By Justin Jones
I’m writing this to you as I sit on my bed with a Pillow Pet (Winnie the Pooh), surrounded by a million-billion pillows, while I listen to the soundtrack of “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” I’m sick as a dog, and tomorrow’s gonna suck, and my complaining to you makes me feel better.
When my alarm wakes me up tomorrow, I’ll scream, “PLEASE, NO! I WANT TO STAY IN BED!” and my boyfriend will roll over, his sleep only slightly disturbed. I’ll whine to myself until I’m finished with my shower, and my medication courses through my body (I’m a vitamin-obsessed epileptic, if you must know).
And through this torturous routine I wade every Monday through Friday, working toward some end: To feed and clothe myself, I guess. (And to give myself shelter and money for alcohol: All equally important things, truly.)
Did you see that? Look what I just did there: I painted a banal picture of my life (and maybe yours, too). But our lives aren’t really that plain, are they? They’re peppered with things called “memories” that we treasure, “dreams” to which we aspire, and “loves” which we nourish—the things that make life worth living, but only when we have time to remember, pursue, and cultivate. Otherwise, life is largely a balancing of routine and boredom.
Think about it. Of all the times you’ve brushed your teeth, how many do you remember? How about all the times you’ve waited at traffic lights? Or slept? Or ate? Or paid bills? (Any routine will do.) How much of your memory, of your life, comes from routine?
Life is defined by a few extraordinary moments, rare slits in the fabric of our otherwise totally ordinary, and arguably obsolete, realities. It sounds like I’m writing a suicide note, but no I’ll spare you the fanfare.
These observations, however bleak they seem, have no dominion over the quality of my life. They aren’t depressors to me. They are liberators.
We have memories because they are special to us. Were everything to be so special, it’d all wash out because we’d have no basis which to compare what one considers “special”—and then our lives really would be crappy.
Here’s how I see it: if I’m doing something routine that I won’t remember anyway, I do it “strange.” I hum the McDonalds theme song loudly at the grocery store. I say “BAM” when I have nothing left to say. I sneak random quirks into some of my writing (like describing what I’m doing, or when I’m drinking, or where I’m sitting, or when I’m peeing).
I won’t remember doing any of these things because I do them so frequently, but I guarantee you that on more than one occasion my mildly amusing/strange habits have caused someone to go home and tell his spouse about that odd boy he heard singing to himself in the freezer section. So while I haven’t created a “memory” for myself, per se, I’ve done something akin to it for someone else.
And if not, who cares? I won’t remember it anyway.
Justin Jones, 25, is a writer based in Minneapolis. In addition to his column lovejones, Justin pens Through These Eyes, a bi-weekly column for Lavender Magazine. He writes about things like being alive, being in love, and drinking too much. Facebook.com/JustinJonesWriter