January 1, 2004

rehashing an old year

This could have been a rarity along the lines of flying pigs. It was intended to be a letter, of sorts. Not only that, it was to be disguised as a personal letter. It began with a version of this opening paragraph, and continued so:

I may be playing fast and loose with the term personal; this is a kind of form letter. But it’s a personal form letter individualized, if by nothing else, its seasonal nature. It is also very modern as it doesn’t make use of paper. It makes use of the electronic medium which, in truth, is another bit of fast and looseness. It is really another form of indolence along the lines of individualized form letters. Being electronic, no stamp licking is required and there is no need to hunt down a mailbox.

My laziness is not total, however. I did some research into what to put into a letter such as this. While there was no consensus among the people I asked, many responses favoured a year end cap. “Tell them what happened to you in 2003,” these people said.

It seemed a sensible idea. Unfortunately, as I found when I first attempted this, nothing happened.

Yes, 2003 was characterized by a disturbing void. It was distinguished by an absence of anything resembling “something.”

But you can’t let such things get you down. You need to examine them. I did. As with deciding what to put into my seasonal form letter, I did some research. It produced astounding results.

It turns out things did happen in 2003. However, at birth I was granted a memory commonly referred to as a “sieve.” It is not that it retains nothing but that it retains the irrelevant and discards the significant. Therefore, while I remember what I was eating when I first watched the DVD special edition of “Bull Durham,” I have completely forgotten the incident last February when I was taken prisoner during a home invasion by a group of Western independence Alberta feminist-terrorists. (Don’t worry, the RCMP tell me the affair ended peacefully, though I don’t recall this.)

I have since made inquiries and discovered some of the things that happened in 2003, at least in my world. I can’t, however, completely vouch for their veracity because of my poor memory. I am taking all this on faith though I question some of these.

As with many, I did some travelling in 2003. I did not go terribly far afield. Except for one trip, I restricted my movements to Canada, particularly western Canada. So at varying times I was in: Calgary and Red Deer, as well as the environs of both Red Deer and Caroline, all in Alberta. I was in British Columbia, including several visits to Vancouver where I enjoy infuriating the locals by gazing goggle-eyed at the rising buildings and shiny downtown streets while saying in an awe-struck voice, “Gee, this is great! It’s just like being in Toronto!”

(Head gear is recommended if you choose to do something similar.)

I think I was in a few other places in B.C. I have a vague recollection of boats and rather steep snow-capped hills but this may be an image confused by the Paramount Pictures logo.

I also went to Seattle, which was green and lush and filled with amazing seafood. This was the best trip. I was even in a kayak on a great sweep of lake where water planes terrorized us by landing without regard for people or sailing craft that may have been there first. They dive-bombed us as if it were Pearl Harbour.

I just remembered: I spent some time in Ontario, in cottage country, the Lake Huron area. I was with relatives and friends and met an amiable dog named Murphy (named after the family name on my mother's side). This is probably my favourite place in the world.

Well, that was as far as I got with my 2003 rehash. I’ve never been very good at looking back and remembering things. Sometimes it feels as if nothing happened and perhaps this is the case. But I don’t think so.

I often run into friends who say, “Do you remember when we ...?” And I reply, in some amazement, “Oh yeah. We did that, didn’t we?”

So I can throw out any notion of ever doing personal memoirs. What could I write about if I can’t recall anything?

On the other hand, I could make it up as I often do. Fiction is much easier to write, at least for me, because you’re not straight-jacketed by facts.

No comments: