Maybe for selfish reasons, the letter M was a little hard to classify for this little experiment. It is, after all, my favorite letter: the first letter of both my name and my sobriquet and the letter that I most closely associate with my own self.
The lovely thirteenth letter of the English alphabet, with its happy little mountainous peaks, and which starts words such as marvelous, magical, momentous, mellifluous and mommy, is the one that is assigned this thirteenth day of April.
(Less desirable, but also with an M include, masochistic, megalomaniac, manure, and malaprop.)
So anyway, memories.
I wonder a lot about memories, especially when potentially being out here on the road and creating memories of my own.
I wonder about all those people with their jaw-droppingly expensive photographic equipment, taking pictures of the same stuff over and over year in and year out. I wonder if this will be the year in which they will decide that they will take some basic photography lessons and figure out that you can take better pictures without always using flash or that you don’t have to pose all pictures with fake smiles in order to save a memory (yes, I am an amateur myself, but even I have standards).
But seriously, I do think about them. I think about them and their cameras and videocameras, all crammed in like sardines in their overflowing minivans. I think about their dogs, getting a much-needed potty break on the Interstate, and wonder about the scent of dog urine pervading the upholstery.
I wonder if low visibility and getting stuck behind the semi trucks is worth the memories. Seeing huge caravans of cars and minivans and SUVs from (mostly) New York and Maine and Ontario so very crowded and being lured by the same promises of $25 Disney tickets; bingo Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; ROMAN CANDLES! FIREWORKS! FIREWORKS!; and girls that dare to go bare for you (Good food and showers for truckers at the Risqué Café!); makes me wonder if the two-thousand mile journey to wherever these people are going (Orlando, Florida?) is really truly worthwhile.
I wonder if the pictures — the possibly good but mostly mediocre pictures– will make the arduous journey worthwhile.
I wonder if there will be hugs and kisses and thank-yous and I-can’t-believe-how-much-fun-this-is-jubilations, and singing along as the miles drift away. I wonder if there will be private moments remembering the tacky sombrero and giggling; or the joke told at the 342-mile marker; or the beautiful wildflowers blooming across the median; or if it will all be one deeply thankless and humorless endeavor– as bleak and gray as the concrete of the interstate.
I hope the memories are all worth it, but when I see some of the faces staring back at me in the mirrors of the rest rooms and from the cabins of the trucks and the cars and across the booths of my beloved Waffle House, I am pretty sure they just won’t be enough.
I wonder if we’re not just killing ourselves slowly for some pathetic semblance of a cherished memento, in some sort of misguided idea of what it means to be a family.
A mien that is just a moribund mimeograph of a moment that never materialized.