of the moments


this morning i was driving my car.

there was a green leaf stuck on the windshield
 

i used the wipers. the leaf left an arc of water droplets behind

by the time i picked up my friend, only faint spots remained
 

the arc of droplets on a windshield late on an autumn morning; these made a moment

when i was a kid i had an idea about the afterlife:
 

what if it wasn't heaven and clouds, and my mom (and women in general) getting to be angels (my earlier theory)

what if it was just one moment, a freeze frame, extended forever?
 

that moment would be all you'd have. all your surroundings, everything you were feeling... ...right now, at this moment, i want to tell you some of the moments i remember

as a young child, inspired by something i saw on tv, asking my mom to give me a kitchen knife so i might chivalrously protect her
 

my grandfather papa sam helping me zip up my pjs, my weewee accidentally getting caught in the zipper...

some moments are family anecdotes, that are mine only through the hearing: my mom yelling up through the laundry chute to toss down kirk's clothes, his response from the tub: 'i don't talk to no walls'
 

my parents having friends over for dinner - being afraid to spit out the whole ice cube i had put in my mouth

breaking a sapling's branch at mrs davis' house to impress some other kids, and earning her justified wrath
 

christmas day at friends, my dad saying "MY BABY" and pretending not to give the daughter's dolly back

scared out my wits at sunday school, when the teacher (my aunt) showed a picture of firing squads christians might face during the apocalypse
 

a tough guy laughing as his compatriot got bothered by a cop, pulling the tree off a leaf as he passed

at the local fairground, they had one hotdog left, and my dad let me have it, he explained that was something dads just did
 

horsing around with my cousin in grandpa's chair, tipping back and impaling my forehead on a plant stand

one time in the car, dad telling me he loved me, and me feeling squirmy at that kind of direct pronouncement
 

getting told i was student of the week for my class at my new school, running down the hall and skidding on the floor - the friction blister was about as bad as the teacher chewing me out

an argument with my mom, where she told me my donkey kong jr custom minus the (scary-ish!) mask would be merely cutesy
 

a field trip to NYC, the waiter at mamma leone's saying he was 'da hudson rivah' as he refilled our water glasses

overnight stays at best friend todd's, the summerhot bedroom with him and me and his little brother talking and avoiding sleep
 

my dad angry at my "apple ii history quiz" getting a terrible score at the school history fair

shocked when realizing thinking "i hate..." triggered "...everything about this place" one miserable week at music camp
 

jeff at an after-church get-together, chugging a 2-liter of soda, saying he just 'had to burp', and throwing up all over

my dad, stricken with spinal meningitis, his muscular control system shot, explaining how he just wanted to enact how a son asks for money, and the father takes it out of his wallet, and gives it to him
 

making dad fried bologna sandwiches in the mornings after he was debilitated, but then stopping, uncomfortable with it all

being teased by my boss mr.j about how i'd furtively slink off to eat my allotted daily candy bar during my pharmacy shift
 

mr.j convincing me he had a voice controlled radio by sneakily changing stations with the steering wheel control buttons

and mr.j giving his tie to a UPS store clerk who admired it, then grumbling to me on the drive back about how he had to do that
 

my dad fighting to regain coordination, shakily taking walks around the block

mall fieldtrips with pregnant teens from my the program my mom oversaw, looking a bit like i had my own harem
 

staying up all night for the first time with beau, playing 'ninja' on the atari 800xl, throwing a joystick at him in frustration

the first kiss - the atomic fireball passed from her mouth to mine
 

mike d.b. snapping a girls bra - admiring the chutzpah, if not the manners

the chunky black and smelling of machine oil stands in the high school bandroom
 

marching band, screaming myself hoarse leading boom chikka boom

not stopping to say good morning on what was my dad's last morning
 

the changing of the honor guard at my dad's salvation army funeral

the state trooper saluting my dad's funeral procession
 

on a band trip to mexico, one member miming milking a cow in order to request milk, and cornell then just saying "milk please"

music camp, standing on the dew covered field for flag raising, the smell of mess hall
 

getting pantsed at music camp

sneaking away with d at the end of camp, the grass, her breasts - a first for me... making up for enthusiasm what i lacked in skill.
 

