Immortality isn't guaranteed...but tattoos are

    I have terrible self-control, almost no follow-through, and a small catalogue of procrastination habits. Marry these fantastic qualities with a pursuit of an autonomous profession and you have something resembling a reptile that hasn’t quite evolved legs, but really wants to get out of the water onto land. I flounder 80% of my waking life. Philosophers back to Plato and Aristotle called this paradoxical failure of the will - Akrasia.  Akrasia and I have been intimately seeing one another for the good part of the last 6 years. Recently, as I have grown past my rambunctious 23 years, my experimental 24, I have reached 25, where I should generally have the semblance of my shit together. Along this path I was given many opportunities to indulge in real careers that my technical education is suited for, yet some strange “I” always pulled the handbrake before accelerating down that slippery hill. I’ve never made a conscious decision to pursue “art”, and honestly, I think that term is too lofty for my britches, yet through the daily tumults, Pasha has embraced a fate that will likely lead to unnoticed oblivion. Music! Ha! This is my formal decree; I belong to IT now.    

    Going back to procrastination and my ever advancing age, I decided to get a little commitment device. The term commitment device is from game theory and applies to strategic situations. It refers to a way of changing one’s own incentives to make an otherwise empty threat or promise credible. Odysseus tying himself to a boat to hear the sirens is a classic example of a commitment device. I fashioned my adaptation around a quote and a previous affinity; a tattoo. 

He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times. - Friedrich Schiller

   With one life we are given only one chance to do our best, in whatever field we may find ourselves. I guess I’ve had a hard-on for immortality since reading Kundera’s, you guessed it, “Immortality” and ever since fantasized about an intellectual legacy. Perhaps that’s the “I” that has kept me in the quest of finding an outlet for my quirks and habits. But the defeat of mortality would assume noteworthy work left behind in my jet-stream, and I can’t say whether or not this will actually ever happen. That’s the risk, I guess. Well, the real risk will be if I will make enough life tokens from my work to buy my future wife anniversary presents and feed for my husky.     

    Schiller may have been trying to provide simple consolation with his words. Alas, he only said, “Do your best!”. Well, leave it to me to mince his words and etch, “BECOME IMMORTAL YOU SAVAGE!!!” on my arm. (It actually says “live for all times”) Now, when I think it’s ok to sleep in, I’ll have a present reminder that that’s not my best. When I decide to stay out late when I have to record in the morning, I will be told that that’s not my best. Likely, the metric of BEST will never be understood, but the certainty of death will always loom. Cut the morbid with a lime…I only say this to suppress my own ego. To conclude, I only hope that Akrasia doesn’t plead for alimony and that something comes of this circus…I’m missing out on legit game-time by foregoing Pokemon Go sessions. 

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I think I'll write again

    I’ve been sitting in front of this blank screen for about an hour. I’m starting to write again. No artistry here. I’ve even started off my last song with “I’m not a writer”, so just typing words. Yes. I’ve started to type words again. Maybe i’m out of touch, or maybe i’m trying to force it, or maybe i’ve just forgotten how, but it’s “sure as shit” (as my father says) hard. There is no deadline, no looming requirement, but it happens every so often that you have an urge within you that needs be satiated. Maybe it’s a benevolent goddess that’s trying to get out to see the first rays of spring? Well here I am, spinning contrived words, then deleting, then blowing the dandelions again in hopes that some combination of these type clicks will let her free. 

    It’s balance that we seek, no? On the Hegelian tight-rope we walk with the desire to get to the other side while not losing our wits, while remaining rational human beings. Why does this balance become so elusive then? Even while pursuing one’s dreams (whatever that may mean) we become frustrated, distraught, and ultimately disenchanted with whole enterprise. I am being highly idealistic in my complaint, but I think we can diverge from a fate of the ouroboros and not eat our own tails. 

