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2002-02-15 -

JB and I have a video camera. It's a recent thing, this camera, given to us as a gift by JB's folks right before our trip to China together in December. We taped incessantly while we were traveling. And each night we'd watch the footage in the little display screen, almost fervently, as though we had not just experienced those things, those places - as if we were watching something for the very first time.

The other night we watched some random footage together on the TV. Christmas, New Year's, this and that. We get quiet when we watch this stuff. Sometimes we laugh softly or groan and say something about the shot, but mostly we watch carefully. Eyes narrowed. Trying, I think, to understand how that person on the screen is also yourself.

I can look at myself in the mirror and it's almost too difficult to see myself as a whole. I'm constantly zooming in on a blemish or a wayward lock of hair or a wrinkle or something. It's like I see myself as a mosaic of things, some good, some bad. Sometimes I wonder if I could pick out my own face in a crowd. Seeing yourself on video is a shock. It's as though you are forced into a stranger's objectivity. You still cringe inwardly at your perceived flaws, but it's absorbing, seeing yourself through someone else's eyes.

The camera itself has a tangible presence when we use it. Once its eye is trained on me, I am flustered, awkward, stumbling over words, trying to cock my head just so. I heave a sigh of relief when it's turned off. We bicker gently about who gets to tape and who must be the tapee.

And sometimes, secretly, we want to be taped, and we try to say things on camera that we hope will be funny or interesting later.

We take a lot of photos, too. Scrapbook them, put them online. Video, photos, online journals - I guess it's all a way to make sense of that strange face in the mirror.

And to capture. To document. To stay this moment. To remember.

Memories are tricky, slippery, and sometimes unfair. Why is it that I can look back on a particularly embarrassing or painful vignette in my life and it floods me all over again; teeth-clenchingly, face-burningly. Total recall. And yet the most pleasant moments - those sunny beaches and grand accomplishments - have the wispy consistency of dreams, already faded along the edges.

I wish I could edit my own life. There are bits and pieces I would fast forward through, zip on by. And others I would pause, hold as long as possible.

But you know - I'd probably skip by something important.

:::

Did you see where a cat has been cloned now? A cutesy-wootsy itsy-bitsy calico kitten. You know what it makes me think of? The Stephen King book Pet Sematary, where the guy is worried sick about his kid's cat that got hit by a car so the old guy neighbor decides to take him on this freak journey to the Pet Sematary where he buries the cat and then it comes back but it's totally not the same, it's…evil? And THEN he buries his Mack-truck-flattened KID in there?

I'm just saying.

go back ::: forward

Did you want to read about:

2002-02-14 - dishpan diarrhea, snag
2002-02-13 - heart-shaped abashment
2002-02-12 - freaky tea, hiking

ARTIFACT: Remember this view, how it feels to walk up the hill and see the city below you.
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0 comments so far.

I have moved. - 1.03.2005
Obviously, a work in progress. - 12.27.2004
Happy holidays! - 12.24.2004
Listen, I am not a complete dick, it's not like I want Joe to die alone surrounded by cats or something. - 12.23.2004
Plus I am convinced my butt is extra big when it's upside down. - 12.22.2004

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