looking out from a window towards shibuya

THE LITTLE MAN WHO TELLS YOU THINGS

I was drinking Sapporro Beer with Christie in a hotel room.

“You know, it’s fine to drink with someone you’re already with, but what annoys me is why we have to drink with people we’re interested in with the sole purpose of getting them drunk enough so we can get dirty with them. Why don’t we just say, up front, that we want to have them naked in our arms? That would save hours of small talk and plenty of money. You know how much alcohol is nowadays?”

Christie ignored me. She was looking at photos on her phone.

“Did you hear me?” I said furiously while taking another sip of my beer.

“Yes, darling, but wouldn’t that defeat the whole process of courtship? Isn’t that the most fun part?”

I placed my iPad in front of us and we started watching pop songs on YouTube. There were snacks on the table, and there was a calmness about everything, and once in a while, between sips of beer, we’d simply look at each other. I didn’t know it then, but that moment would become one of my favourite memories. Why did it become one of my favourite memories? I suppose the simplicity of it, the lack of stress behind it, the fact that we were a thousand hours from reality had something to do with why it was one of my favourite memories. Or maybe there’s a much deeper reason I’ll never know about. Who cares?

I wonder if memories didn’t need to be memories to become favourite memories. I wonder if, for example, a small man appeared to Christie and I in our hotel room and said, “Listen, this is going to become one of your favourite memories. Make the most of it, because it’s not coming back again.” I wonder what I’d do differently to make the most of it. Would I take more photos to capture that memory, or would I be more mindful of everything? What if the small man appeared before every event that was going to become another one of my “favourite memories” and said those exact same lines: Listen, this is going to become one of your favourite memories. Make the most of it, because it’s not coming back again. I’d say that the small man would lose his novelty, and eventually his words will become background noise, and I would revert to living exactly how I’m living right now.

I wonder what you’d do if one day, the small man would appear to you and say, “Listen, this is it. The following hour is the only hour you’ll ever get again before you die. You get to pick who’s in your hour, and you get to pick whatever happens. This last hour of your life will be the greatest hour of your life.”

I wonder what you’d do if, after picking everything in that hour, and after living that hour, life goes on — you discover, with great surprise, that the small man was a liar. You were never meant to die afterwards. In fact, you have to keep living, you have to endure the rest of your mortality after living the greatest hour you’ve ever lived.

 

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Book I’m reading: Catch 22

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