i think i'm back in the dream

In her rogerebert.com review of Sing Street, Sheila O'Malley explains quite well something that should be an obvious idea: "A song can 'take you back' to specific moments in time, connecting you to a younger self, memories and dreams in a continuum." (Works the same for me with most movies.) For example, I will always think of a pool hall/arcade in Trabolgan, Ireland when I hear Bon Jovi's "Shot through the Heart", Peter Murphy’s "Cuts You Up" has me at work, sharing an office with two of my sisters, in 1995, "Your Eyes" from the musical Rent doesn't just take me back to the musical but also to a bus stop outside Pittsburgh, PA, Pearl Jam's "Black" has me in a karaoke room, my friend Jasmine screaming with surprise at how good I am (#humblebrag). When it comes to movies instead, I link Lethal Weapon 2 with a ferry, Ghost with a theater in Eastbourne, Cliffhanger with a theater in Maui.

The odd movie viewings while traveling stand out. But, I also remember seeing the double-feature of Slaughter High and Return to Horror High more than once at the Academy Theater in Pasadena. Same for a double-feature of Benny and Joon and Strictly Ballroom. I could go on. Combining the two, watching Working Girl last month (1046 1047 1048 1049) and hearing "Let the River Run" over and over had me back in my private high school's Choraliers, performing on stage like the cheesy Christian idiots we were supposed to be. I link Dodgers games to Star Wars novels, Stephen King's The Gunslinger with my high school English teacher who kinda hated me, The Invisibles with when I first met my ex-wife in person.

Though I and none of my girlfriends nor my wife ever had a song that was "our song" as such--well, "In Your Eyes" maybe with my ex-wife--I think I'm a believer in having one.

Having that thing that ties you both together. I mean, come back to O'Malley's "memories and dreams in a continuum"; when you're a couple, if you're lucky, you've got memories in common to be sure but also dreams. You've traveled together, played games together, seen movies together, listened to music together, eaten at certain restaurants together. So many things that can twist up your memories with theirs, your life with theirs...

Stay together long enough and your stories are their stories.

The question is: what do you use to measure your life? The movies you watched? The songs you listened to? The games you played? The playgrounds you hung out on? Amusement parks? Fairs? Restaurants?

Every Denny's is in Flagstaff for me, and the boys with me are ordering too many sides so the waitress will keep coming back... But I can't remember if they were just being assholes to be assholes or was she attractive and they just wanted to see her again? Every diner with toothpicks stuck in the ceiling is Rosie's in Old Town Pasadena, and we've ordered too many fries but we don't care because drink refills are free and we've got nowhere else to be. Playing a game of Centipede, I'm always at the Academy, in the lobby in between films on a double-feature. And I wonder what recent goings on will stand out as time goes by. Ren Fair, the Pirate Invasion, talking about Tinder around the gaming table?

Memories change, though. For a while, Sonic was something faraway; we'd been to one in Oklahoma City once upon a time. But now, it's a place to be late at night when we should be sleeping before a speech tournament. I link Sonic to a Johnny Carson DVD gifted to me by my friend Holland, my first and only national speech tournament as a competitor still ahead of me. Johnny Carson because I talked about him in dramatic interpretation piece that year, and that piece evokes grief over separating from my wife, a nap in the sun on the Point Loma campus, having no real memory of the final round that night because I was pushing myself through the real pain with the fake. And, I recently recounted how my friend Chelsea was helpful in me embracing that fake pain at the State tournament, and she reminds me of the tv shows Millennium and The X-Files, which gets me to some nerdy conventions, a whole lot of t-shirts, and the chain can go lots of directions. Memories that link and re-link, sometimes looping back on themselves, sometimes drifting off into dead zones where there's nothing else to remember.

Then, I'll probably find a movie in the dark in my head. Some video from the Wherehouse or Blockbuster or Now Playing, maybe. Or one of so many on the big screen for decades now. I always find it such a foreign concept when someone says they don't get to the movies often. Like, how do you live? How do you keep track of where your life is if you can't bookmark it with a film? What do you use as a mirror for your life if not all those other lives on the big screen?

Who are you if not for what you watch, what you listen to, what you do for fun?

Do you even exist?


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