Monday, July 20, 2009

July 8

It’s hard to go back several weeks, single out a day like any other, recall where you were, what you did that day, and how you felt, especially when nothing particularly notable happened. This is completely unlike remembering the particularly notable days.

I always thought that I’d never be able to forget the day my dad passed away: July 8. I remember driving my mom and boyfriend to the hospital that morning to say our final goodbyes to the shell of a man who once was and who needed to be moved from the ICU to the morgue. Before we even made it into entrance of the hospital I remember thinking to myself: “July 8 – 7/8 – this date will forever be ingrained in my mind”. And I was right.

Fourth of Julys have never been the same. Memories of parties and fireworks are now superseded by recalling days on end in the ICU and the ICU waiting room. By the 4th of that year, I almost couldn’t take the waiting any longer, and I broke my streak of daylight hours spent inside the hospital on the 5th, opting instead for a toilet to vomit in and several doses of Ibuprofen. My mom was pissed.

This past July 4th was the same as the last few have been. Sure, we’ve gone to barbecues and celebrated with our friends, but that looming stale soberness is always there in every direction I turn. And on the 4th of this year I told myself, just like I have been telling myself for the past few years, that it will be the worst on the 8th but over on the 9th. Only I just realized here on the 20th that the 8th was a day like any other: I forgot to remember.

The 8th was a Wednesday, which means I went to scrimmage practice that night. It was 2 weeks ago that was the week we really meshed as a team – the 8th. We were relaxed, we worked well together, and we had fun. In an attempt to not overanalyze things, we bypassed our usual post-scrimmage team performance dissection, and instead sat around just chatting. I was so proud of what came of that chat – all the things we’d been saying and strategies we’d been explaining were being retold and reinforced by our newest team members to each other. “This is awesome,” I thought, “they got it.”

Mildly obsessed with our impending trip to Kansas City that weekend, I was briefly distracted earlier that day at work by a string of Chuck Norris joke emails sent to me by my boss who has a thing for jokes and who had just recently revisited the Chuck Norris kick after being reminded of it by someone I supervise. Coincidentally, my teammates were telling each other Chuck Norris jokes as we stood in the security line at the airport that Friday evening, and I didn’t even bring Chuck up. I did, however, share my best Chuck Norris joke that I had heard earlier in the week from a coworker: “When Chuck Norris does a push-up, he doesn’t push himself up – he pushes the earth down.”

Oh, god… Thinking back on it, I was late to work on the 8th. With the assistance of some “Chocolate Smooth Move” herbal tea I had drank in a last-ditch effort the night before, the stomach issues I had been experiencing since the 4th finally resolved themselves, which I suppose was both a blessing and a curse. It was a curse in that I had to tell my boss why I would be coming in late, but it was also a blessing, because as unpleasant as it was ridding my body of what I can only describe as layers of sediment dating back to the Mesolithic era, the shitting myself blind apparently kept me preoccupied enough to completely throw off my day, and I never noticed what day it was.

As much as things stay the same, they also change. My feelings of initial guilt over not having remembered my father’s death-day anniversary have now been replaced by a fond recollection of my dad as our basketball coach, his taking me to buy stupid joke books and allowing me to tell the same “orange you glad I didn’t say banana” joke over and over and over again on the ride home, and his persistent laughter at my singing what I can only describe as “the diarrhea song”. What can I say? We have the same sense of humor.

It’s funny – it’s the things we don’t find particularly notable at the time that creep into our minds and over time somehow magically transform themselves into really fond memories. I’ll probably always remember July 8, but in the grand scheme of things, the events of that day pale in comparison to the years of everyday events that shape my overall memory. July 8 may have been the first day no more memories were able to be made, but it was also the first day I began to remember and celebrate all those wonderful noneventful things that have made me who I am.

No comments: