My first memory of life passing me by was in my very early years, living life on the top bunk in the back bedroom of my parent’s trailer, straining my neck to look out of the window at the giant drive-in movie theater screen on the other side of the fence. We lived in a trailer park that bordered a drive-in and our trailer was perfectly situated where we could see the full screen. I was too young to know how drive-ins worked in regards to sound so I would open up that bedroom window and be as silent as I could to try and listen in to the movie that was playing.
I was fascinated with the view. In all honesty because the perspective allowed the fullness of the movie screen to be seen through my bedroom window it was actually quite difficult to see what was on the screen, since in reality, it had to have been quite a distance away in order to ‘fit’ in my view. But it was this idea of looking out my window at life going by that captured my attention. Who knew how foundational that would become for me over the years.
I recall that given the amount of road trips my family would take – either because we were moving or my parents were driving back to some place to meet with the friends that they had met in the past year to try and salvage that relationship before distance eroded it or to visit family to help update their address books with a new entry in their own version of, “Where in the World is Waldo” series – that I had developed an imaginary friend. This imaginary friend, however, was a car. It was a pretty cool car, as if that mattered in the whole justification of the thing. It would drive alongside us in the ditch, maneuvering magnificently over the various terrain obstacles that would come its way naturally when one follows along the highway through the ditch at the side.
I would sit behind my mother while my father drove and my face would be looking out of my window, watching my beloved ‘best friend’ cruise along, seemingly content that we were on the road again. That friend kept me company for years of my life as we would endlessly cruise up and down the province’s highways in search of affirmation from loved ones that our live’s decisions were not meaningless and that we were actually going somewhere and accomplishing something.
What happened though was my appreciation for windows grew. Given that earliest memory of a drive-in theater filling my bedroom window with different sights every night and then mixing in the constant family driving all over the province I developed the norm of watching the world go by via my window. Over the years, my bedroom window view would change constantly, every year generally speaking, with the in-between times filled with back seat viewing with only my best friend – an imaginary car – keeping me company.
No wonder I now enjoy sitting in my living room, looking out my large picture window, staring at my neighborhood street filled with people busy living their lives. I can just sit there and stare and stare and stare and when my children challenge what I am doing I have often simply responded that I am enjoying my big screen tv. It all makes sense now. I have been conditioned to find entertainment and fulfillment from looking out a window from the earliest memories that I have. My imaginary friend is long gone but like the lyrics to the theme song for the tv show “The Littlest Hobo” goes:
There’s a voice that keeps on calling me
Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be.
Every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again
Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.