Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Persistence of Memory (Part 1 - Driving Ace)

It is interesting to me how powerful the human memory is.  The "touch point" might be a remembered image, sound, or smell.  When our senses, even after an interval of decades since the initial encounter, is confronted with one of these touch points, a flood of memories rushes upon us like a tsunami previously held back only by forgetfulness.

I mean to bring you a series, then, on some of my personal touch points: those images, songs, aromas that still move me powerfully, no matter how long ago they were planted within me.

As I was commuting to work this morning, this image came to mind:

It is, of course, one of the "Safety" cards from the popular card game, Mille Bornes.  At least, it was popular with my family back in the 1960s.  The Safety cards were special, and could give you either 100 or 400 extra miles, depending upon the circumstances under which they were played.  There are four Safety cards in Mille Bornes:  Extra Tank, Puncture Proof, Right of Way, and Driving Ace. 

But my favourite was always the Driving Ace.  My heart skipped a beat whenever I was dealt this card.

And, because of the persistence of memory, my heart still skips a beat whenever I see or think about the Driving Ace card.  It seems fraught with possibility.  It is like a superpower, only one that is perhaps humanly achievable ... or, at least, dispensed to a few individuals such as Stirling Moss, Mario Andretti, or John Force.  It is one superpower to which I aspire.

And I needed it this morning.  A seasoned citizen, obliviously ran a red light directly in front of me on my way to work this morning. 

I would have T-boned this frail individual, ending his/her (for with extreme age, sex becomes difficult to determine infallibly) frail existence.  But I did not hit the car, because I played my Driving Ace card.