    There are a few people in my life that I consider real friends. For some reason or another, we have imprinted upon each-other an armored bond that continues to endure the trials of time. I say this only because I almost never see the fuckers, but if reason were to rise, they would fly out in a moment’s notice. (One of you is Brazilian, one of you is German, and with one of you I ate mushrooms and walked around the Metropolitan Museum of Art…You know who you are) Though it’s not because we can’t find the time for one another, it’s strictly because we have all developed hyper-accelerated rhythms of life which is simply a by-product of having a freedom to pursue bigger picture goals. Why wouldn’t we strive for our higher “I’s”. We, you and I, are gifted an opportunity to succeed at any whim of a frivolity with the only caveat being aburden of unbridled competition. “You can have this delicious truffle, but first fight this invisible gorilla that may or may not materialize…” Can we consciously refuse and oppose such a proposition? It’s absurd..but the truffle is Belgian, and I can speak on behalf of the licensing agents of Godiva chocolates that Belgian truffles are the bee’s. Surely we say yes to the dream and forego anything that may impede it’s realization. Est-il vrai?

    I live in a country that is dominated by an electronic revolution where denizens walk in urban spaces in tender continuous interaction with pictures, tweets, and information dollops that insulate us and create virtual pseudo-realities that flow so seamlessly that one can forget why It once rained cats and dogs and that the speakers chirping in the park are an IMITATION of living creatures. This is a country of limitless growth and high-tech capitalism that naturally implies ever-increasing productive and ceaseless intensification of work. You can have it all and have it all again, and if you want more, have more on the side…but only if you spin those wheels! 

    I’ve spun and spun, and you can read my previous blog post about what happened when the wheels found themselves facing opposite directions. In short, I found crackers in my mattress.

The price I paid for this free-for-all battle to achieve a nebulous goal of “success” was the desertification of daily life and the virtualization of emotional life that converged on a condition of utter loneliness.

My only interactions became those who with whom I conducted my business. Isn’t that glum…

    The reason I am writing again is to regain a sense of a balance that will ward off any anthropological mutations to throw towels in places they shouldn’t be. The thing is, I have been pursuing a goal so completely, so fervently, that it has left me isolated and with a frequent sense of meaninglessness. I guess I’m eating the damn truffle while being wailed by the gorilla. If there is anything I learned, it’s that we’re social creatures and need the occasional IPA at the local watering hole with a few of our buds. So go and do that…Your screenplay, short story, book, song, painting, app, work assignment, etc. can all WAIT. You’re more important than the totality of it all. 

PS - If you have any questions, or topics you want me to touch upon, feel free to drop a line in the comments! 

Consistency, and a few words about Glass Hamlet

Hemingway wrote a short story in Chicago called ‘The Current’ in 1921 just before his twenty-second birthday. It is narrated by Stuyvesant Byng, and in the story he proposes to Dorothy Hadley. She laughs ‘tinklingly, like the chiming of one of those Chinese wind bells’, and tells Stuyvesant 

‘You’re inconsistent… You play a good game of polo. But you would never stick to it. One year you were runner-up at the National Open. The next year you didn’t enter. You play lots better than at least two internationalists that I know… But you’re not a sticker Stuy’
She goes on: ‘Pick something out and make an absolute, unqualified success of it… And then you can come and ask me again.’ He answers, ‘By Gad…I’ll do it.’ soon becoming a professional boxer by the name of "Slam Byng, the Hoboken Horror". 

Now, although Hemingway’s early attempts at wielding the pen were juvenile and he didn’t have the courage to be daringly specific with his metaphors, there is a simple truth that resonates within the text; one must be consistent. No matter what you do, stick with it until the end. The response to a marriage proposal hinged on this man’s firmness of purpose! 

This is a recurring memento in my life and just when I start stepping off my path to notice how the dew is collecting on the bark of the nearest tree, I am reminded to keep trudging forward. I assume the paradoxically invigorating riddle to solve is what the final room will look like at the end of this labyrinth. Where is this narrow path taking me and why is the brush gradually increasing as I move ahead? 

Woe is me, right? I really can’t stop crying about how far removed I am from having any purpose and this is ultimately the reason for a profound turmoil that makes me understand ever more why people throw in the towel and jump off bridges. 

