Tonight I am haunted by thoughts. Little thoughts. The kind we sometimes call trifles because we are incapable of grasping their gravity. For years I let a routine of mine born of warmth and love masquerade as a mundane task. Why? I don’t know. I could write for hours on how my brain differentiates between significance and insignificance. That would not be a fun read. Also I’m not a psychologist. What I do know is, if you find someone with whom you can envision a future, a single act repeated on end until it becomes second nature is indicative of something big, not something little.
Here’s an example:
Back in the late summer/early autumn of 2013 a new iPhone and iOS were released. When I bought the new phone I wanted to back up all the photos and contacts from my old one. At the time I had been seeing a girl for a few months. We were starting to get serious. So while setting up my phone I decided to export all of our text messages to my computer. Our first exchanges had been awkwardly cute. I liked scrolling back in time and re-reading them. It’d be a bummer if they were lost.
From that point on, for the next three-and-a-half years, every time I backed up my phone I exported our messages. Maybe I thought it’d be cool to read back with her someday. Maybe I found it funny that I had access to every piece of evidence I’d need to win any argument grounded in facts from an old conversation. Or maybe I knew what I was experiencing with her was special, and even though I was afraid to admit it, it was important to me to keep our history intact. Exporting our “story” was a task I carried out so often it was done absentmindedly. Like when you played Nintendo as a kid, you always knew to save your game before going to bed. If you forgot to save, you had to start over from the beginning. Saving was imperative, but ease and repetition diminished its purpose. Similarly, the act of preserving our history was one whose purpose was diminished by the ease and regularity with which I performed it.
As you are well aware now, the final lines of that story were recently written. What remains is a 3,888-page tome. The PDF file is over half a gigabyte in size. With the exception of a gap between August 6, 2014 and December 28, 2014 (not sure what happened there) the file contains 81,648 messages. And two weeks ago when I couldn’t sleep I had the dumbest fucking idea my borderline-feeble brain has ever conjured: Why not read it?
I was wide awake. For, like…twelve days. What else was I going to do? Watch TV? Read a regular book? Take more drugs and drink more booze? A sane man might choose the TV or the regular book. Hell, a sane man might choose the drugs and booze. Not me. I decided to read all 3,888 pages describing in excruciating detail the rise and fall of a relationship I was still mourning. The source of my heartache. The cause of my insomnia.
I’ve never shied away from saying this before, but I think it bears repeating now: I am an idiot. I am THE idiot. I’d say I’m Prince Myshkin, but the characters I encounter in my everyday life mistake me for someone with intelligence and insight, not the opposite.
Congratulations, my love, we co-wrote a story nearly 900 pages longer than Proust’s IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME, that also happens to be easier to read and way more insightful. At least to this dumb goober it is…
A great work of art takes us out of our comfort zone, viscerally connects to existential questions that confound humanity, and offers up to the world a piece of its creator’s soul. I am sorry to say that our story is not a great work of art. In fact it isn’t even a very good one. It is riddled with typos. And emoji. It is often messy, ugly and perplexing. But not a single one if it’s 3,888 pages is lacking in soul. In fact it has soul enough to pour into everything and everyone. Because of that I am happy to keep it with me, to use as a tool for further growth, and so that maybe next time I won’t mistake a big thought for a little thought.
1 Mile North – To The Many Places I’ll Never Go [MP3]
Leave a Comment