Geographical Triggers

It’s the reindeers.

We had three of them in our front yard in Canada. I’d never seen them before living in North America, and I thought they were hysterical. Is it fair to say that the majority of the population does lights in North America over the Holiday season? Everyone on our street did. It didn’t matter which religion or nationality – there were lights.

When I think of the reindeers, I think of driving home from work and it being dark because it was winter. I think of light snow, and gloves squeaking as they gripped onto the steering wheel. The click of a seatbelt as it stretched over a heavy winter coat. The feeling of being cocooned inside the car. I think of small children waiting. I can see G, standing out in the cold, getting the reindeers connected, the power cord for the Christmas lights running to the outside socket along the side of the house.

A catalogue arrived in my blazing hot, metal mailbox in Australia this week. And there they were, the reindeers. And in a second I was gone. I was standing with G in a warehouse store, with little travellers walking the isles in snow boots and puffer jackets helping out with the decision. It had to be the reindeers. We watched them from our front window, snow sprinkling gently over them as they charmed the little travellers.

Geographical triggers.

The Pottery Barn plastic bag that I keep under the sink and can never bring myself to use as a garbage bag.

“No, no, keep that” I say without explanation every time someone pulls it out to use it.

“Why are we keeping this? It’s a plastic bag” even the children don’t understand.

In a second that bag can transport me straight back to Houston. I know exactly where I’d park the car. I’d grab a coffee at the bookstore, the fourth little traveller and I would hover around the children’s section. Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, Gap, Anthropologie, and then the grocery shopping. America, you make shopping so much fun, no-one shops like you do.

Keeping that plastic bag under the sink, is my last little slither of still being there. We have mementos, artwork and trinkets – but the plastic bag came packed with everything else that was under the sink in that house. The Whole Foods carry bags, the pack of cleaning wipes from SuperTarget (think Target and multiply by 4).

It says permanent, weekly, ordinary and every day. It says, this was your life once, this was your ordinary, you don’t have to forget it and move on.

We’ll just stay right here, and remind you that it wasn’t all a dream.

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