April 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
Photo by Flickr user Patxi Izkue [cc]
Keep a record of your travels, little pieces of where you’ve been. Advice from my father the night before I headed out on my first road trip. The first trip without parental oversight. The night before I cut my way up the coast, the long and winding route that toyed with cliffs and precipices, the thought of which scared the living daylights (his frequent refrain) out of my father who bravely played the role of scaredy-cat in the family.
His easily frightened personality led to his reciting safety tips, precautionary couplets for any and all situations, dangerous or just potentially. Buckle your seatbelt before engaging the engine—mirror signal blindspot, in that order—wear a helmet and be sure the strap’s tight—look both ways before entering an intersection—the road’s at its most slippery right after rain.
I was raised on a gospel of what ifs and better safe than sorrys.
But now that he was about to let me off his leash, his usual almanac of accident-avoiding adages included a list of things I should tuck away rather than trash.
Receipts from gas fill-ups. A half torn ticket from a movie entrance. Your to-dos from the day.
Paste them into a notebook and that day will rattle around in your conciousness much longer.
Phone numbers scribbled out onto motel stationary.
In twenty years that day will be gone, but that burnt out matchbook you would’ve normally tossed will still remain.
That take-out menu will be that day. When do your days ever leave behind something tangible? Your birthday comes to mind. I watched you pushed out into the world. I remember that day like I was still living it.
I assured him I would with, sure. But he knew better. He knew when I was blowing him off.
It’s as close as you’re gonna get to living forever, he said.
I’m fine living just as long as I’m going to.
He rubbed his face, from temple to chin. You’re gonna be the death of me.