Ever since I got my omni-present headache, several people have told me that they think of me whenever they get headaches. At first I thought this was bizarre, and sort of sad. I hate to be associated with someone else’s pain. Then I realized, it’s actually rather normal to associate a place or a thing or an idea with someone else. For example:
- Whenever I see the almond butter at Trader Joe’s I think of Shauna (aka DietGirl) and my failed attempt to smuggle it into the UK for her.
- If I see Spider-man on a lunch box, a pair of kids gloves, or the cover of a comic book, I think of my old boss, whose office was decorated with Spider-man paraphernalia.
- If I see, eat, or smell a cupcake, I think of Rachel who blogs at Cupcakes Take the Cake.
- If I drive by a certain hospital downtown or hear about it on the news, I think about a friend I had to visit there unexpectedly. (She’s doing much better now.)
- When I visit a public garden or greenhouse, I think of my mom, who loves flowers.
- In LA, I walked past a stall at the Farmer’s Market that only sold hot sauce, and thought of my brother who has never eaten a food he found to be too spicy.
It’s funny to think how these associations affect how we see the world. Two people could be walking down the street, but one of them will have a series of memories triggered by an object that holds no meaning to the other person. When I explore a new town or city, it’s empty of any meaningful associations for me. The buildings and people are all complete blanks. But soon enough something happens, even if you’re only in town for a day, which is why I will forever associate the Santa Monica Pier with a car accident. It’s odd to think how we all have a series of private notes and memories appearing in our head like a pop-up video at the sight or smell of something familiar.