I wish other people could feel moments the way I feel them. The way I capture a moment – an expression mid-sentence, eyes squinted in a laugh, a sideways look, a small achievement or a defining instant, an overall setting – whether it’s intense and intimate or casual and breezy. Maybe others do and just don’t share them out loud.
I don’t know what triggers me to take mental snapshots of my surroundings at any given time. I know that I do this most often when my friends are laughing. But other times, my albums of the cerebrum are unexpected. Like last night, at an informal cocktail hour event with coworkers at a restaurant on East 4th Street between Bowery and Lafayette, when everyone was chatting, laughing and reaching for more antipasti with wine glasses in hand. Suddenly I was unnoticeably quiet. Lightly smiling. Careful not to project my sentimental demeanor to my colleagues. Just watching and listening. And storing to memory.
Maybe my constantly changing landscapes as a military brat have made forgettable moments and random faces a staple in my memory so that reminiscent postures are familiar, proverbial. I could already feel myself, years away from last night. Older. Perhaps wiser. Maybe with wrinkles. No, wait. I can’t imagine myself with wrinkles yet. But I could feel myself in a future time, looking at my mental snapshot and remembering an easily forgettable moment when I was leaning against a heavy, dark oak table along an exposed brick wall, in a dimly-lit East Village restaurant, one arm crossed under my chest, the other elbow anchored at my side and propping the hand holding my glass of red wine pressed under my chin. And I was just looking at my New York life, the people in it, and thinking about how much I love it all.