I spent most of the weekend in a nearby town called Rome (that’s Rome, Georgia … not Rome, Italy) because my grandmother passed away in a hospital on Saturday afternoon. I’m sad that she’s gone, but I don’t feel comfortable about grieving right here on my computer screen. I do want to mention one strange thing I noticed this weekend, though.

Over the past couple of days, I whiled away many hours in my cousin’s basement, sitting with him and his wife on a worn-out sofa in front of an old gas heater. We told stories and remembered our grandmother while we watched the orange and blue flames dance. My cousin lives in a house that his father built 28 years ago. I remember playing in the house when all the paint was still fresh and leftover pieces of lumber and sheetrock were scattered on the porch. That was a long, long time ago — back when Ronald Reagan was president and “Alf” came on NBC every Monday night.

When I was young (and the HOUSE was young) that basement seemed so much bigger. It was the size of a stadium, I thought. It was so vast. Today, the basement still has the same old concrete walls and the same old wooden staircase in the middle, leading into a passageway lined with pink insulation up above. But it seems so SMALL compared to the way I remember it.

I’ve noticed this same phenomenon in other places too. The cafeteria at Johnson Elementary School, for example, was enormous when I was 10. When I went back to that same cafeteria as a teenager (when my little sister’s class was having a fall festival there) I realized how tiny it really was.

Reality is not what you think it is. Your persception of the world is skewed in ways you don’t even realize. This is something I think about a lot.

I will write more about this tomorrow. I have to go to the store now and find some clothes to wear to the funeral.