i don’t know about how your mind works, but if someone were to take a snapshot of the inside of my brain, i kind of feel as though it might look like a jumbled ball of twine. a discombobulation of interconnected strings, each representing a fact, figure, or ‘n sync song lyric. try as i might to compartmentalize thoughts, feelings and memories; tucking them away into neat little boxes never to be opened again, the make-up of my personal gray matter always seems to nullify even the most admirable of efforts.
so a thought appears, almost of out nowhere. and from that, stems another, and another. as if the very trigger of one becomes the catalyst of many. like a row of dominos, these thoughts and feelings come crashing down within me.
more often than not, the past memories are happy ones. of childhood, or adolescence, or even from last week. the smell of coffee reminds me of my most recent trip to starbucks and the hilarious run-in L and i had with one of my favorite baristas. the chatter of children playing outside my kitchen window reminds me of my daily walk to the university of nebrija during my summer spent in spain. hearing “lady marmalade” come on my pandora station during my friday morning commute immediately transports me to gridlock on the 405 as M and i were making our way home for thanksgiving break in the fall of our freshman year at pepperdine.
i think life is about connections. connecting thoughts with smells. memories with seasons. feelings with food. our minds like spider webs -each single strand contingent on the other. and for the most part, i find this aspect of creation simply fascinating. and beautiful. and well, really convenient. while i might not recall a specific fact instantly, i know if given ample enough time, i can weave through the pattern work of my mind to ultimately recall the answer.
but just as there are logged happy associations with the senses, there are just as many sad ones, too. songs that remind you of a high school heartbreak, inside jokes with loved ones no longer around, even physical scars that signify a time and place you’d soon rather forget. i wish these were the associations i could pack neatly into little boxes and send them far away. but why is it that these are the connections that have the strongest hold? why is it still near impossible to drive that specific stretch of southern california highway without having to catch my breath?
but that’s the thing about life. in all of its jumbleness it ceases to separate the good from the bad. the happy from the sad. it’s all balled up together, making it the greatest tragedy and love story ever told.
shirley temples will always make me think of meals shared with family at red robin, just like hearing any zac brown band song will make me think of him.