieces – and hold on to it?  The folks at Kodak thought so – remember the Kodak moment?


I have decades worth of time frozen images, albums upon albums, stored in my bedroom in a densely packed rattan wicker trunk – there at the ready, offering up a lifetime of memories.  I have sepia shots of my grandparents, my parents' pictures from my youth and a multitude of photos that detail my life's experiences which include a fairly large collection of snapshots from many of the community plays I've done.


I enjoy trodding the boards of Memory Lane, revisiting casts and crews, reliving rehearsals and performances, remembering the highlights – which often include when things didn't always go as planned (like when our set nearly collapsed on Lend Me A Tenor).  For those brief moments, I'm transported back in time.


And let me tell you, if an album can do that for me, just imagine what a video could do.  I have about a dozen performances on tape.  I haven't watched them in years – not since they were first recorded, actually – but this past Christmas, Tim and Kanna converted them to DVDs for me, so I've been watching them – reliving them.  From my couch, I've been spending time with old friends, people who were dear to me, some that have passed on – how great to see them so full of life; how great to interact with them again; how great to, once more, share a piece of my life with them.  


Albums and recordings are obvious means to capture memories, but for me, almost anything has that ability.  Last month I was back in NJ for my sister's wedding.  Driving around the State was like driving through shades of my history – ghosts of my past everywhere I looked.  That's one of the things I love best about going back there.  I lived there for 39 years.  I simply cannot go from Point A to Point B without recalling some memory.  It's impossible. As I cruise from here to there it's a constant barrage of I remember the time when… and oh, that's where so-and-so and I were… It's always something – some little slice from my life.  I enjoy that.


And the cool thing is that memories are always being formed.  Peter Gabriel penned, "Nothing fades as fast as the future and nothing clings like the past."  I wholeheartedly agree with that.  I don't live in the past, but as the present slips into it, I guess I do hang on – it's the fabric of my life.  It's who I am.  Some would call me a sensie (sensitive, sappy, sentimentalist) and that's okay.  I admitted long ago – in Chapter One of The Ones That Got Away, actually – that I'm very sentimental and that almost everything holds some special meaning for me.  And it's true. 


Case in point: I just received my December Visa bill.  Yes, the Visa bill stirred up feelings of nostalgia – scoff if you must.  As I scanned the details of account activity, it took me right back to the weekend of Linda's wedding.  The charge from the All Seasons Diner brought me back to Eatontown, NJ to the post-wedding brunch with the newlyweds.  The Lukoil entry placed me at the GSP Cheesequake rest area, sitting in my rental car, chatting with my dad – discussing why the gas was pumping so slowly and, more importantly, why that fool would pull into the pumps like that and block the flow of traffic.  And the Budget charge took me directly to Newark Airport – returning the car, hopping on the Airtrain, heading down to the gate – the magical weekend behind us, looking forward to going home. 


Our lives go by day by day, just like turning pages in a book.  Our experiences are what make up our individual books – our books of memories.  And the thing is, you never know what's going to stick. You think it will be the big things, but oftentimes, it's the little things: sharing ice cream with your brother, covering a flubbed line on stage or getting gas with your dad. 


Can you save time in a bottle?  No, you can't.  But, you can certainly store its treasures in your heart.


~ M.