Nevertheless I can spot patterns and I see that I have always been literarily inclined, writing a book and all, yada-yada, but i’ve also always written music (since I was 10 if I recall correctly)…Now I have been presented, by a series of events and I dare to say "mystical signs" (!), to start and complete a project that is feasible. I speak of Glass Hamlet. Even though it is nebulous in it’s form, it still has a beginning and an end. A song starts and then it trails off into silence. There will be 10+ songs. I have all the recording equipment to make this happen. For the first time in a very long time I feel passionate about something, I feel animated to live, and that sublime moment when one cannot discern whether it is himself or a higher-being that is creating is indomitable and persistent once again. This completeness in feeling can only be attributed to the fact that the fate of this project is absolutely in my control. It’s a supreme test in resilience, because usually I get bored with things and drop them before they become anything more than a passing hobby. 

To achieve the release of this album (or mixtape, still don’t quite know the difference), I have actively put a lot of things on hold. Even acting class has taken a back-seat. This is my one priority now and I couldn’t tell you why, yet something deep inside is tugging me by my sleeve and won’t let up. Do you think you will become a recording artist? Maybe. Sounds nice. Do you think you're gonna be the new white rapper, the new Eminem? That’s absurd. And only If you understood Russian and were exposed to the spoken-art that’s being produced out there would you understand my motives. 

Neil Gaiman addressed the University of the Arts class of 2012 by saying - 

Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal. And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.

Recording music isn’t my mountain, but playing with words most certainly is. Ingesting life and expressing it through the intricate weave of verse has always been something that rested well with my heart. 

It’s hard to accurately predict how long this will take because I have never participated in such an undertaking. Recording is a sonofabitch that leaves me utterly exhausted. Take after take and I haven’t even gotten to the mastering and producing side of things which I am also attempting to learn from scratch. Maybe the end of December? 

Regardless of it all, I love the process. A 3 track "EP" has turned into a 10+ track LP with collaborations with other vocal artists. And like Dorothy Hadley said, "pick something and make an unqualified success of it". For now, this is what I am picking, and who knows, maybe Glass Hamlet will one day get in the ring with the Hoboken Horror! 

EP Preview; "Tomorrow's Etude"

I have been conjuring up a musical project for the past month and would like share a track that I am really excited about. 

Spoken word poetry has been ingrained into my mode of expression ever since I was a child. First it was classical Russian poetry, then a heavy dose of 2000's American rap music, then underground Russian all through college, and most recently I have been heavily influence by modernist American/British poets and specifically how adroitly they spout free verse, much like the loose yet premeditated nature of a Pollock painting. 

I decided to give my poetry form and set my words upon the tracks of fantastically produced beats made by some Russian beatmakers and producers. 

This is the first track of a multi-track EP that I will be releasing later this month. Mind that this is the most experimental of the bunch. If you can roll with this, you will love what is to come. 

I introduce to you, Glass Hamlet's "Tomorrow's Etude". 

Guest Post: Today, I am 3 years sober.

Today, I am 3 years sober.

It took me 5 attempts to sober up, almost everyone who asks me about it knows it was during Hurricane Sandy when it finally stuck. I’m always curious why people don’t ask about the first attempt. 

I was 19 years old.

It was the last real conversation I ever had with my biological dad, who I have not spoken to in almost 10 years. I have no intention of ever speaking to him again.

My dad was an alcoholic. I asked him to quit drinking for 2 weeks "just to see if he could do it," and I told him I would be sober with him. I really would have done it with him too. When I asked him, I think I was just too scared to say “I have a problem. I don’t want to do this alone. Please. Help me.” Also, I had just put bread in our computer printer, it was a scary time.

And he looked me square in the eyes and said "No. I will never quit drinking." 

I don’t know. Maybe it was just his tone of voice or the way he said it. It wasn’t as if he was saying he couldn’t do it, it was more that he genuinely didn’t want to.

Retrospectively, I should have talked to my mom and sisters. Because I was just looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, and it turned out to be an oncoming train.

Fast forward. College is over. Somehow I survived, which is still an absolute mystery to me. I did everything from light fireworks off inside my apartment to boxing against former professional fighter, Victor Davis. I actually met my Step-Dad with 2 black eyes, a broken nose and concussion after losing that fight. My only regret is elaborately planning to steal a giraffe, but never actually following through. Either way, I graduated with a near perfect thesis in hand, did some really bad things, and hated everything. Everyone used to give me a hard time actually because I started almost every sentence with "I hate."

