Friday, December 07, 2007

Restaurant tabletop memory

Scene from a diner
Laval, QC
August 2007
[Click to embiggen]

I use my camera to record not just scenes, but feelings. I've often written how I take pictures to remember what I was feeling at a particular moment. I'm not especially focused on remembering monumental milestones in my life - those are easy enough to recall, I suppose. Rather, it's the everyday moments that are usually forgotten by the passage of time.

To wit, we forget this morning's breakfast, and yesterday's. We forget not only what we had, but what it felt like to sit at the table and make the transition from sleeping at home to working in the real world.

I'm not saying that we could or should remember each and every breakfast throughout our lifetime. That would get pretty old pretty quickly. But every once in a while it might be nice to stop for a second and take the time to seal the memory. Maybe a little bit of quiet introspection would do some people on this planet some good.

The texture of this moment was too much to resist. A dimly lit pizzeria in the town where I grew up. A formica tabletop, a frayed menu and a backdrop of fake wood veneer. As I watched our kids eat their pizza and banter among themselves, I slipped away from the table and recorded this quiet, never-changing scene.

Your turn: A small moment that you're going to remember after reading this. Please discuss how you'll remember it.

One more thing: I have a thing for close-in photos in quiet, old here, here, here and here for more.


Moon said...

ACtually this pic reminded me of the last time I had pizza. Was last week in St.Therese after my daughter when to her CJEP (college) orientation Tues evening. My husband and I just sat back and listened to my daughter rattle on excitedly about the last 3 hours she had just spent...I was feeling proud, anxious, happy, excited and full of anticipation for her. The pizza was delicous too lol!

Robin said...

Reading your thoughts helps affirm that maybe, just maybe, I'm not so crazy after all.

I see life through a similar lens...seeing and sensing the "extra" in the ordinary. I could watch lightning bugs (fireflies) for the same ocean roll into the shore for days, maybe longer...and a roaring fire in the fireplace? Better than television ever hoped to be.

Your picture is similar to one I'll post eventually (considered it for this week's WW); it's a shot of salt & pepper shakers from a diner in Puerto Rico. That shot personified the was homey, not a fancy thing about it, but it had a nice vibe, a real feel to it. And that salt & pepper, grains of rice added in to absorb the moisture, sealed my appreciation for this spot.

THAT is what I'm remembering at the moment :).

Can't wait to show ya now :).


tommie said...

hey...we had pizza this evening!

But what I thought when I saw this shot was my little girl would have immediately personified the sugar to be the 'momma' and the salt and pepper to be 'the kids'...she would perform an entire play about the 'family'. She can be quite entertaining with the most mundane things.....which reminds me I need to look for joy in the small things!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

In 1952, my mother and I drove across the counrry together...From NY to Los Angeles. Somewhere about the 3rd or 4th day..(There weren't the GRWAT Gighways back then...We stopped for Breakfast in a rather sleazy loking place. It was one of the BEST Breakfasts I have ever had! Everything about it was delicious, beyond words! I never forgot it! I can taste ir right now! Yuuuuuuuummmmm!
Thanks for jogging my memory, Carmi.

Anonymous said...

What you said about being in the place you grew up resonates with me, I go home every summer for a couple of weeks. So I can identify with how weird it is to be in places where you were a child, with your children. (I don't think that happens as much for people who stay close to where they were raised)
Michele sent me to think about the past & the small insignificant memories which seem to mean so much later on in retrospect.

David Edward said...

i took some pictures on a walk in the woods this AM, I hope to make something of them. snow CAN be beautiful, with the right medication.

Anne said...

For years, like over 40 of them, I didn't pay attention to when the leaves actually fell, but this year a friend commented to me about how the leave are usually gone by [the American] Thanksgiving but not this year. So I'll remember that as a benchmark for the future.

ps, Michele sent me today.

gautami tripathy said...

That reminded me it's been a long time I had a pizza. I must get one soon. Or prepare one. With too many toppings.

Hey, I find a lot of edible stuff on your blog nowadays.

Would like to share a pizza with Michele?

PS: You signed in to blogger draft! But I will not leave my comment signing in open id. It shows me as firmlyrooted and not gautami!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the comment and thanks for visiting my site too....I like reading your entries but don't have enough time right now...I'll add you on my list...

Anonymous said...

the other day my 4 year old was using some new parkers to draw her thousandth picture of the day. i told her that the colors had creative names like chocolate chip for brown etc. she asked me to read the name of the purple one in her hand and in the moment it took me to get to her she stared at the name and looked up ay me to say: pint, mommy.

the color was pint sized purple and she'd just sounded out her first word. at four. i'll always remember that and certainly wish i had a photo for it.


Unknown said...

Just today, as I was eating my lunch (which was really my breakfast) I was watching my son and his friends play a board game. The laughter, the friendship, the teasing and the silliness is something I'll remember for a long time. When he's with his friends, he's still obnoxious and annoying, but they are really accepting of his behavior and for that I'm eternally thankful.

