if memory lane was a real lane, road, street or boulevard etc, it would start at my grandma's place, carry on to my old apartment, and then from there go all the way to my other grandma's place. grandma m and grand l, my mom's mom, respectively my dad's mom. if you were to look at this physical memory lane from above, it would look something like orion's belt, not that it matters, but "orion" is an anagram for "oniro", which sounds like "oneiro" which means "dream" in greek, which is how i've always experienced walking down this road.
10 years ago i was rollerblading up and down, free of chores and full of hope, probably humming some retarded song, 15 years ago i was kicking the marmelade jars in my bag on my way home from grandma m's house, 20 years ago i was exploring the wilderness of an imaginary concrete world, concrete in every way, but especially infrastructure-related, with its shark peninsula, crocodile corners and its secret safe spots. today, which in reality was yesterday, i walked down that same road, in the same dream-like state, allowing only one song to come along with me.
for the first few steps everything seemed fine. then, well, let's just say they don;t call it blast from the past just because it rhymes, as accepting such a fact would be detrimental to my story's integrity and intensity. let's say there is a strange, much deeper, absolutely fantastic reason for why it is called that and move on to the actual blast. which came from the past. into the present. which is already now the past. but because it stayed with me for longer and i am even writing about it, i will risk calling the present.
so at first, this blast, after having properly introduced itself as all of the above, gave me a pair of comparative glasses that allowed me to see, in real time, what these surroundings looked like long ago in my head. and i had a sudden rush, kind of like alice after taking that pill and chasing the white rabbit, everything was out of proportion, the trees on the side of the pavement had grown with me, but all the old, ugly concrete buildings, now in their festive wrapping, painted in white or sick orange, seemed to have shrinked. they gave a quick wrap-up fix to the pavement, too, so my shark peninsula was gone, not to mention all the safe spots, but i guess one doesnt need secret safe spots if there is no more shark peninsula to lead you into the ocean where all the sneaky sharks roam. i felt sad, even if a lot of unaware people had perished over the years, i felt sad for the sharks and all the adrenaline i've spilled in that ocean on the pavement. but besides the wrapped-up buildings and street, grown trees and missing sharks, everything seemed the same.
i stopped for a while on the stairs of what was once the book-shop on the ground floor of my old apartment building. i was baffled after i had stared at my old window, which was no longer there, cause whoever moved in changed it to some ugly-plastic-framed-three-layers-of-glass-anti-nuclear-bomb window (if necessity is mother of invention, exagerration is the mother of romanians), and as i was sitting on these stairs, wrapped, too, in something to make them look a bit better, i could feel the old stairs underneath, moaning a bit, kind of like when you sit in the back of the car on the way to pick up your aunt, and then she gets in the back with you, but she's so fat she sits on you a little bit, and even long after you remove yourself from under her greatness, you still feel suffocated, you still feel the weight of her enormous pig-devouring ensemble squishing you, maybe even months after she got out of the car.
i moved away from the whiny stairs and entered my old school yard. the building, almost 150 years old, was also painted in sick-peach-orange. i guess it's not hard to imagine the effect such a color would have on an old, beautiful building. it's amazing, i thought while crossing the big, 6 lanes boulevard of the republic, how great romanians are at quick-fixes, at wrapping things. no wonder they all move up north, they're probably helping santa.
but before i had time to continue that rant i saw it: a big, big, big, big (maybe 5x3m) poster saying, in large black on white letters: Hemorrhoids? Varicose veins? Ah, provincial advertising, such interesting aesthetics you have. A car parked near it, with the license plate PH-67-AHH, made it the perfect picture of post-communist Romania, exemplifying both the fought for freedom of speech (i.e. the giant hideous poster) and also the best means of self-expression a half-witted car owner could ever have (i.e. the license plate) in the little country i call home.
approaching my grandma l's house, i got woken up of this post-revolutionary reverie by a noisy carriage pulled by a quiet horse, the vehicle of a little family of well-groomed gypsies, obviously following all the modern trends (all the women were wearing purple), as they were leaving the garbage dump grounds. and it was good the carriage was so loud, cause i needed to focus, the way to my grandma l's house always seemed a bit unusual, and now, when everything else seemed so strange, the feeling of unfamiliarity this little side street gave me was the most familiar one of all.
but i love being at home, i love the heat, the quirkiness, people's stares, the quick-fixes, the rush, the whole poetry of the place, i love it all, it has a charm like no other, it has the beauty of a mutant-half-bee-half-horse-steel-creature that kicks you in the face, really hard, and then stings you in the eye and you're happy about it, cause it can only happen once.