Monday, January 07, 2013

The Ghosts Of 5:31 P.M.

"The people you love become ghosts inside of you, and like this you keep them alive."

~Rob Montgomery

As Alan and were traveling though Crow Canyon the other night, I was snapping photo after photo because it was pretty close to sundown, and there was some wonderful shadows and last light of day to play with. I love this time of day for taking photos, but I don't enjoy this time of day for driving. I guess it's my 50 year old eyes failing me, but I just don't see as well as I would like to, so I happily hand the key to Alan, and sat back, and enjoyed doing photos while on the move. Like with the sunset photos I took last month while we drove along Grizzly Peak Blvd, it was impossible to know if I was getting anything good enough to post, and taking the time to check each photo would have meant losing a lot of chances. So, I snapped when it felt right, and crossed my fingers.

When I got home and took a look at the pictures, I found about 4 or so out of the group of 20 photos that I was pleased with. The one posted above struck the loudest cord. It immediately reminded me of a photo I had taken about 30 years ago while on a ride through a different canyon, while my friend Judith drove. Even 30 years ago I preferred to hand the keys to someone else during twilight if at all possible. Hmmm... maybe it wasn't my 50 year old eyes after all! LOL. Anyway, Judith and I were coming back from having spent the day in San Jose. Judith participated in Dr. Who meetings that were at that time held at channel 54. She had spent the day picking up materials for the meeting that was to be held the following day, and I was simply along for the ride.

We left the studio fairly early in afternoon, and with the extra time we decided to take the long way back to the east bay, by way of connecting the canyons, starting with Calaveras Canyon. We were having a good time talking about the upcoming Dr. Who meeting, and the prospect of maybe getting George Takai for the Star Trek convention she was also working on. The slow ride back home was fun and relaxing, and I had a nice opportunity to take some photos as the spirit moved me. There wasn't digital back then, so I had to be a bit more picky about what shots I took. The music on the radio was good, the conversation was fun, we could really make each other laugh over the stupidest things, and it was an amazingly clear night at the end of a week of heavy rain. I couldn't have been more comfortable, but then IT happened.

"IT" being a MASSIVE case of the wiggins. We had just finished laughing our butts off at something... I don't remember what... and there had been a momentary lull in the conversation when all of a sudden Judith and I both turned and looked into the back seat of the car, for no apparent reason, well, except for the overwhelming feeling that something... or ... someone... was sitting there with us! We both got the feeling at the same exact moment. We both looked back at the same time! Suddenly, there was a decidedly heavy feeling in the car! As we turned to each other, we both began to laugh nervously. "Did you...?" Judith asked. "Yes," I answered. "I just felt like there was someone telling me to look in the backseat." "Me too" she said.

I can tell you this, you never saw two people get the hell out of a canyon so fast! There was a heavy feeling in the car throughout the drive back to HWY680! Judith and I decided to stop for a bit and in the clear light of a very well lit Denny's,  and my friend and I decided to talk about what had just happened. Was it a case of both of us experiencing the same subliminal thought? Had a certain stretch of the road jarred some distant memory of a show we may have both seen at some point? We couldn't say, so we began to consider and discuss what was happening just prior to the feeling of  suddenly something riding along with us in the car.

Let's see. Neil Sedaka and Elton John were singing Bad Blood on the radio. That wasn't it. There were a couple cars ahead of us, and a couple behind us, so it wasn't like we were all alone on a deserted road. It wasn't completely dark yet, but rather on the edge of twilight, so yes there was still some light. We had been discussing how many lists it took to put on a proper science fiction convention. That wasn't it. What else... what else? Scent, could it be something associated with scent? After all, the senses store memories we aren't always aware of. Did either of us smell anything unusual just prior to the thought we shared? Nope. I hadn't, and she didn't think so either. We talked for about an hour, but nothing really seemed to fit.

We never really figured it out. We tried a couple times to make it all happen again, just to put the questions away, but had no luck recreating the incident. Finally, we just let the whole thing go. It was just one of those weird, unexplainable things that happens in life to keep it all interesting. Maybe someone was there, maybe there wasn't, but either way we were none the less for wear, and had an interesting story to share. It was all good. What can you do, right? I just put it in a file with all the other silly times Judith and I had in our friendship, and there were a million of them.

A couple years after that incident, Judith and I had a falling out, and our friendship never recovered. There was no way to fix it, but neither of us held onto the badness, it just wasn't really who we were as people. We grew apart, and just kept going our own way. My pal passed away in 1992 of a heart attack. I was so sad when I heard of her death because her heart simply gave out, and I didn't understand why God or whoever makes these decisions, didn't give her a warning or a second chance. Something. But that was the grief. It just was what it was. She was just gone. I missed my friend, but I don't know that I would have done anything different in the path of our friendship.

I miss her when I watch Star Trek sometimes. I miss her when I do something incredibly stupid, and I know I need to lighten up. I think about her when I see a really good spooky movie, because we both had always enjoyed that kind of thing. I think about how infuriated she would have been over George W. Bush and his presidency. I think about what a nincompoop she would have thought Sarah Palin was and is. I know she would have enjoyed meeting my cat Elvis. Everyone did. I know all that because she was my friend. Sometimes, well rarely really, I can sense her nearby, especially when I hear that old Herman's Hermits song, Henry The VIII. Every time I was in her presence and it came on the radio she would crank up the radio really loud and sing along for all she was worth! It was hysterical. Goodness... she could make me laugh!

I thought about her when I saw this picture the other night. I haven't felt her visiting me in a long time, I assume she is in the part of the heavenly afterlife known as SciFiVania. LOL. She is discussing Star Trek episodes with Gene Roddenberry. Or begging James Doohan to speak in "Scotty." She might be following H.G. Wells about the afterlife, discussing how time machines could absolutely work, and thanking him for having thought of it. Or she might be driving Henry The VIII crazy by singing that song to the top of her ethereal lungs. I can just imagine his reaction, especially when I think about all the different reactions it elicited in the living, depending on how much you liked her. LOL.

I see her off somewhere, grinning ear to ear because she now knows what happened on that canyon road all those years ago, and I have to wait until forever claims me before I find out. In other words, she is off somewhere... just... being... Judith.

"Trust me, you see the dead walking around, you learn not to scream, laugh, or piss yourself pretty quickly."

~Stacey Kade, The Ghost And The Goth



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