Beverly said...

This brings back a big moment in my life. All during my childhood my mother worked in a drugstore downtown. I didn't live far enough out to ride the school bus, so every morning I went to the drug store with my mother, ate my breakfast there, and then walked to my elementary school.

I ate breakfast with everyone who was somebody in our town...lawyers, doctors, businessmen. I cherish those memories deeply.

I have no photos of that drugstore as it was, but the photo is deeply etched in my memory.

Sarah Jane said...

Well you know I agree with you whole-heartedly as I show with my laundry blog. I'm thinking you may have a whole other blog idea hidden in this one - perhaps a blog with close-up photos in diners. You've certainly got the beginning of one anyway. I love it!

Last Girl On Earth said...

Oh Carmi! I've been thinking of you all week. I just got a new camera. (Nikon D40) and I can't wait to chronicle my trip to Thailand next week! I have a feeling I'm going to taking pictures of just about EVERYTHING I do, including eating breakfast! Happy Hanukkah to you and yours!


Anonymous said...

A small moment I will remember after seeing this? I think it will be when I sent a note to my friend Amy, asking when we could meet with her busy schedule... I offered to bring bread pudding as a bribe. I got an immediate email: "tomorrow?" I made the bread pudding that night and we enjoyed two and a half hours of dessert, wine and gentle companionship. A lovely evening.
Thank you for bringing it to mind.

spwriter said...

Hey, thanks for visiting my little site and for your kind comment. Your brilliant and inspiring blog has encouraged me to add even more stress to my life by starting up a blog of my own dedicated solely to creative stuff.

Robin's comment (above) fits me, too. I love to discover the "'extra' in the ordinary" (as she so beautifully put it). I'm looking forward to joining you in "thinking different" through words and images.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Here's a small moment for you: the moment I realized I've had more than enough latkes to last me a year -- and we've a party at the temple yet to get to today!

Michele sent me here; I suspect she knew you'd understand!

Hey, got any latke pictures? That'd be awesome. Or make me turn green and dash for relief... I'm not sure which.

Happy rest of Hanukkah!

HRH Courtney, Queen of Everything said...

Age 14, walking with my friend--the local (very cute) paperboy--on the end of his route, and it begins to snow, the first snow of the season. We stood in the dark and watched it snow quietly. I don't know what made it so powerful (the little crush we had on each other, the darkness, the quiet), but every year, I try to go stand in the first snow to recall that moment of wonder.

craziequeen said...

Hey Carmi, this post brought breakfasts with cyberkitten to mind.
We used to visit with the Aginoths in Weston and stayed at a down-at-heel B&B down the road. In the morning, we would text each other to find out if we were awake and ready for breakfast....then we would go downstairs for a 'Full English' veggie-style....

Thank you, honey, for stirring this memory.


Anonymous said...

okay, looking at that photo today i am reminded of a restaurant we used to go to as a child. it was outside the city and was called highway host. that place had the best french fries and milkshakes ever and was owned and operated by a large german family (the kids waited tables). i have such incredible family memories of going there and always will. i don't think it's the same place anymore but now i'd like to go back and have a look anyway. it's been a long time.


MaR said...

I drove downtown Barcelona this morning and back, a regular route but a special drive since I normally don't drive but take the train to go there, I never go that early and plus I happened to have my camera with me! so I could take some pictures while waiting for the green lights...
Michele sent me this morning!!

... Paige said...

It was at the flight museum in Galveston Texas, a little over a year ago. My husband was standing with his hands clasped behind his back looking at something in a glass case. He glanced over his shoulder and spotted me watching him and smiled. It took my breath away. I was thinking how important a little thing like that meant to me now that he has cancer. I made a point of burning it into my memory bank like a photograph--his look of calm serenity and the love that shone in his eyes for me. I can still smell the museum. I often think back at the scene so as not to loose it among so many others.

smarmoofus said...

Oh, I do the same! I love your photo and the explanation behind it. I completely relate to what you're saying. *two thumbs up* GREAT post!

My WW is here.

Sreisaat said...

Big brother, small brother :D

Sassyfrazz said...

That is a great photo...and true how we forget what seem to be the little things in life.

Happy WW~

Thanks for visiting Sassyfrazz

photowannabe said...

I love the trip down memory lane you have taken me on.
I don't have actual photos but several "shots" are burned in my mind forever.

One was walking in the Redwoods at the Golden Hour. There was no one around for several moments and I could hear the silence of the earth breathing.

The other was when I was young. I climbed up on our counter and was able to sit by the open window. It was spring and the smell of freshly cut grass and the warm stream of sunlight pouring in on me is etched in my brain. Sometimes I feel that sunshine or grass smell and I am back sitting on the counter shelf wrapped up in my own world.