"Oh what a surprise, Chad hates something." 

"Let me guess, you hate that?" 

"Why bother? Chad's just going to hate it anyway."

I could be talking about anything and I wouldn't find any joy. Vermont, chimney sweeps, strange foreign currencies, there was nothing that I wouldn't find the negative in. I always wanted more or for everything to be a certain way, which it never was. For some misguided reason in those moments, I justified my convictions and convinced myself I was right and everyone else was wrong.

Eventually I found myself feeling very alone because everything in my life didn't meet the grandiose scale I had imagined. Kind of like the Lorax, except he lived in a rent controlled forest and had the ability to grow an infamous mustache. 

Then a few years later, something horrible happened.

It was the middle of winter and I was the only one home. It must have been 1 am, and the snow just wouldn't let up. While shoveling my driveway with a flashlight, I got a call that a good friend had just been murdered. I don't even remember the conversation. Just hanging up and standing there in silence. I could actually hear the snow falling around me and thinking…it could’ve just as easily been me. I had been in that house a million times, and it could’ve just as easily been me. He didn’t need to die, and I still miss him. He was a good kid and a good friend.

You can't just do things and say things and expect nothing to happen. Otherwise, what's the point? What's it all mean? Unless you’re a magician – the only census group that really can do and say anything.

I was deep in the process of ruining the rest of my life without even realizing it. I was filled with hatred, and with it, I had single-handedly driven almost everyone I cared about away from me. I don't think I would be dead or in jail if I was still drinking today; I would just be alone. Not even sad; just living in denial, alone. People probably would come and go like a revolving door, and I would be okay with it. Or worse, I’d be surrounded by people who make me feel alone. And I would probably mistaken tolerance for my words and actions as acceptance. 

And even then, it took me another year to do it. November 1st, 2012. Hurricane Sandy. I had enough. I told my family I was going to quit drinking. And when I say I’m going to do something, I do it. That was all I needed. With that being said, I’m going to make my first feature film in 2016. I’m also going to have John Stamos tuck me in at night and tell me stories of the old days. It’ll be hilarious.

Fast forward. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her. 

“I’m a little over a year sober at this point, listening to Neon Cathedral on repeat. She’s Helen of Troy and here I am, wearing a suit that’s 2 sizes too big. She makes me want to be better. I just want to make her smile every day. It’s like seeing the world in color for the first time. She was genuinely nice to me, even though I barely could hold eye contact. It’s not that I’m afraid to talk to her, it's just she deserves better than some former junkie who is rebuilding his life from scratch. But either way, I hope someday I have the opportunity to make her laugh, even if it’s just one time.”

(I wrote this paragraph in 2014, the same night that we met, after a 10 minute conversation.)

Fast forward another year. My suits are bespoke, I’m successful with my career, I don't hate, I still don't lie, I still do stupid things from time to time but nothing that will land me cuffs, and most importantly, I am the best version of myself that I can be and still working on it each day. 

Then somehow, I got the girl and I made her laugh every day that I could. We both really wanted it to go the distance, more than anything. Even despite the fact I can’t grow a beard, and I’ve been trying for 28 years. Somewhere along the line, we both got hurt. Somehow it didn’t work out. And that really sucks. Because I really gave it my everything.

This past April, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that was affecting my hormones. Until recently, I kept it pretty quiet for the most part. I thought just because this tumor was benign it wouldn’t affect me and I didn’t need to keep a close eye on it. I was wrong. September and October, I wasn’t acting normal. My personality began to tilt. As time went on I could barely function as a human, even losing my ability to speak at one point. I think if there is ever a reason to be completely docile and have no rational reaction processing ability, brain tumor is a valid reason. Eventually, I landed myself in the hospital. I’m happy to say that just last week, I finished chemo injections and I finally feel like I’m back to normal. I feel like me again. A total weirdo.