later during a more traditional courtship of j, calling her up at her house to have her look at the moon with me

ellen showing us a raunchy passage from "tropic of cancer" in the bandroom, and mike and i teasing her with "squish squish" ever after
 

after a day or two of being sick from school, looking at my horrible acne in the bathroom mirror, and later realizing it was actually chicken pox

flirting with v on the bus to boston, lying on the bus floor and studying her face upsidedown
 

outside the gubitosi's with v, kissing and kissing and kissing

opening my eyes once then, and seeing her eyes weren't shut either
 

feeling so sophisticated and european carrying a spare tampon for v at the school's day at the amusment park

endlessly jamming on the blues scale on the bandroom piano with mike
 

wrestling v's terribly overstuffed suitcase before she went back to germany

mesmerized by the weight on a spring on a string pendulum in physics class
 

romancing ms., watching for shooting stars on the shore of the lake until her dad came with a flashlight

the camaraderie of the dressing room for my high school's guys and dolls production, singalongs of "you've lost that loving feeling" and "pretty woman"
 

my big jule getting hit in the big jules by a clumsy sky masterson during dress rehearsal, the gratitude for being able to just lie there for a while

kissing and snuggling in the back of mike's car, the soundtrack to blues brothers and good morning vietnam
 

watching mike getting his nose broken by a bully

in portugal, running to catch a crazily crowded train after visiting its even more crowded dining car to get beers
 

that same trip, realizing i was drunk for the first time, regarding myself in the cafe's bathroom's mirror

tipsy at the deserted train station, telling baptista about v and the dear john letter; him telling me about his hopless crush on his french tutor
 

once college started, finding out baptista had died; "let it be" coming on, and making me weep in my dorm room

buying my mom a clown music box; one of the first gifts i remember feeling generous about
 

those summers working as a counselor at a daycamp for mentally handicapped kids had a lot of moments of their own

ms's cramps halfway up the statue of liberty, helpless as she rolled on the floor in agony
 

noticing how piglike my reflection was in my tuba

pepper flashing her breasts us in mike's frat's basement
 

visiting mom at her - our - new york apartment, and its view of sunset over the hudson

in that same apartment, clambering over the 19th story roof with an australian visitor -- 'photography isn't about photos. photos never come out right. it's about the *adventure*"
 

l. standing in thought and her underwear in my dorm room, an inadvertant venus de waldorf

improvising fanfares with the band director john on trumpet as a stalling tactic during commencement
 

reconnecting with v. in new york city, the ball drop at times square

buying my aunt a great big vase from martha's vineyard to apoogize for making out with a girl in her living room
 

mom erasing 3,000 i owed her from college as a graduation gift, and the card she made to tell me

a roadtrip to cleveland with r after graduation, going to those gardens with her and mike, lazing in the sun
 

on the porch of my first apartment with jt, eating pasta and listening to the soundtrack to "the birdcage". this hit me as 'a moment' when i was in that moment

dylan's odd gag of pulling out his work-id-on-a-retracting-spool like he was a pullstring doll that could only say "i love bank boston. i love bank boston"
 

driving to new york on rainy night, my civic spins out, luckily the truck was a good distance away

buying m. expensive sunglasses, an early token in our relationship
 

an asian gentleman disarming my clogged traffic road rage on memorial drive by waggling moose antlers

stockpiling jugs of water ahead of y2k, just in case
 

making a german 7 year old giggle with a terrible "auto-baum" draw and cartoon

design group hanging out upstairs after layoffs
 

looking down the dark, snow covered road before finishing the walk home; it also registered as one of these moments i wanted to fix in my mind

endless games of "pokemon puzzle league" with eb
 

working with m. to saw the legs off a table too big to move and restore them; her insecurity, the skepticism of eb

during knowledge transfer when leaving a job, in joking anger i tossed a remote at noor, but hit and hurt him for real.
 

getting so sunburned this one time with k that my chest was pretty much the same shade as my nipples...

a weird moment of hubris when jz pulled up a game site at work as we were waiting for a compile
 

the moment of dawning horror realizing the oreo handed to me had actually been pre-licked - my mouthfull response 'wheahs da cweamy fillin'? is a moment providing many laughs for eb in the years since...

the craziness of my first 24 hour comics day; forgoing sleep to tell a story i had wanted to tell for a long while
 

the first kiss with amber, the electricity and sudden spark of this being the one...

later, a trip to niagara falls, and her nervousness on the oversized ferris wheel there...
 

that same trip, weeping on my dad's grave

and on the way backcoming to the where the church where i lived in an apartment with my folks was with amber, and seeing the grassy lot
 

so, those are my moments. some of my moments.

moments, and memories. some researchers think memories aren't so much made but remade; the act of remembering cements and reshapes the neuronic pathways
 

i guess that's one thing photographs do; become the canonical record, the mold for future remembering. and these comic panels will guide my future memory, I'm sure

is it telling what showed up here? more from my younger days than recently, and my dad shows up more than my mom; i'm not sure what to make of that
 

i think somehow i want my moments to outlast me; that's why i'm writing this now

it's tough to let go.