Monday, August 31, 2020

When we did nothing

It should have been something more than it turned out to be. That's the problem with reflection if there's not enough to reflect upon. Regretting not so much what happened but what didn't happen. Those things that were talked about but never progressed, those places never visited, those conversations we failed to have. The wrong directions now clearly visible looking back on life's cruelly real and undeniable mapping systems. 

Everything back then was strained and strange. How did cars and appliances ever work even in the 1970s, how could we speak to each other, why did we think that our food was nice, was working really miserable, where did money come from, what was the real news, were our clothes ever clean, where did you get information, why did you fall in love? 

The past is horrible even though horrible things only rarely happened. Yet people write books and stories and make fortunes trawling up their early lives and experiences, their version of the universe, ensuring their history comes out on top. They have their victims lined up. How they got a job with the BBC, signed on the dotted line, went to art college, traveled to Nepal, fought in a war, met somebody famous, wrote a song, had casual sex, discovered themselves, woke up alone. Their halcyon years of well remembered trivia and fibs. Nostalgia matters to the nostalgic, but it was never quite like that, never as it's portrayed, never the same as it was seen through your eyes and with your own feelings, there before you like some collapsed wooden Jenga puzzle. The past is mostly uncomfortable for ordinary people because they didn't really do much with their lives, just towed the line. Got by. 

People might say I cheated, that I was a cheat, a traitor, I kept myself to myself, I didn't speak or speak out, if they actually noticed. Everything is true and everything is a lie, in this belief I'm  relaxed as I approach the later stages of life, not looking back but looking forward to interesting things still to come ... like an new anorak. Most likely blue.

In the next few days, 1st September, my dad's 100th birthday happens. I'll visit his grave but I don't know what I'll do when I get there. Probably just stand and feel awkward, look blank, try to think the correct thoughts but know that my memories of him are pale and not properly constructed. I've not worked hard enough at remembering, I was too busy passing time in the here and now and in the fuzzy travelogue narrative of daily life, the information and detail I need to call up just isn't there. I didn't collect or curate it. I didn't think it mattered. I didn't think. Perhaps I'll just do what writer's do, make things up and embellish. Perhaps that'll compensate for actually doing next to nothing all this time.

No comments:

Post a Comment