It’s funny to think how it really didn't work out between me and this girl. How all I want to do is have a slow dance with her on my roof to celebrate this 3 year milestone in my life and the fact I’m human again. And I can't. And I really wish I wanted anything else in the world right now, like to rent a sheep or to have a spelling bee with truckers over a ham radio. I will probably still do those things but livestock and early 19th century technologies aren’t a priority to me. Living in New York you see beautiful women everywhere, but she is actually the only girl that changed me for the better the moment she entered my life. I never told anyone. Not even her.

Today.

I really try at everything I do now. I really do. Everything I do in my life, I give my everything. Not just most of the time, I’m talking all the time. More than you could ever imagine. And not because I crave validation from everyone, or need people to love me as it’s often misinterpreted. I put effort into everything simply because I never did before. And my old life really was the opposite of great.

Nevertheless. If you think you want to change something, no matter what it is, then summon all of the courage in the world, swallow your pride, and do something about it. It's never too late to make things right. It'll be the scariest thing in the world, but if you can face that fear then you can handle anything. If you've actually taken the time to read all of this, thank you. I hope you would be kind enough to share it. Because somewhere out there is a scared 19 year old who is asking the wrong person for help, who may not see he is capable of doing truly amazing things, too frightened to say he doesn’t want to do it alone, and just really needs to hear that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train.

@ChadwickPrima

My Copenhagen

This territory has been a wonderful nesting ground. I believe I have always dreamed to live in such a picturesque place to tend to my own intellectual purposes, and lo such a place has materialized. I ride my bike through small streets, cobble-stoned courtyards, and past multicolored lopsided colonial buildings to a grand library perched on one of the canals near the main port of the city. There is something dear to this Danish sense of cleanliness and minimalism and reverence to the aged beauty of the capital.

I leave tomorrow, as if off into immeasurable seas whose horizon I cannot envision. I worry and carry the yet to be rectified paltry qualms of enough kroners in the pocket, but I trust Copenhagen to be a definitive step on my path; a step towards something still to be understood. As with Russia, and how I held her to be my beautiful secret and my austere, silent strength, I now carry this city and the me I have found in it further.

Liedewij can only be mentioned with words that have been consecrated by the stars themselves. Speech will never do her love and compassion justice. I haven’t done anything to deserve such boundless hospitality and to her I will be forever in debt, though, it is certain, she does not expect a morsel in return. Perhaps my motivation for tomorrow lies in my desire to gift her the world?

These days have passed with a blink. And just as my eyelids close to reopen, I cry for this place I called home for the last month.
— 8/3/15

I'm hopefully lost.

I can only classify this moment as one of supreme uncertainty. Brushing the ground of many who have left their indelible signatures scribbled on stones and steel and paper reprinted for the thousandth time, I feel a kinship of hope of possibility, one that will either inter my corporeal existence or lift it to immortality. With such contrast I have been losing my mind every morning, regaining it around mid-afternoon, and manically scrambling in the evenings to fight the urge of seductive nightcaps to normalize it all. I don’t believe there is a cure for this self-prescribed madness, less it be an indentured state to corporate state to a lifeless state. But then is this life? Is this constant loss with reality, then back, then astral excursions to summersaults of carelessness what life needs to be?

To my sponsors - my sincerest apologies that I keep on promising the world with these dreams and have nothing to show for it. You hold me warmly, wipe my tears, and encourage me to show up the next day, and the next. Maybe you see something that I do not, or maybe we see the same horizon. I will paint it for you; I promise again.


It aches.
It’s a dull ache as it takes
the form of nothing in particular
nudging itself forth through
the spaces between a ribcage
that’s holding in a monster
or a cure
but the key is dreamless sobriety
and in the palm is
dreamwater that soothes burns
but will never mobilize fingers to find the lock
that rests on the crumbling bastions
of determined confusion.
It aches and it calls again.
It aches and points to the universe of itself.
It aches
and asks
then calls
then basks
in its own incomprehensible genius,
lascivious and proud and forgetful
that it’s a part of a whole.

