The Things They Leave Behind

This morning on my way to work I listened to NPR discuss the report on the Columbia disaster that happened some six months ago. My immediate reaction was, “Oh, I bet the Outlaw is reading that whole thing.”

That was what he left behind, his love outer space and the space program.

Monday, as I was rushing out of work, I nearly killed myself. I was walking rather briskly and was about to put my foot down when I had to do the quick-shift-your-weight-so-you-don’t-squish-something dance. I didn’t fall, because my friend, the Wondergeek, happened to be walking by at the moment.

“Whoa,” he said grabbing my arm helping me balance. “What happened?”
“There’s a dragonfly on the floor,” I said pointing to the bug I nearly squashed beneath my Doc Marten flip-flop.
“Oh,” he said. “Why didn’t you just step on it?”
“I dunno,” I said.

If the TTHM ever leaves, that will be one of the things he leaves behind. Bugs are for looking at not smooshing.

I can’t drive past a male runner without craning my neck, to catch a glimpse of his face. I need to see if maybe I know him. It’s something the cross-country team left behind. I was friends with a goodly number of them in college and Eau Claire was a smaller town. Whenever I’d see a man running, chances were pretty good that I knew him. Of course, I haven’t known any of the men running since about 1996, but it doesn’t stop me from looking.

I can’t listen to the Meat Puppet’s “Backwater” without smelling Aveda’s Rosemary Mint shampoo. When Shelley and I lived in the sweatlodge one summer, I would constantly sing that song in the shower while “borrowing” her shampoo.

If I smell gin and tonic I think of Chuck and the night he raised the glass so gently to my lips for me to taste. It’s one of the many things he left behind.

Of course, you don’t have any choice in what you leave behind. If we had a choice it’d be all the good stuff about ourselves that we wanted people to remember. But we can’t control it. It’s not always good.

Whenever I buy Clorox Bleach, I think of Dawn Larson and the summer she asked Jodi Hanson and I how we got our hair so blonde. “We bleach it,” Jodi said, talking about the peroxide we combed into our hair religiously. Dawn went home to try and bleach her hair, with Clorox. It never grew back properly.

I wonder what it is I’m leaving behind, what is it that trigger thoughts of me in the minds of the people I have left?

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5 Comments

  1. chris 27.Aug.03 at 9:11 am

    I just finished stenciling bugs on the walls of my baby’s nursery. When I look at those bugs I will think of you..”bugs are for looking not smooshing”. Thanks Jodi, you are one of the most intriguing, interesting people I have never met.

  2. Thomas 27.Aug.03 at 4:48 pm

    You’ve left me knowing the music of The Mats.

    You’ve left me knowing how deep a soul can be.

    You’ve left me knowing how strong someone can be while simultaneously being vulnerable.

    You’ve made me laugh, cry and inspired.

    You can never leave me, Jodi; You may kick me to the curb and hurl things at me, but you’ve left a part of yourself in me. You’ve bettered me.

    Thank you, Jodi.

  3. the TTHM 28.Aug.03 at 3:52 pm

    every partner of mine has left something to inspire or annoy me. with mary, it was cream in the coffee. with kris, it was a taste for bloody strong coffee and foofy wines and a desire to hike the high sierras. i was with my ex-wife for soo loong that i can’t even count the things that stayed or the things that left. with joan, i lost everything and because of it acquired a need to lose even more.

    with jodi, i just don’t know yet. It could be my craving for porn…

  4. Bonny 30.Aug.03 at 10:18 am

    Jodi’s a pornographer????

  5. the TTHM 31.Aug.03 at 7:33 pm

    Oops…did i say porn? i meant corn. smothered in butter. at the fair. um. um.