Sometimes, when I’m at the office I take to writing down different thoughts and questions and things to keep myself sane. I like (love is an overstatement,maybe) writing drafts and occasionally, uploading them. But there are drafts that I forget about or which seem irrelevant to me once I’m away from the office and the fluorescent lights and the humming of the air-con. Regardless, I send them to myself anyway.
Here are some of my favorite ones from the past few months.
Memory Is A Telephone
(written the day after I met up with my childhood friend, Tim)
When I think of memory, I think of those DIY telephones that we used to make as kids, with a thread running through two paper cups. It’s a conversation, something that exists because it is being held between two objects: something that is not entirely solid, not entirely taught.
I grew up in a very small school—a school so exclusive that until now, the experience and memory of growing up with the same twenty people year in, year out is a memory place that only a few people can inhabit: even in retrospect, it remains exclusive to those people who sat in that classroom. Or even less, I’ve learned. The thing about telephones is that you can hang up. You can put the receiver into the cradle and walk away from the conversation. I’ve found that a lot of the people I know have put that time to rest.
With the exception of my friend Peluchi (who is oddly enough the farthest away from me geographically), I find that most of those people have left their end of the makeshift landline in the soccer field, gathering dust with our old rubber shoes. Between the blue short shorts and the learning to smoke and kiss and figuring out the true purpose of cars, I feel like a lot of people have forgotten that tiny school: shoebox.
I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to find people who remember. Instead, I’ve found strangers: this guy who used to write me love letters talked to me once about finding God and I could tell that I wasn’t there, for him. I was not someone who’d known him when he was awkward and falling down a hill but just someone—a random stranger—to evangelize. There was no shared street or string. Another time, I was sitting in a car with one of my bestfriends–someone who turns out, I didn’t know very well; she was just trying to get high: that was a conversation about forgetting.
It does not help that I only see Peluch every few years or so but it is nice that we keep in touch. It’s one of the things I treasure the most.
So for a long time, I’ve felt like these memories had been severed by garden shears at the string—reduced to monologue. Last night, I hung out with my friend TIm, who I hadn’t seen for 13 years and it was both comforting and disturbing to hear someone else repeating memories to me. We talked about balloon fights and landline conversations, pissing in cracks in the ground and calling them creeks. I’d almost forgotten that those things had happened.
(Written back in March, when I had to write a class on Biology and History)
I am in the business of putting fonts on—Perpetua for serious, Calibri for show. Let me gift wrap the gist: you don’t know what I know. I type myself into another sentence this is this and that is that like a seagull to the little Mermaid (guessing at the ends of a telescope). Times New Roman for the money, Century Gothic for the road. Let me fasten the bow onto the point: I know, I know, I know. I scribble myself into a string of syllables Van-Lee-uwen-ho-ek (just checking). Book Antiqua when I’m lazy, Wingdings when you lean over. This is the: how could you know?
(Written back in May, on some random afternoon after I massacred a pack of Oreos)
It’s four in the afternoon. And it’s Friday. And to my left there are Oreos sitting in an emptied-out Selecta doubledutch plastic tin (plastic?), behind that there are two pink jugs that I forget to take home (or maybe intentionally leave here because I just can’t be bothered)—one of them is empty, the other one is filled with rotting bits of coffee from those days before my sister bought me a coffee tumbler and my coffee would keep getting cold in the morning so I’d just throw some of it out because I couldn’t stand how it tasted. To my left is my officemate, who is wearing white: I can see him from the corner of my eye, lateral to the frames of my glasses. To my right, which is somehow more distant to me than my left is my lunchbox and my copy of J.Strange & Mr. N. And the mouse. And under that, as a makeshift mouse pad is my approved leave form—I’m on leave Monday because I suppose it’s about time I got my license. That’s three long days from now—from here anyway, perched on top of the curve it seems long but I know (I think) that once I get out of here and slide down that spiral, it’s going to be Monday and then Tuesday and then I’ll be here again, at 4:13 in the afternoon on a Friday, itching to go and cuddle with my laptop. Time is weird. It’s the hair on a clown. It’s steel wool. It’s the wiring in braces.