Lily and I moved to opposite corners of the hot tub. Because it’s outside and we live in the Pacific Northwest, the underside of the cover attracts slugs and undesirable life. I’ve started using bromine tabs indiscriminately, I just dump a bunch in the water and it turns aqua-green and smells weird, but seems to keep the slugs away. Sometimes there’s unidentifiable matter in the water that’s distracting though, makes it hard to relax. I explained to Lily it’s more natural this way, that if we were in an outdoor hot springs somewhere it would be like this too. She didn’t buy it. She seems distracted, possibly tired, and said after a while well, I’m going in now dad—and I thought how fast it all happened that she’s taking on new experiences I won’t know about, and there’s a space opening between us. How much that journey away from the people or things we thought defined us is important—how much like an ellipse we stretch away and then return.
Dawn’s mom Beth came for Sunday dinner and told us about a story she heard on the radio, where it’s been scientifically proven that simply observing something changes the physical properties of it, something about the photons, how watching the subject actually changes the subject.
And I mentioned the story I’d heard about the nature of memory, how it’s a copy of the last memory we had and not the original, like a photocopy of a copy. How that challenges the very nature of history and reality, and truth: and that we remember more what we feel than what we actually heard, how government can use the media to that end—and how Orwellian. I guess we still on some level have to trust how we feel, for as much as we’ve forgotten or replaced that instinct with knowledge.
I circled the house in my morning sweater, the one I got with my mom before we left Germany this time, last year. We drove to a small village and took some country roads getting there. They’d advertised the sweater in a color flyer mom gets with the newspaper and there it was, just as advertised. I wear it about every day. I envied my mom’s partner Eberhard for the old, traditional liederhosen and sweater he had when the two of us went out to beer festivals there. His sweater had the feel of really old times, of all of Europe itself, of forgotten blood stains or spilled mustard that had just folded into the fabric. It was silly maybe, but walking back from the lake this morning I thought I’m starting to look like him. I wondered if anyone would notice. If working that into my story would actually make it real, if I could tell the difference anymore.