by P.R.Banks

Every so often I have a day that just seems geared towards highlighting one particular aspect of life. Dunno why, it just happens. Today's been a day for noticing what has changed and what hasn't.

I spent a good chunk of it out searching for a location I saw once, three years ago, and was driven to it while pre-occupied with other thoughts than the mundanity of remembering how to return to that spot. So a chunk of it was spent wandering in entirely the wrong section of the city, driving up and down roads that I almost never visit looking for this place.

Several times I noticed something that 'felt' right, looked right - they reminded me that I had been here before. Now I should explaint that I am one of those people who navigates by visual landmark more than streetname. I can use a map, no problems but if I am shown a route I never bother remembering the street names of anything but the destination, I concentrate on the landscape. So several times while casting about looking for this place I hit areas where I said subconciously 'Yes! I know this spot! I have been here before!'.

Unfortunately such rememberances served more to lead me astray this time than towards where I really wanted to go. What made it all the more messy was that my normally quite reliable and complete city map did not have the place I wanted to get to on it - it was just outside the maps boundaries. So I had made a calculated guess that turned out to be horribly wrong. It was only after I stopped at a service station and asked for directions did I eventually find where I wanted to get.

And yes, I'd like to state here that I am a living counter example to the assertion that males never ask for directions. I do. (And no smart ass replies about me not being male please.) I had tried all the reasonable alternatives I could think of and before expending some serious petrol I asked to ensure I didn't waste too much of the stuff.

Anyways I eventually got there, there being the memorial plaque for a friend killed a few years back in a traffic accident. The place was exactly as I remembered it - nothing seemed to have changed around the plaque. Even the trees planted at the same time the plaque was laid in had not grown or changed much. Of course this is because the bright spark who put the trees in hasn't given them any wind shelter and the place is smack bang in the middle of a nice wind run.

Anyway the fact that the place hadn't noticably changed gave me a little bit of a shock, and brought back alot of memories of the time I had been there previously. This was of course entirely why I came, partly to place some flowers there and partly to get me to remember both the events surrounding the plaque immediately but of my friend as well. I needed a jog as the memories had been getting a little dull. (As an aside I am not religious at all, I like the Roman's notion that someone is not truely dead till they are forgotten. So I do this as my way of remembering and keeping this friend alive, I value my friends.)

But the second shock came as I noticed that an extra year had slipped in there somewhere. Well I won't actually get into this in this ramble, I'll save that for another time.

So I found the appointed place, was slightly dismayed that no other flowers were present, and then moved on to the next item for the day - a meal at the restaurant run the by friend's parents. Getting there at the appointed time I find that either they are off duty tonight or the place is under new management. The food isn't the same quality as I remember, and they don't have their infamous Chocolate Gateau cake on the menu either, so I suspect that it is under new management.

Suffice to say that the restaurant had changed, just not in the ways I anticipated. I expected that the layout, furnishings and the like to have changed - but not much else. Wrong. Instead most everything else but that had changed. So I made a post haste exit after eating the passable, but not good, meal and returned home.

Now I occasionally like to kid myself that I don't change. It just seems that way at times to me for the usual reason that I am living the changes in small gradual steps. Sufficiently small that I often never notice them. Reality is, of course that I change. In this context the difference over three years is quite obvious, I have finished studying & gained my degree, learned to drive, started working and become a touch more at ease with the world in that time.

So the net result has been to notice that nearly everything I didn't expect to change, has. And the things that I was expecting to change haven't. Is there a point to this? Not really, I just wanted to talk a little about today and say "Gee, well. Isn't that weird?" and marvell at it for a moment. Of course as I am working on this and other things on the computer my brother has wandered in, tried talking to me and got a fairly minimal response - for obvious reasons.

Some things never change.

Philip R. Banks
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