Friday, July 07, 2006

The Solipsistic Hock

Scientific Fact: your brain is powerful and expansive enough to remember every single person you’ve encountered in your entire life. That is, all the faces that have crossed your field of vision are automatically processed and filed away, even if you can’t consciously recall them.

Actually, that’s not so much a fact as it is a statement my second grade teacher told me when I was seven, totally blowing my mind in the process. And once the initial wow-that’s-awesomeness wore off, I casually believed it for at least the next ten years or so.

I mention this because the other day, I passed by someone who I immediately realized I would never ever forget.

It was in midtown Manhattan on a bright spring day, though for some reason the streets were noticeably empty and quiet. I had just rounded a corner when I heard a loud, strange, disgustingly grating sound to my left. It continued as I passed, growing louder and louder. And when I turned my head to see what the hell was going on, I saw it: a man sitting inside a news kiosk, just hocking up what must’ve been the largest, most debilitating loogey in the history of the planet. And as sure as I kept on walking, he kept on hocking—for a good three or four seconds—until I had made it far enough down the street where I could no longer hear him.

And it suddenly occurred to me: that one newsman’s existence in my life—in my personal experience while on this world—was entirely spent hocking up a loogey. In other words, if a brain does in fact remember every person it sees, then there’s not one single moment in my memory file for that newsman that does not involve hocking. And, for whatever reason, that struck me as cosmically awesome, if not hilarious.

But what was even stranger about the whole experience: that hocking newsman made me suddenly remember a whole slew of similar encounters I’d seemingly forgot. Take the yawning lady of Seattle. The EL dudes and I were eating outside at some café when a loud yawn sound suddenly passed by our table, and there she was: mouth opened impossibly wide, eyes scrunched and teeth bared, like she was silently screaming for a good five seconds. And then she was gone. Geoff apparently saw her too, because we both immediately started laughing, and made fun of her for the next five minutes.

I’ve taken to calling theses people Hocks. They’re the Hockers, Sneezers, Coughers, Yawners, Nose Pickers, and Ball Scratchers—all of whom enter your world for less than a moment, do their deed, and disappear forever (but stay with you for the rest of your life).

Perhaps my second grade teacher knew what she was talking about.

5 comments:

Jordi said...

Does this include all the Flashers? I've unfortunately seen my fair share and they have stuck with me for years...

Sometimes I can still hear the lambs screaming.

Monica said...

or masturbators...oh man, that's scarred me life.

Monica said...

...that's scarred me FOR life...
(or you can read my last post in a pirate voice, then it seems more logical.)

Ted said...

All of this coming from a man with the entire American Justice System in his head.

Luckily you (and the American People) can rest easy, knowing that Geoff is there to protect it/you.

NO BEANS!

mary said...

i've reduced a girl i went to elementary school down to one moment when her nose dripped a thick line of snot that reached the sandwich in her lap before snarfing it back up into her nose. i don't even remember her name at this point, because the snot incident was clearly more memorable than her name...