Thursday, May 1, 2014

Virtually Familiar

Sometimes a moment throws you into a memory. The note of a familiar song, a certain scent, a phrase mumbled innocently by a passerby.

Today, I got lost so deep in memories that I had to really shake myself back to reality. I had to look something up on Google maps and this location was equipped with ever-convenient and incredibly fascinating street view option. The place I was looking up, happened to be in a Baltimore suburb that I frequented during my 4 years of residence.

For a solid 20 minutes, I virtually navigated from my original destination on the map, down several streets and practically into the neighboring town. I was transported back to a time in my life that I will forever cherish. I could practically smell the scent of my overheated car, rolling down the highway at a blinding 15 miles per hour. Yes, traffic on the Beltway kicked my butt almost daily. One fender bender or tiny rain drop sent the traffic lining up as far as the eye could see. Making my blood pressure rise and my gas gauge fall. Such is city life.

I could smell the Old Bay on hot crabs and could hear the cracking of a cold beer. So many nights were spent with good friends, a bucket of crabs and a cooler of beer.

I felt the carefree feeling I had on a Friday afternoon on my way home to a  weekend full of possibilities with my husband. We’d often fire up the grill, open a bottle of wine and spend a warm spring evening on the deck, watching the dogs chase each other in our sprawling yard until it was so dark, all we could see was the twinkling of lightning bugs.

Weekends were spent taking care of household tasks, seeing friends, eating great food at tiny, family-owned restaurants throughout the two counties we frequented. Sundays were great for naps of unlimited length, loads of laundry and binge-watching the latest TV series we’d discovered on Netflix.

Then the ringing of the phone jolted me back to reality. These are the moments when I cling to the past and long for a former life.

My commute is now one without traffic and typically predictable. My warm spring evenings are spent chasing a laughing little boy around the yard, followed by a 7 PM bath time and a mad dash to get everything together for the following day. My Friday afternoons are spent either in the car for two hours dropping R off with his dad, or figuring out how to get him to eat something other than goldfish crackers for dinner. Visiting with friends is a rare treat and eating out is even rarer. Although, I do continue to watch Netflix, just not in rapid succession. Naps? I wish there were more.

These are the times I must be sure to shake myself from the impending inner emotional outcry and remember that I have a thousand things for which I can be thankful. Dwelling on the past never did much for anyone, I presume. Sometimes, though, these moments come without warning and though you may lose yourself in time travel, you must always find your way back to the present and realize you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.


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