Monday, November 30, 2009

In memory of an unmemorable afternoon

The mouse doesn't work so well, the cursor refuses to be bossed around the screen. The room's despicable messy, you wonder how anyone could live here. You don't want to listen to the song any more, but still can't bring yourself to change it. The mailbox is empty and lunch wasn't that interesting either. The sitcom's been on pause for a while now, and you let it stay that way. Milosz and Vargas Llosa lie silent by the dusty desk, frozen by inertia. That article about obscure Italian digestives trumps poetry this time.

The usual work's there to be done, along with the usual plans, but you don't feel like it. You don't feel like doing anything anybody in the world would expect you to do, even if that anybody is yourself. The most common and characteristic physiological response to all this is sleep, so you don't feel like that either. So you sit there on the bed, feet uniformly pressed into the cold floor, traversing those words in plastic, protesting silently against life's oppression.

Then something gets ticking. What if the afternoon refuses to be reined in? Maybe you could give in to it, and let it have whatever it sought from you. Why fight something when you could side with it?

Sing that song as loudly as you can, until your neighbour's forced to wonder what the hell's going on in the other room. Remember a stranger's face. If you can't, cook up one. Take that chronograph into your hands and count down the seconds. Twenty four, twenty five, twenty six... fifty eight, fifty nine, sixty/zero(???), one, two... twenty four, twenty five, twenty six... you get the idea. Take a paper and try to draw an 8x8 square grid with your eyes closed. Then darken alternate squares, like a chessboard. Preserve the results for posterity.

Stretch out this forgettable chunk of time on the pin board of memory and pin it down with the brightly coloured pins that are words, paint it with the flourescence of ennui, spruce it up with the scent of the day's heated shadows and burnish it with the air's repetitive sounds of music and there you have it, a vibrant piece of throbbing memory with an invisible watermark beneath that reads, I lived through this.

Sometimes life can be unmemorable.
But then, you can always make the memory livable.

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