I kind of wrote this one as it was a miniature movie of sorts. I later learned of Chris Nolan’s movie Memento, which was supposedly based from a short story his brother wrote titled Memento Mori, but I haven’t read that nor watched the movie to know if what I wrote bears any resemblance. Likely not, I’d say. These are more like regurgitated thoughts, more or less.
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My mind’s memento mori is the artificial photograph of me at the back of a bus. Artificial, because it’s not real. Not real, not in being that it didn’t happen, but in the sense that photographs themselves are artificial. Artificial images of an artificial world, artificial people, artificial moments. Printed onto paper, gloss or matte. A neat slice of time. Still artificial.
ar’ti’fi’cial – adj. contrived by art rather than nature.
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I think it’s safe to say that I have spent the majority of my life riding on buses. I’m always in constant motion, going from one place to another for several different purposes. Even though I drive, the majority of my travels are done by bus.
I have actually had the privilege to meet certain individuals that have never ridden the bus, and if so have complained about the experience. They have complained about the wait, about the commute, about the people aboard them. These individuals have been mostly female.
I can’t complain. I can’t really say I love the bus, nor can I say I hate it. It has been, for me, the birthplace of many ideas, as well as problems. My usual seat is near the back by a window, head often propped against the glass and music drifting into my head through rubber coated wires. Made in China, of course.
I am a writer, perhaps in an exaggeration of the word. Maybe I’m just a person who writes rather than a writer per se. I am my own character in my head. He is for sure a writer, because I imagine him to be so. As I craft his story, he simultaneously crafts mine. This is how we correspond. We have a complicated relationship.
I lost my mind here, I tell him sometimes as we board the bus together. He frowns every time, perhaps in wonder. Or perhaps in contempt.
I have learned, painfully, that it is the spaces in between places that feel the loneliest. It is the travel from one place to another and the things in between that create voids. The roads, the cars, the people, the stop signs and traffic lights. That feeling creeps up on you. That feeling of knowing you’re surrounded by people, but yet feel so alone. It wraps itself around you, strangling, convincing you that you really are alone. The beast has a name. Paranoia.
Then there’s it’s cousin, Panic!. It is the change in the wind, the staleness in the air, the sharp sting in your chest. Sweaty palms, racing mind, laboured breath. Pain. Panic.
I like to think that time stops when I ride the bus. But as I watch the scenery pass by I realize I am only but racing further into time, with time, and becoming one with it. I realize, sometimes, that time is the void between places. It is the force of attraction driving me closer to where I’m headed. It’s fluidity scares me, invisibly inching down the crevices of my palms, threatening to finish me.
Time is nothing but liquid space.
The wait for the bus is tumultuous. It is one filled both with excitement and regret. It is sort of a love-hate phenomenon knowing the impending dangers of such a ride.
I must be an adrenaline junkie, for this is my daily rollercoaster ride. The doors open, and I pay $3.00 to lose my mind.