Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Synaptic Bridge

Had I stuck to the field vicariously aspired for me by my parents (medicine), there's a good chance I would've become a neurologist.

And here's why:

I'm obsessed with synapses.

Like how quickly they act, sometimes condensing entire trilogies of existence into a second (it is for this reason, too, that I am never wholly able to convey what I think — I can't type, or speak, as quickly as thoughts occur... it's with a nod to futility that I ever write anything).

Take tonight, for example. Walking past a van with its headlights on, with no owner in sight. The distance separated between the two lights eclipsed a decade, maybe two, beginning with a rundown of all the reasons I had for not trying to help (a dozen businesses share the same parking lot, so I couldn't go in and "report" the lights; many cars have alarms; I'd probably be accused of breaking & entering if I even touched the door; some car lights stay on for a few minutes after exiting; etc.) and ending with a memory from my childhood in the rural Midwest.

Or more particularly: of my father reaching into a stranger's van one evening and turning off their lights as a courtesy.

He'd do this often — or, at least, whenever he'd walk past such a vehicle.

"Oh!" he'd say. "They left their lights on."

And without pause he'd head for the driver's side, open the door, turn off the lights, and walk away.

The amazing thing about this — the more that I think about it — isn't just that my father did this, time and time again.

But that the doors were always unlocked.


Anonymous said...

That was back in the day and in the rural midwest. You didn't lock your doors because, well, why? You know everyone and they know you and you are nice to each other.

Maybe that is the definition of "now". How long it takes for all the pertinent neurons to fire.

Stacy said...

Do you smell smoke? I see that memory too, all 67 Mustangs, blue.

Winter said...

How much do you wish you stuck with it?

Matt said...

My parents did that in Vermont when I was a kid, too.

Back then, leaving the lights on might have drained the battery sooner on slightly older cars. Nowadays, I can leave the lights on my new car on all night and still not drain the battery.

And my dad would sometimes leave the car running w/ the door open when he went into a store.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

BPP - Sounds like it's more so a factor of time, rather than location. Even in my hometown today, you'd be hard-pressed to find an unlocked vehicle.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Winter - It's that whole green grass syndrome. I'd probably wish I was writing for a living, if I'd gone into medicine.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Matt - I like the sound of your car. Let's switch.

Woodrow said...

My house is usually unlocked. But only because I forget.

Glencross said...

I sometimes worry that we give to much weight to the thoughts we can put into words, and dismiss the ones we can't as irrational. It feels as though subconsciously/non-verbally you can process huge amounts of information in parallel. but when it comes to explaining it to someone else you have to force it through a linear bottle neck. Still, I'd rather stick to the restrictions of verbal communication than have people able to read my mind!