Monday, May 07, 2012

The Live Unicorn

Last week I schlepped to NYC for one of my roster artists' events.  As I was leaving Penn Station I chose to go up a different set of escalators and found myself standing in the lobby of Madison Square Garden.  I looked around and felt very small.  It's a huge lobby with tall glass windows but feels surprisingly 70s.  But before I could process anything more I had a vision.  I have been here before.  I was small.  I was about maybe 1984/85?  I was here in the lobby with my parents and there were vendors selling stuffed unicorns and batons and day glo sticks.  The circus?  Disney on Ice?  I don't know.  But I saw it immediately and clearly.

I whipped out my phone and quickly posted to FB about my very surreal moment.  Within minutes my artist colleague Drew clarified everything:  The year was 1985.  Ringling Bro. promoted the "real live unicorn" as its draw. 

Wow.  I had totally forgotten.  But not forgotten is my white felt/fleece unicorn with its blue horn that I got that day.  I used to perch it over the headboard of my bed and there it stayed for YEARS.  Batons and day glo sticks were the rage then. I love these little moments where I revisit a past experience, especially with such intensity and clarity.  And when I remember the sights, smells and little toys of yesteryear.

Even stranger was later that evening I spoke to another women at the event, talked about how my memory works, how I don't just "remember" something but rather, see it.  How instant it is.  She, like Drew, remembered the marketing ploy of Ringling that year and nailed it as well.  Later I'd tell Dad and say, What on earth is the significance of this unicorn on May 2?

Was it a real unicorn?  I have no idea.  I'm sure then I thought it was.  Now, I'm guessing it was either a horse with a prosthetic or a goat with a horn that Ringling exploited. 

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