Freudian Slips: Just Visiting

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

April 24, 2005

Just Visiting

Scent is the strongest scent linked to our keen memory. The smell of fresh cut grass reminds me of two memories not bridged together. One memory is productive, the other is associated with my divorce. After a dormant winter, the arrival of Spring and the smell of fresh cut grass recently invoked these two memories.
I inhale. It takes me back in time. It is springtime. I am walking across the Glassboro State college campus. Ah, spring is the earth reborn. Lawnmowers shred the high grass blades of soccer fields and courtyards but it is the chloroform smell that the machines swaths produce that I fall in love with. It means the end of another college semester with the freedom of summer to look forward to. I equate that smell of grass with hard work, professional growth, and accomplishment. It is a rewarding scent to treasure.
The inhale also returns me to the difficult separation from my first wife in 1996. Since moving out of the marital home, I still made frequent jaunts back to mow the lawn. I couldn't afford to pay for a landscaper and I was the epitome of free labor protecting a real estate investment - ours, hers, mine. I recall the mental difficulty to physically care for a home physically vacated. I am mowing the front yard one afternoon straight from work. High atop the perched seat of my riding lawnmower, I am lamenting all that goes with a divorce. I smell the Kentucky bluegrass sod and divorce becomes linked to this olfactory scent. The lawnmower's roar rips through the air and its vibrations create a numb feeling through my body. I see my wee children milling about the house. Now I am totally numb. Yes, I am emotionally drained but it is no doubt tougher on the family I left behind. Another thirty minutes into giving the grass a Mohawk haircut, I hear shouting. I ignore it but the shouting grows louder. I recognize my name being called but glances back at the house do not derive a caller. I finally see a neighbor flagging me down. She walks toward me. I put the tractor in park, cut the engine, and remove my headphones.
"Joe, I got to tell you, I didn't think your wife was that strict. Nobody can be that strict and by the book."
I ask, "What are the heck you talking about?"
She points to a sticker adhesed to my shirt pocket. I look down. Having just come from visiting a sick client in the hospital, I see the JUST VISITING sticker brighter than a neon sign. We laugh so hard that I dizzily almost fall off the tractor.
I reply, "When I'm officially divorced, I may be demoted to wearing a NOT WELCOME sticker. Stay tuned for the divorce decree."
If laughing at yourself is truly healthy, I laughed like the bray of a donkey. It was my first laugh in weeks even if it was at my expense. So the next time I smell the splendor in the grass, one nostril is for accomplishment while the other nostril breathes in the life I left behind. And let that be a lesson served to never become a visitor in your own house. Only now does that make scents to me.

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3 Comments:

Blogger justrose said...

though nothing can bring back the hour, of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not. rather gain strength in what remains behind.

-- one of my all time favorite movies, and a good wordsworth quatrain to boot. a fragrant post, redolent of bittersweet seasons.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous chi said...

That's a Marcel Proust's "madelaine"!a flood of memories of my childhood, thanks Joe!

7:43 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

justrose,
thanks for pointing out my plagiaristic phrasology. Seriously, you amaze me with your knowledge of poetry. This commoner bows to the literary queen.

Chi,
Glad it touched you. Looks like you will have some blogging to catch up on when you return from San Francisco.

10:29 AM  

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