This silent rage can blind a man.
This silent rage can build a Rome.
This silent rage knows all but doesn’t understand its form.
It aches until
— yours dearly

Know thyself; a memento mori

As my days inch forward and time spins in a centripetal manner, distance disassociates me from previous aspirations and leaves me floating in a vacuum of unguided will. Structure has completely broken down for me and the only asylum I have found is that in the hands of a most formidable colossus of a library, from which I run every day to the delicate antithesis of inspiring female hands. I am living in a strange reality that is sculpting me blindfolded with diamond chisels. 

Every hour is a reevaluation of the previous and confidence grows as trust in a mystical higher purpose grows. Or is it all just a psychosis of a mind searching for meaning?

Man’s search for meaning may arouse inner tension rather than inner equilibrium. However, precisely such tension is an indispensable prerequisite of mental health. There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that so effectively helps one to survive even the worse conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life.
— Viktor Frankl

Inner tension wound taught....but there is comfort, or so enough for me, with these simple words. 

Last night conversation danced gently around Denmark's most esteemed thinker, Kierkegaard. Sitting with these international philosophy majors, I felt almost stagnant in comparison to their self-development. One was going on to pursue her masters while the other had notes of her thesis on the aforementioned Danish thinker scattered all over a nearby desk. I took pleasure in keeping up, but thoughts couldn't help but to focus on my own future, romanticizing traveling to Germany for intense study of Goethe's works, or perhaps even St. Petersburg to immerse myself in my native culture. Such disquiet these preoccupations can cause!

This morning I walked for the umpteenth time past Kierkegaard's statue in the library's courtyard. I decided to read a few passages of his journals to get a feel for this literary great. I was delighted to find a key quote of his existentialist views, and one that would relieve me profoundly. 

 

What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die.

One must first learn to know himself before knowing anything else. Not until a man has inwardly understood himself and then sees the course he is to take does his life gain peace and meaning; only then is he free of that irksome, sinister traveling companion — that irony of life, which manifests itself in the sphere of knowledge and invites true knowing to begin with a not-knowing (Socrates) just as God created the world from nothing. But in the waters of morality it is especially at home to those who still have not entered the tradewinds of virtue. Here it tumbles a person about in a horrible way, for a time lets him feel happy and content in his resolve to go ahead along the right path, then hurls him into the abyss of despair. Often it lulls a man to sleep with the thought, “After all, things cannot be otherwise,” only to awaken him suddenly to a rigorous interrogation. Frequently it seems to let a veil of forgetfulness fall over the past, only to make every single trifle appear in a strong light again. When he struggles along the right path, rejoicing in having overcome temptation’s power, there may come at almost the same time, right on the heels of perfect victory, an apparently insignificant external circumstance which pushes him down, like Sisyphus, from the height of the crag. Often when a person has concentrated on something, a minor external circumstance arises which destroys everything. (As in the case of a man who, weary of life, is about to throw himself into the Thames and at the crucial moment is halted by the sting of a mosquito.) Frequently a person feels his very best when the illness is the worst, as in tuberculosis. In vain he tries to resist it but he has not sufficient strength, and it is no help to him that he has gone through the same thing many times; the kind of practice acquired in this way does not apply here.
— Søren Kierkegaard's Journals & Papers IA Gilleleie, 1 August 1835
My man Soren!

My man Soren!

Instead of hastily finding pre-made track on which I can walk, I found the resolve to continue on my own path that I am creating day by day. Yes, I have to deal with nebulous abysses of despair but I do believe that there is some greater purpose to my zig-zag route. 


The crucial thing is to find a truth that is a truth for me. 

The ancient Greek Aphorism -  " know thyself "    - says: "the proverb is applied to those whose boasts exceed what they are", and that "know thyself" is a warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitude.

The ancient Greek Aphorism -  "know thyself"

- says: "the proverb is applied to those whose boasts exceed what they are", and that "know thyself" is a warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitude.

Consideration for continuing education was a serious one, and one that would surely open up opportunities that I wouldn't have exposure to otherwise. But now, as I sit in one of the most beautiful libraries in the world with the tomes of many a literary titan under my hand, would it be naive to discredit the education I am currently receiving? I believe the best curriculum I can set for myself now is to not lose focus and continue absorbing all of my doubts and utilizing them most effectively as stimuli for creation. 

