Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.

—Vladimir Nabokov

Oh those Life Phases

Tonight, my wife and I hauled our two children downtown for dinner. We had to run some errands, and we thought we'd extend it a bit. As I was waiting for her in the car with two sleepy heads, I grabbed a copy of the Willamette Week and noticed that a new vegan restaurant opened. Of course, it would be on the "east side" where we used to live.

If it was a trendy club, new bistro, or just good, it wouldn't be out in suburbia where we live now with our "good schools" and our "quiet neighborhood." It was our choice, and I don't regret it, but still, I felt a twinge.

We had a fabulous dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, but much of the staff had changed since we used to haunt it weekly. The manager (whose is appropriately nicknamed, Thai) and the owner know us well, and it is always good to be able to ask about someone's family.

Did I mention how good the food was? Absence and nostalgia flavors food better than spices. The kids (since they were hungry) sat and ate in peace. Afterward, walking around downtown, I pointed to my children the buildings I used to work in and some stories of events long faded into my past.

A couple of men were outside my favorite Lebanese restaurant, Abou Karim, lighting up a beautiful hookah. "What did you flavor your tobacco with?" I asked. Apples. "How very traditional," I responded. To which they offered us a sample. Very tasty.

My son, who I was carrying, noticed a large statue of a head in the window of a gallery. It was open, with some people milling about. One man, the curator, invited us in, and so we wandered around letting our kids tell us which ones they liked best. My daughter liked the one with the palm trees, and my son liked the picture of a cooking pot over an open fire. I was surprised that his favorite wasn't the ones with the "boobs".

We chatted with one of the artists and some of the patrons, and then left. We had to stop by our favorite coffee shop as we were out of beans. Smells are like the ghosts of our past, whispering until our memories are alive and vivid. We could have sat there all night, but it was 8, and that is now late. We had miles to go before we sleep… and teeth to brush, pajamas to put on and diapers to change.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love this phase of my life. Kindergarten has been wonderful to us as is a three-year old memorizing every dinosaur and Pokemon. Their kisses on my nose and their squeals of laughter in my ears keep my ol' blood flowing.

But I miss my previous life as well. Never knew how decadent of a life I lived. Eating where I wanted, and sleeping as late I wanted. Hell, I miss talking on the phone in peace. There is also the stress of the future life-- the one I'm giving to my children-- a world heated hot with blood and oil.

But right now, my life is wonderful, and I wouldn't change it a bit.

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