Thursday, July 09, 2009

Looking for Proof

Sometimes it’s not enough to know that I’ve done something, I need to see evidence of it in other people. I struggled with this when I returned from a year abroad in Australia in college. It wasn’t enough to know I’d been there. It wasn’t enough to have three photo albums filled with pictures, many of them including me standing in front of Australian landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, Ayers Rock, or in dive gear on the Great Barrier Reef. It wasn’t even remotely enough to listen to CDs by Australian artists purchased in Australia or to tell a story of something I’d done or seen while there. After all, I could easily get a “My Friend the Chocolate Cake” CD off of Amazon, and I could just as easily make up these stories.

I struggled with the question, “Was I really there?” after I returned, and couldn’t seem to answer it on my own. My year down under had to be justified by someone I hadn’t seen in that year. “Hey! You’re back! How was Australia?” Or “Did you buy this gift for me in Australia? I love it!”

The other day I saw a man riding in an inflatable dinghy in the cove, and I recognized the logo on the back of his navy blue T-shirt. The same logo is on the back of a few T-shirts on our shelf at home. In the last few years I hadn’t seen that logo anywhere other than in my house. That logo appeared on my dive shop’s web site, on the marketing materials I had developed, on a tent that we had made for events at dive sites, and on scads of those T-shirts. I had seen it on someone at the gym awhile back, and then just a few days ago I saw it on the back of a stranger as he rode by.

For that moment the question was answered. Did I own a dive shop? Yes I did, and there was living proof just cruising by for a few moments. And now I seek out the next shred of evidence, only to justify it to myself.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous crisitunity said...

This post resonates strongly with me in a way I could spend thousands of words trying to explain. It has to do with the t-shirts my dad brought back from overseas for me when I was a kid, and all of the stuff in my garage, and the way I set up my dorm room in college, and the fact that I WON'T get rid of a picture of my ex even though I want to, and a million other things.

Thank you.

July 10, 2009 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Beej said...

It's a hard thing to explain, isn't it? Like, my brother was at our old high school recently. He sent me pictures he took of the track and field records, where my name still appears twice. Knowing I hold those records isn't enough. Walter had to point it out to me again.

Not long ago I went into the dive shop to get a few things. And it looks radically different than when I was there. There aren't any shreds of dog hair in the corners anymore. Did I ever own the shop? There was some mail for me, so there was my proof for that moment.

July 10, 2009 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger HockeyNut said...

I think we all want to know in some way that the world doesn't go madly on without us even leaving a trace of our own lives somewhere else or with someone else. So to have tangible proof of that - it's golden.

July 10, 2009 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Beej said...

I googlestalk old boyfriends sometimes. I wonder if I've been googlestalked by them too

I've recently been found on facebook by an Aussie boyfriend. I hadn't thought of him in years, and I dumped him badly back then.

So, because he's out there I know I was there.

And he's recently told me that I had opened him up to music more and he thanked me for that. Proof! Proof! Proof!

July 10, 2009 at 3:40 PM  

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