Monday, September 7, 2009

Flashback Freeway

"Sometimes, a writer finds buried treasures in places they remember. As you think about the geography of a place from your past, memories will surface as you think about the place where they occurred..."

This was the gist of a lesson I recently taught my students. Then, I drove off to my old stomping grounds for a long weekend, and I felt that lesson come alive in my mind.

Sometimes, you don't even have to visit a building or any specific location for this to happen. I learned this weekend that, in some cases, just driving down the road will be enough to stir the pot. As I drove alone on a few brief errands this weekend, I was overcome with memories.

I remembered driving down the road with one of my BFFs in a red Mustang, singing along with Celine & Meatloaf at the top of our lungs as the wind ripped through the car. (Don't laugh. That song was at the top of the charts then.)

I remembered driving on the interstate for the first time with Boyfriend K. I was terrified that the car in the lane next to me was moving in on my space. He laughed at me and my paranoia, and I laughed back. Terrified, still.

I remembered riding, stunned, with Boyfriend S after the "Meet the Parents Date". I was stunned because his mother had whipped out flossers after dinner and flossed her teeth RIGHT THERE AT THE TABLE. (I'm not sure if this redeems her at all, but she was polite enough to offer me a flosser, too...."Gee...thanks...I think I'm good, though.")

I remembered wondering what road we were on as I rode home in the back of someone's parent's station wagon from the Nelson concert, my ears still ringing. (Ahem, they were cool too, thank you very much.)

I remembered getting a ride home after school from Really Nice Guy Friend everyday, only later to discover he liked me all the while and I was too stupid and too wrapped up in my Loves Gone Bad to realize it. Hind sight is 20-20.

I remembered the day I spent with Short-Term Romance Boy as he got a tattoo on his ankle, somewhere on the other side of town. I have no idea when or where this was, but it was a sight that scared me out of a tattoo...for life!

I remembered riding in Boyfriend D's brand new Jeep one cool Florida night, feeling too grown up for my years.

I remembered cruisin' in a convertible the summer I retook Chemistry (yeah...Chemistry and I went together like oil and water...) with my Wannabe Model Friend. She looked in the rearview mirror more than she looked at the road. (Checkin' out her pouty look.) Then, we'd drive through Taco Bell for bean burritos and Dr. Pepper.

I remembered walking, after a movie, down the main drag in town while it was closed for construction. Laughing my head off at Guy Friend B's jokes. Who knew Raffi's "Baby Beluga" could be so funny?

I remembered the odd ritual of touching a screw in a girl friend's "bucket" of a car and hollering out "SCREW!!!" everytime we crossed a railroad track, as though her car would fall apart without our help.

I remembered "pushing" my "For Real" Model Friend's car - from the inside - everytime we went up a hill. "Go, go, go!" We were never sure if it could make it to the top.

I remembered walking with a Middle School Friend to the 7-11 outside her neighborhood and spending a few dollars on that crazy powder candy you dip a candy stick into and then lick off the stick. Afterwards, we dried fresh flowers in the microwave and rolled each other's hair.

I remember walking home in the rain after school. I remember cutting through the field, taking the short cut to Freshman BFF's house and having Dr. Pepper and bologna sandwiches. And laughing.

I remember the little sink hole on a corner around a few corners from my house. It totally freaked me out, so I walked a wide circle around it.

I remember standing outside my house after a great first date, with butterflies in my stomach. My face hurt from smiling so much. I don't remember where we went or what we did, but it was great.

I remember walking home from a friend's house when the street lamps came on, after a really silly afternoon of prank calling everyone we knew...and didn't know.

I remember riding downtown to a summer theater camp with a girl I barely knew, singing Richard Marx in the car. (Yes, he was cool then, too.)

I remember being so impressed when One Or Two Dates Boy had a CELL PHONE. (oooooh......) Sure, it was his mom's...but WOW! I also remember being stupid enough to believe his nonsense blabber about how it "worked on a grid system...blah blah blah...and if you move when you're on the phone it will lose the signal..." What??? No wonder boys got me in trouble so much.

Those moments truly are miles away from my present. Today, I find myself cruisin' the streets on the way to and from school and the dance studio, jamming to Hannah Montana with my NEW BFFs...Little Princess and Big Girl. My latest boy, FireDaddy, has a seat indefinitely reserved in my cool, white Pacifica. Sometimes, I still kiss the clock and make a wish when I glance down from the road at exactly 11:11. I still love to car dance on Target and Publix runs. And, everyday, when I look back in my rearview mirror, I smile at what I remember AND at what I see smiling back at me.


  1. Holy boyfriends, Batman! How do you remember that many? I mean. Really.

  2. LOL! I have to say that, sadly, I noticed that theme, too...although, in my defense, I only mentioned 5 guys. The first date I mentioned was with Boyfriend K. :) Like I said in my list of five, I liked being liked. It's a symptom of my own brand of neurosis.

  3. Oh, man. I remember those days. Did we really eat bologna sandwiches? I remember walking home from school and hanging out at the house. I remember the Dr. P's and my pickled okra (remember that?).

    And I totally remember boyfriend D and his jeep.

  4. This post made me both laugh and cry. I still kiss the clock at 11:11 and kiss the ceiling when I run a yellow light (and I'm always tempted to yell "Screw!" when I go over RR tracks). Thanks for the warm fuzzy of this post. :)

  5. I totally had a bologna sandwich with pickled okra last night for dinner and thought of you!


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