I yet have poems to scribble, screenplays to develop, books to write, and philosophical labyrinths to navigate. I believe it to be more suspect if I was confident of any outcomes. 

My Barometric Memory

 

Midday, I saw a person enjoying a lager in an outdoor cafe and I told my companion that there was something inherently "right" about that scene. This struck me as strange because I can almost guarantee myself frowning upon such an action in New York, where I would then ponder the person’s other alcoholic tendencies. Why the in world did I find it appropriate in the former circumstance? 

This got me thinking... 

I've always been keen on scents as memory triggers, some bringing me back decades to moments I thought were long discarded from mental storage; a perfume of a previous love from Barcelona, the scent of the first days of winter preceding a season of snowballs and ski-trips to Vermont, a deodorant that colored an entire summer of country getaways and early morning hikes through rural Russia. These are all very specific triggers that correspond to equally specific times and places. But just until recently, I have thought of scents as being the single strongest memory throwback with even visual cues resulting in weaker reminders of my past.

Exiting the plane in Copenhagen and getting hit with the cool sun and powerfully crisp breeze lent itself to a pleasure that penetrated my core. At first I thought it was just a relief of getting out of the 100°F weather of Milan and not immediately sweating through layers of clothing. But then a strange nostalgia started to settle. With every deep inhale, an unidentifiable calm was emerging from an unusual space in my mind and I couldn't understand why. The following mornings were leaving me even more clueless with an unplaced happiness, novel wonder, and a sense of contentment that usually did not accompany my usual caffeine buzz. 

Then, after mechanically putting on a live-stream of a Russian radio station I used to listen to at my summer house outside of Moscow, I had the first inkling of a possible cause. The air was now becoming more familiar, the color temperature of the sun reminded me of the apartment I grew up in, and the air had the rejuvenating bouquet I once had the joy of smelling in Quebec. The nostalgia was becoming more clear and as memories of a road-trip to Canada, family vacation to London, ungoverned exploration of St. Petersburg, my first film premiere in Amsterdam, and most of my childhood in Moscow started to saturate with color, I realized that all of these places are more or less on the same latitudinal coordinates (the geographic coordinates that specify the north- south position of a point on the Earth's surface). Maybe I was off, but my memories all pointed to the very similar environmental indicators. 

I decided to look into the geographical placement of these recollections. 

Copenhagen - 55°

Moscow - 55°

Amsterdam - 52°

London - 51°

St. Petersburg - 50°

Quebec - 48°

(New York - 40° for comparison)

I even went a step farther to check out the Air Quality Indexes of places that were evoked in my memory due to a similar smell of the air. 

Copenhagen - 26

Moscow (outskirts) - 19 

Quebec - 29

Nice and fresh! Also very close in metrics. (Moscow, London, and St. Petersburg were excluded due to obvious air pollution) 

New York - 62 (!!!)

Since the previous were lining up, perhaps UV indexes would also show similarities? 

Measured at 10:00 am, when nostalgia was most apparent — 

Copenhagen - 3.4

Moscow - 3.8

Amsterdam - 3.0

London - 3.7

St. Petersburg - 3.1

Quebec - 3.3

These are all medium level registries. 

For comparison

10:00 AM New York - 5.2 High

11:00 AM - New York - 7.4 Very High

The data points confirmed my nostalgic suppositions. I was even a bit startled to connect all of these strangely unrelated occurrences with a verifiable geographical explanation. 

What is most interesting to note about this observation is how remarkably sensitive we are as human beings. My mind went as far as to cue memories based off tropospheric pressure (atmospheric pressure in relation to altitude), air quality, and UV metrics; not to mention the countless factors I may have not taken into account i.e. lunar position, pollen count, indigenous flora categorized by aroma profiles etc. These invisible factors were carefully labeled with distinct emotional cues that evoked feelings which I could not at first understand. 

That beer I saw being consumed was contextually perfect because it evoked my own memories of enjoying lagers in similar environments, usually in a vacation scenario. It's strange in NYC for me because I don't day drink; I'm always working. 

Memory is an astoundingly complex device that I am only starting to understand. But here’s to having a nice cold one and remembering all the others we had the pleasure to enjoy!