Saturday, January 10, 2009

One Thousand Four Hundred Forty Minutes A Day

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife

In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?

While I was driving the other night I was thinking of different events in my life and when they happened. Some people are able to remember the exact date something happened; when they started the second grade, the exact month, day and year they started their first job, the date they received their first paycheck or the time (down to the moment) they broke up with their first boyfriend.

I’m not good at that. I’m not one to remember the year or the exact date of things that happened in my life. I can probably tell you what I was wearing when I broke up with my boyfriend, what was playing on the radio when I was driving to meet that guy I had a crush on for lunch, what the weather was like the day I buried my grandfather or what state I was in when I got the news of my father’s death, but most often, I remember events by other things that were going on at the time.

For instance, my first kiss happened in the summer of 1983. I was fifteen going on sixteen, working at the family restaurant. I had a HUGE crush on one of our chefs but he was three years older than me and figured he wouldn't even give me a second glance, let alone kiss me! But then he did. I don’t know what day it was or even what month it was, but I know it happened that summer. And even though it never went further than a kiss, the flirtation and friendship went on for years and wound up turning into some really great memories for me.

Another life changing event for me was the day I met my best friend. I know it was winter because I just started a new job at a ski lodge, but I don’t remember the month and the year is pretty foggy. I remember the events of the day itself very vividly because we met while putting together informational packets for the ski-lift operators; sort, staple, stack. I remember an instant connection and later in the day, getting reprimanded by our boss for “goofing off” because we were laughing the entire time we did our task. I do remember it was in the neighborhood of twenty-three years ago, but I'd have to do actual research to come up with the year.

Another time, that same best friend and I did a drive-by of the house where a guy we knew lived. It's one of the best times I’ve ever had with her (and there are hundreds!). We swung by McDonald’s before we headed out there and when we stopped to eat, she made me laugh SO HARD, food came out of my mouth. Neither one of us remembers the month or the year, but I will always remember it as the night I spit lettuce on the steering wheel of my Chevy Monte Carlo.

These are just three examples of the many, many things that have happened in my forty-one years of life and when I drive late at night when there are no distractions, hundreds more fly through my head. The best thing about remembering one thing by associating it with another is the bonus of getting two memories for the price of one.

And like this song, I measure each year of my life in daylights, sunsets, midnights, cups of coffee, inches, miles, laughter and strife.

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