You know how memories or emotions can sneak up on you when you least expect them? Like a sneak attack? Sometimes happy, sometimes…not?
For instance, today, when I left my office building and entered the open air parking garage to drive home for lunch. The garage is where the smokers smoke. Every time I smell the distant, faint smell, I am immediately transported to the barn I used to take horseback riding lessons at. Where I first started. My instructor smoked. The lounge smelled of it. She smelled of it. The arena faintly smelled of it.
Sometimes, when I smell cigarette smoke, in fact most times, I think of negative things like cancer. Morbid, I know. Not in our parking garage though. I hear Dorthy’s voice calling out instructions during a lesson, in her raspy, characteristic voice. I think of the dusty arena and stall aisles. The golden light that shone through the barn boards and onto the shiny, clipped Saddlebreds as they ate in their stalls. I think of that lady who boarded her two Quarter Horses there. One of them was a gray mare. That kind lady would let me help her groom and sit on that mare’s back during my sister’s lesson. I often go back to the feeling of my favorite lesson of all time where I got to leave the indoor arena to have my lesson in one of two grassy turnouts out back. I do not remember the actual lesson. Maybe there was not really one. Maybe I just got to ride. That is what I remember. Riding. Just being with the horse, the sunlight, the grass, and the wind in the trees and the horse’s mane. I was riding Smokey, a gray gelding. It was over too fast. Maybe this is why I have always had a thing for grays. Those two favorites of mine at the barn. I was 7 or 8 at the time.
The sneak attack is not always a happy memory, is it? We had a big conference for work
last week and, if you remember, on the first day I spilled my coffee on my white shirt. I seem to have a problem with spilling on myself. You learn new things about yourself when you blog. Anyway, the first thing that came to mind was when you are trying to get the last of a drink in a cup full of ice. You know, when the ice holds tight to the base of the glass until you are convinced you are safe to enjoy the last sip, and then wham, out tumbling comes the ice in your face like boulders off a mountain. Major sneak attack, whether it is coffee or ice. I figured I would cover it up the best I could with my name tag and, if need be, use it as a good ice breaker for people coming up to the booth to talk.
That same day, during a short, slow stint in the booth, feeling self conscious about my coffee stain, I was blankly staring down the aisle at the various people wandering and talking. I caught sight of this man. He was talking to the people in a booth diagonally down a ways. I had a rear, 45 degree angle view on him. The first thing I realized when I clued into my thoughts was, is that my Uncle B? Everything came screeching to halt in my brain. If I had been drinking coffee, I might have spilled on myself again. This man had the same hair, clothes, height, stance, and profile as my Uncle from what I could see. The shock, sadness, and surprise came on me again all at once. Not dissimilar to the feeling when I saw his brother that looks exactly like him through a window on that day. Luckily for me last week, the feeling was fleeting.
I spoke with my mother about it when we went on a walk ride Sunday morning. I was not going to share it with her because I did not want to focus on the negative, I wanted to remember the positive. He would have been eager to hear how the conference went and what people were talking about the next time we got together. Were people getting hopeful or excited yet in the industry. Asking if I networked and met new people.
My mother was the one who brought it up. She was walking and I was riding. It is our thing. There was a lull in the conversation and we were together in the silence. I was remembering that moment at the conference the very second that my mother started to talk about him. Funny how that happens. We all are experiencing the same things in our own ways. We are never alone in anything that we go through. AHAmoment.
Have you had any sneak attacks lately? Good or not so?
Walk in love, dear readers.