Friday, February 09, 2007

Audio Memory

Even though I'm a professional musician, I tend to think of my memories as visual entities. When I think of a past event, I usually "see" it in my mind, and I remember it in that fashion. Sometimes, though, a particular SOUND is the motivating factor in my memory. I may still see the past event, but the trigger for that visual is actually stored in my mental sound file. These are some particularly strong examples. Enjoy.

June 28, 1996
It was one of the hottest days of the summer: easily in the mid-90s, and I spent the better part of the day lugging quick-crete down my mother's driveway. The annual winter freeze/thaw cycle, coupled with heavy spring rains, really takes a toll on her dirt & gravel approach, which is probably 40 yards long. To make things a little more stable for driving, she had had a big load of this dusty, gravelly concrete mix trucked in and dumped at the house end of the driveway. From there, we'd shovel it into the wheelbarrow and roll it down toward the road, spreading it around so that when rain finally came it would harden this stuff into some facsimile of concrete. Just when I thought it couldn't get any hotter, my best friend showed up and we headed off for our evening festivities. We arrived at the home of my OTHER best friend, and there in the company of most of the people I love in the world I drank beer & socialized for several hours. The LEAST inebriated of us got behind the wheel of a minivan & we set out for Tiger Stadium. We joined a throng of 40,000 people to witness what I had literally waited my entire life to see: Peter Criss, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley, in full costume and makeup, tear through a couple of hours worth of classic tunes. The stadium lights went out, and helicopters started circling overhead, spearing the audience below with spotlights. And then...the voice, and the words:

"Allllriiiiiggghttt Deeeeeetroooiiit! You wanted the GOT the best! The HOTTEST band in the WORLD..."

February 2, 2003
I had a distant and difficult relationship with my father...something I'm convinced I'll blog about in the future. Even though he was my biological father, he was actually only two years YOUNGER than my mother's mother. The generational gap between us was often too great for either one of us to make much sense of the other, a situation that was exacerbated by his crippling stroke during my freshman year of college. No one knew at that time that, while he would never heal either physically OR mentally, neither would he be in particularly poor health. He hung on for 17 years, deteriorating so slowly that most people couldn't even see it. He pretty much made my mother's life a sort of living hell during those years, and most of me hated him for it. I like to think I provided an occasional break for her, inviting her down to my apartment often to hang out, watch movies, and snoop around at antique shops and local auctions for any collectable "goodies." She had just left my apartment on Groundhog Day when I got a frantic call from her down-the-road neighbor: seemed my father had fallen coming back to the house from the mailbox, and she needed to talk to my mother RIGHT NOW. I managed to get ahold of her at the auction site, and I told her "Look, you need to call Sue right away, something's happened at home." She callled back just a few minutes later:

"Scott? You're not gonna believe this...he's dead."

February 9, 2007
We had our second ultrasound today. There wasn't even an appointment with the doctor...this was just a 2-week check to make sure Tess' cervix was staying nice & long. I mentioned to the techie, a nice young woman named Peggy, that we were so excited the last time to be able to see the little nugget move around; kind of PROVED, at least for me (who's getting no physical symptoms whatsoever...not even a little couvade), that there was actually something IN THERE. But, I said, the excitement was tempered by the early diagnosis of previa, and that even though the doctor had told us not to worry about it, that it would in all likelihood vanish by itself...well, we still worried anyway. That's how we roll. Peggy said, "Well, yeah, we hate to even tell parents that kind of thing so early, BUT, once I've seen it, we kind of have to...I'll tell you what ELSE, though: it's gone." That's just two short weeks, that worrisome placenta seems to have moved out of the way, no longer blocking Tess' cervical opening. Hell, I figured that even if it DID move, we'd be talking about a period of at least a couple of months! But here it was, we no longer had to worry. Then she continued by telling us that the peanut wasn't really cooperating this time; in a fashion that only makes me know it was MY child we were looking at today, the babe had screwed all around and was only showing us a rear end (or "rump" as Peggy so blithely put it). But one interesting thing happens with that view, and I'll never forget what Peggy said:

"Congratulations! You're having a little girl..."


Blogger Fun Guv said...

EEEEEeeeee! A little girl! I'm so excited. Scott, now you too will know how it feels to be the father of a little girl. Mike wants to know how old she'll have to be before he can date her?!?!

Oh, and a little side note, on the 6/28/96 story...we didn't own a mini-van yet it was the Lincoln. Mike is giving me hell for even mentioning it...guess he feels guilty for his comment on your driving post.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Gknee said...

Awww...a little girl. 'grats.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Tess said...

A sound I will never forget:

I had just broken up with my boyfriend for the third and final time. For some reason the song "Mack the Knife" from Three Penny Opera was stuck in my head, and I was whistling it on my way out the music building.

Suddenly, someone else, surrounded by a cloud of cigarette smoke, was singing the words to this song at exactly the same time. Yes, that is what Scott does. He "gets your back" whenever a song hangs in the air as songs tend to do.

We exchanged hellos and picked up a conversation we had been having for several weeks now involving my relationship status. I, thinking that this old, doctoral student, was simply interested in lending a listening ear, continued filling Scott in on the latest developments.

After saying that I was completely finished with the ex, I recalled an earlier conversation about going to the Odeon (a very cool old theater that has since been destroyed, that used to show foreign films, old classics, and late in the night the Rocky Horror Picture Show) to see the Charlie Chaplin Film Festival. So, I said, "when do you want to go see a movie?"

He flicked his cigarette into the trash, and before turning around to go back inside he said:


9:51 AM  
Blogger kat said...

Ah-HA! A girl! The accurate predictions continue!

Egad, I managed to make this eloquent post about me and my new-found string-of-luck in guessing.

Ok, try to recover...uh, great post!

12:26 PM  
Blogger L*I*S*A said...

Awww, a girl....I'm so happy for you both. I thought I saw three lines on that ultrasound photo you posted. Excellent, most excellent.

Let's see...

Summer of 1982.

There are times I miss my youth.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

hooray for daughters! I recommend them. Congratulations!

9:36 PM  
Blogger Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

A sound I'll never forget:

Jan. 13, 1998, 1:22 p.m. - my son's first cry as he's born. Kind of a cross between a sheep baa-ing and a kitten mewing. This sound is part of what inspired my mother to cry "Oh, what a little stinkbumps!" And the nickname has stuck every since.

9:50 AM  

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