My second trip to SD after moving to Chicago completed recently. And while the last one resonated with long walks alone on lovingly remembered streets, this one ended up being about the amazing people I know there. It has been several years since I graduated from UCSD and SD is not the place which most people think of as their career base. Yet, and yet, I found myself entirely short of time when it came to spending it with those whom I'd have liked to. I had the feeling, however, that this was the last time when the tremendous variety that moves me was to be found preserved there. People have plans and many will disperse before I have the chance of going back again. Which is perfectly fine in the cold and reserved sort of way that life works. However, in the emotional and nostalgic light through which I gaze that Sun drenched city, the place would lose a certain magnetism and the people, perhaps, would too. We are primarily contextual, our essences tied faithfully to the settings of certain memories. We are not remembered so much as being endowed with this or that quality but as being lively contributors to some strong remembrances which were made memorable through equal contributions from others and from the settings in which their memories are placed. Once removed to alien surroundings we run the risk of becoming pale shadows of our past. It is, therefore, always with a deep sense of trepidation that I meet someone whom I have very fond memories of in surroundings which have nothing to do with those in which those memories were formed. In those moments, since what I am really trying to do is to figure out how much of the old person still remains, I feel deeply conflicted between the desire to find permanence and the rational thought process of allowing and accepting its absence. Perhaps this hankering of mine for reexperiencing some memory of the past is the reason why I have found myself being utterly disappointed by the medium of photography as well. While what I have in my mind is live and mutating and full of beautiful visions, what a photograph provides is merely a pathetic approximation to these feelings. I find its dead, soulless, sledgehammer approach to memory insulting to what is otherwise intriguing, nuanced, and multicolored. As an extension, I find those who are obsessed with capturing life within the borders of a 4 by 6 or, even less romantically, in the cemetery of a zillion electrons, amusing at best. While they are utterly absorbed with their ridiculous cameras and ridiculous lcd screens, the feathered seraph that is life unfurls its beautiful wings and soars against the patterned clouds.
I have very few photos of SD but it is alive in my mind in a way that a place can never come to life in a photo. There are absolute characters of life I know there but their brilliance owes something to my own imagination as well. In my mind, in the heady drifts of my mnemosyne, I have filled in empty spaces with psychedelic colors and silences with strange reverberations. I have bent the elastic essence of reality, slightly here and a little there; in my mind SD lives on in vivid colors.