Your memories are not your own. You think they are because the stories that you’ve been told since you were young all place you in certain situations. They’ve been gone over many times at the family table or wherever it is that you may eat your meals with those taking care of you. I realize of course that not everyone sits around a large table and exchanges stories.
Back to your memories. Your mom always told you that you enjoyed singing from the time you were 2 years old. She tells the story of how you got up in front of everyone during the Holidays and sun your grandfather’s favorite song to him. Some tell it that he laughed uncontrollably until he cried. Some tell it that he cried and almost put himself into shock.
There was that story of when you wandered out the door without telling anyone when you were 4 and walked down the block by yourself. Everyone was so worried. You had the best time though inside your own head because you made up stories of what was happening inside the houses of those you passed on your adventure. That is what happened when you were walking though. The story that gets told, the memory, is what your parents told you about how worried everyone was. Come to think of it, you don’t remember thinking what was happening inside of the houses as you walked by. That was told to you by your parents years and years after the fact that it happened.
Now then, your early memories, the very shape of who you are, are not yours at all. What belongs to you are the moments afterwards. After your initial thoughts. After what you believe to be true has turned to fact. This was the case for me up in that tree I think. But it was all so real, I’m not sure how it couldn’t have been because my parents had left me up there to fend for myself for all of those weeks. Weeks can turn into such a long time when you’re that age. Oh, how old was I really back then I couldn’t tell. Really, there was no way of telling much of anything in those times. I can’t believe it to be so. It just couldn’t have been.
What could have been. That’s what people are always after when they talk about stories. The memories aren’t theirs even I wish they weren’t mine. Now, I keep talking about being up in that tree in the late 1930s. It wasn’t like it is now with so many ways to communicate. My hope is that now, with the technology as it is, we might not be in such a rush to take over lands and destroy what’s left of the world. This is not in memory I don’t think, this is very much real. What’s left in the world from memory. For memory.
Perhaps my parents put those memories in my head before they left me up in that tree. Oh, it was a cold day to be doing that. The seasons changed so quickly then. It was the last day of winter, but still, they shouldn’t have left me up there like that. With all of that happening inside of the tree. Those ants marching night and day. The squirrels all fighting for the few nuts that were left at the very top of the tree. All of them had such tired legs from the long winter. My legs were fresh to be sure, but I wasn’t skilled enough to pick those nuts from the top of the tree. You’re still writing all of this down though, yes? You said you’ve be documenting this experience? What kind of project is this again, I can’t remember everything right now, so you’ll have to come back. My throat gets soar when I talk too much. Did you bring me that juice we were talking about? Yes. Yes. Thank you. I appreciate it.
We’ve talked about how I got down from the tree already, no? I can’t remember much except for the fall, but that’s not the interesting part. What’s really amazing is the time spent inside the tree. In the tree rather. These were the memories that were mine, not planted inside of me. They had to be mine because none of my family was up there with me. All of my memories are my own and not created for me. I wish I could remember what was created for me instead of what happened to me when I got down from the tree. I’ll tell you that tomorrow. Are you coming back?
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My talks with the woman in the nightgown gave me some grounding in the city. Memory. She kept talking about that. Kept talking about what was hers and what didn’t belong. Got me to thinking about what was mine and what didn’t belong inside of my own head. Who knows how these things go. I couldn’t be sure. There were many papers to write before that weekend ended, but it was still Thursday and I knew that no matter what I did, I’d just mess around until the last possible moment and do the work.
How many degrees had I earned doing other people’s work for them? Couldn’t afford to go to school myself and my grades weren’t good enough to go for free, but I still managed to learn more than the rest of them by doing their work for them. For a price. Everything had that big price tag on it and I think that once I realized that – that everything could be bought and sold super quick, I’d be able to figure it out. And I did. The guy who hired me loved me and paid me well enough so that I’d stop temping.
It was a big stretch for me because temping is how I made the majority of my cash. Being settled in one gig was tough, but I didn’t have to to go into an office. I’d spend my days wherever I wanted in Hollywood while the rest of the world around me worked. I’d constantly have a back back on with books packed inside. Not my books of course, but the ones that others paid for and then paid me to read and bust out a paper for them. Of course, they’d put their names on the top, take the grades, then slide into the jobs that waited for them afterwards.
How much wealth had I created out there? It might have been me creating the who infrastructure of capitalism this entire time. Could have been the very center of commerce. Trickle me down and let that ride. Funny that there might be some folks who thought it better to protest me. The protesters would come later. The more more money I made off of other people’s wants at security, the more I realized that security itself was a sham. It was all fear based – that the world would drop away from them once they no longer had a steady source of income. Drop away. Can you imagine such a thing? For me, I’d dined at the 99cent store and put together enough change to get a 49 cent cheeseburger, so loosing jobs never concerned me. Now, now I had that very thing that most people dream of:
A Niche. Experience doing something and doing it well enough that people would never stop needing you. It’s in human nature to cheat if they know a system is in place. For me, the college system was a great place to be a middle man. I knew that the most important part was the education, not the name on the bottom of a resume. I soaked it all up and got paid well. By the time I was in my 3rd year of doing it, I must have stored enough information in my brain to have multiple Master’s Degrees. I should have stopped there, but that’s not what humans do.
The more I learned, the more I needed to know. Now, here’s the key I think: When you start to wish for something, the universe has this odd way of giving you exactly what you need. It’s what happens when you seek something. My brain was full and I couldn’t remember so much. Well, I could remember some – but not all. What good was it going to do to remember some and not all. I didn’t want to go back and start reading all of those papers that I had written for those college kids. I didn’t have time for that. All of that information I wanted access to. Like those politicians up there on the television who I saw everyday. They had access to it all anytime they needed it. I wanted that.
So, I did what those who needed help from me did. I sought someone out.