Monday, July 13, 2015

Misty Water-coloured Memories 

“Watching the rugby brought back the summers I played and all the old forgotten rules and strategies crept back into my head.”
We tend to say that memories flood back, so I guess it's appropriate that I find nostalgia comes in waves. I'm currently caught in a terrible rip tide of remembrances triggered by an 80s playlist. Today, I got the seventh wave of this nostalgia tide though for me it's not really a tsunami of memories as much as it is a seeping, rising water like the flooding of a basement. Today was a perfect example.

Like a lot of Torontonians I've succumb to the relentless buzz of the Pan Am Games and Saturday I picked up a ticket to the Rugby 7s games. The venue is close by and the tickets were plentiful and cheap. I thought about taking my GoPro camera to try and capture some of the atmosphere but I'd completely forgotten where I'd put the damn thing! I grabbed my binoculars on the way out hoping the GoPro would be in the same place but alas only the GoPro accessories and dodads were there. Without time to really get into an extensive search, I rushed out and went to the office to print out my ticket I'd bought online. For the rest of the day, all I could think about was where was this expensive camera that I hadn't really used that much. Even as I watched the games I was mentally exploring the nooks and crannies of my house trying to trigger where I'd put the camera. I remember fishing it out of a box to retrieve one of the memory cards to use in my new Fuji camera so I figured it was still in the box I moved it in.

I should interject that the rugby was great. Watching it brought back the summers I played and all the old forgotten rules and strategies crept back into my head. I remembered the various characters of the Dogs RFC, the fundraisers, the pub crawls, the music in the car on the way to practice or to games. The crowd seemed generally knowledgable but the people immediately around me were a little new to the sport. I held my tongue as much as I could (no one likes someone correcting them) but on some basic points I had to speak up (no, only back or lateral passes are permitted; that was an offsides call; that is a drop kick etc). I was surprised how much I could recall. I saw both the Canadian men and women win over their Brazilian opponents handily but after almost three hours in the direct sun I was feeling worse for wear and headed home.

This was the album I was trying so hard to remember.

As soon as I got home I collapsed in a sun baked stupor and slept for over an hour. When I woke, all I could think about was the missing camera. I'd even promised to use it for bike traffic studies so I had to find it. I started looking in all the obvious places and began to tear the house apart. In the process, I uncovered photos, slides, books, pamphlets, maps, and my old mini-disc player. I hadn't used it since, I don't when, 2004 maybe. Before iPhones, I wasn't convinced about iPods and bought a mini-disc recorder/player instead. It was cheaper than an iPod and infinitely expandable (that was my reasoning). I wound up using it to record conversations and ambient sounds more than anything else. I put in a disc in and the battery was still at 100% (go figure - like I said, I doubt I've used it in 10 years?) Listening to the old MP3s (that you had to record in real time on a read/write mini-CD by the way - I know, crazy) reminded me of a band that I couldn't get out of my head but couldn't remember their name. This led me to opening the boxes of LPs I’ve carted around for years (I have no idea why I keep them) and sure enough, there it was - "Martin Stephenson and the Daintees - Boat to Bolivia". Of course I don't have a record player so I went online and immediately found it on the streaming service Rdio – making the idea of having records even more obsolete than it seemed just five minutes before.

I'm not sure why I have a time lapse video of myself eating breakfast in December 2013 but I do, and here's a frame from it.

Here I was, thumbing through old photos, and old music but still no camera. I decided to go to bed. Then I got up and decided to look again in the very first place I had looked. There in the living room coffee table storage was a small Bell modem box. My first thought wasn’t, “Ah, there it is!” but “Why do I have an old Bell modem?” Of course, in that box was the GoPro camera and a couple of other things such as a pocket tri-pod I was missing. The camera needed charging and after plugging it in I removed the memory card to see what was on there. It is so sad that we need these things to help us recall what or where we were and what we were doing but I was so relieved to find that thing. On the card was nothing of any significance. A video of a sunset, another of a ride up and down Roncesvalles and a time-lapse of me eating breakfast (I have no idea why). How benign. How ubiquitous. How absurdly quotidian.


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