The past weekend has been slow to leave, and I think I’ll be basking in its sensory remains until Friday rolls around again. From the abundance of Halloween candy still in the bowl to the Indian leftovers in the fridge, and the wrapping paper shards to the bouquet of flowers on the dining room table, I catch a waft of our anniversary celebrations at every turn. Because they’re tied to such happy times, these lingering essences of the weekend make me smile, but I realize my house might seem like a disaster zone to someone else thanks to the sight of crumpled gift wrap and the dueling smells of curry and lilies. This has me thinking about the kinds of remains we leave behind after various life events, and I’m wondering how the remnants of special occasions correlate with the occasions themselves.
What I mean to query is this: is the aftermath of a good time usually good, and the aftermath of a bad time awful? I’d wager not. In fact, the remains of a keg party smell disgusting while a funeral smells like nothing but fresh-cut flowers. In addition, some of the grossest garbage comes from amusement parks and five-star restaurants (the epitome of good-time spots), and don’t even get me started on all the potentially nasty aftermaths of lovemaking…Why do you think this is? Are the remnants of nice things often icky because we allow ourselves to live in the moment and rarely think to clean up? Do sad occasions often have pleasing aftermaths because we’re trying to mask our sorrow with floral arrangements and sanitation?
I often ponder the things we leave behind in the broad sense because I think what we hope to be remembered by says a lot about us – the way some of us rely on children to carry our legacy and some hope for our art or work to outlive us when we die – but the more fleeting wake we leave from day to day could be just as telling. The lengths we go to in order to cover up our aftermaths could also speak volumes…What do you say – do you think more about your short-term or long-term impacts on our world? Do you think about this from a standpoint of personal accomplishment, or perhaps from an environmental standpoint? If you’re currently creating fictional characters, how do you think they view the various leftovers of their lives?