November 27, 2014 (short story)

November 2014

Entrepreneur (November 24, 2014)

How do I express myself in the present? This is more recent stuff. Let me tell you about yesterday, a Sunday. It was a nice day. The day before was Ceri’s birthday, was a really fun night. Ceri is mad at me this second I think, she just walked away from me while I was typing here on my computer. Maybe I said something short to her? But she was talking to me while I’m trying to work. I guess I have some guilt or I wouldn’t be focusing on this. Then the power to make someone feel guilty isn’t necessarily correlated to guilt.

 

Oh my, I was wanting my command of English to be something different here in the present. I guess not, this reminds me of an attempt to write a journal when I was in my first year of UBC. I couldn’t capture anything because I just fell so deep into the moment. Fuck, clear my head, I want to say something. I’ve got a structure and everything. This section I want to show some dimensions of who I am, how in the past sections I was young here now I am something more than I was.

 

I suppose nothing is ever so clean. Maybe it is easier to say those things that we have already experienced, their lines are clear, to describe the present is of course more difficult. Well, let me tell a story anyway.

 

So let me tell you about yesterday, not such a big day but it has a vividness to it. It was the Tour De Kigali and a Rwandese won for the first time. Desire was going to Djibouti and having our house boy Oscar pack his bags for him. Why can’t he pack his bags himself? We all went up to the pool and enjoyed sunshine with a bit of clouds, a big beer and teaching Oscar how to swim. One of my sandals broke and I threw it into the gutter, but in Rwanda if you don’t wear shoes it’s illegal so everyone was looking at me either with horror or humor, some both. I came into CMU today and someone saw me not wearing a shoe and everyone was telling stories about me. It was playful, it was funny. I got a shave yesterday too, the shaves suck in this country but the guy has a good heart. I like his life, blaring reggae in this little shop with pink walls and broken windows. There are these posters of celebrities put together using cheap graphic design. It’s funny. It was just a day. I came back from the pool tired so I took a nap and went longer than I expected. I really needed to do work, my time is not my time, there are all these things depending on me. I was worried for awhile that I was messing up, like I was a piece of butter spread too thin over the toast and my thinness was going to cause the entire house of cards of my life to collapse. I don’t think that anymore, I think I’ve realized that I just need to not make excuses, I need to have discipline. Even in my wildness I need to have discipline, everything has to be integrated together. I can make myself accomplish those things I aspire to because I believe in them, if I don’t then it is because I don’t believe in them strongly enough. This isn’t a test of capability, it is a test of will.

 

What am I talking about? Pretentious huh. I always feel pretentious in the moment. Well, let me cut ahead. So I am applying for this accelerator in Ireland, would be totally cool, I’d like to get in. It’s for my motorcycle project. My other projects are doing well, for the tablet cafes I was in meetings today with a telecom that approached me for an education pilot, with CMU I bring a dedication and passion that I think is positive, with Frank’s clothing manufacturing startup we technically have our first paying customer. But all that stuff has a certain amount of superficiality to it, it’s an optic. The fact is that while all these projects are beautiful, there are major issues. But this moto one is a bit less fucked up than the others, I think primarily because I’ve been learning lessons, I know where the weaknesses are, I can be better. Where before I loved having a bright idea with a sunny pitch now I believe that the idea is nothing, the team everything, and a pitch just wasted air until you have something built. This startup has those things, just me and Peter complementing each other with a group of some really brilliant outsiders who before I would have wanted to include as founders but now I want to keep them away, let them participate a little bit, but let this core of me and Peter stay small, we can do more, we can do better.

 

What’s an accelerator right? Good question. It’s, ummmmm, well what is it. Google it. It’s vague. And it’s kind of hip right now, everyone wants to be doing a startup, everyone wants to be in an accelerator. I worry if I’m late to the party, I need to be ahead of the curve, not behind. I’m trying hard here, I think there is a chance that I am ahead. So this accelerator is structured as a competitive selection process for smart phone apps that are trying to disrupt city transit options in a positive way. And, of course, make use of their back end code, there’s that. Everyone has a game, there is no such thing as pure altruism, or if there is it’s not sustainable. That is different than saying that there is no altruism, I think this accelerator is run by passionate people who are trying to do good, which is good because Peter and my app is about having a solid business plan but using that as an enabling agent to bring something to market that has a positive social function. What is the app? Doesn’t really make a difference for this writing, let it just be some grey idea. So basically, if we get in, the accelerator takes 6% equity and gives us 25 grand. That would give this company a theoretical valuation of more than 400 grand, not bad work. But, while that is cool and meaningful, I like the idea of this as a test for myself. I believe in critical mass in my life and I haven’t reached it yet. I’ve done well, but well is nothing if you don’t get ignition and for everything I’ve done, nothing has ignited yet. But I think maybe I am becoming better, I think that I have tried to thread this needle many times and this will be the time: we’re the right team, the right idea, the right opportunity. Maybe we won’t get this, likely not, it will be less than 10% chance with the level of competition we’ll have. But I think, if I can just be good enough, a big if, I can pull this off. If I don’t then next time, there are always more opportunities. But there is a good chance that we can make this happen.

 

Of course, just wanting something doesn’t make it happen. So how am I going to make this happen? Well, for starters, thanks to Peter and my money, the app is just about done. That’s super sick, it means we have a clear runway, we get into the accelerator, we polish everything up and make a war plan and make things happen. We don’t have to talk about what features and what UI and blah blah blah, this is not an academic process, we’re there ready to go. But we need to communicate why we are perfect to the selection committee, kind of Drangon’s Dennish. I think I’ve realized in life just how important communication is. We can do anything if we just know how to explain ourselves, communicate our hearts, communicate our minds. So we need to do this application, it actually isn’t that hard. Pitch video, website, application, the usual stuff. I could submit everything in the next ten minutes if I want to. Yet, when something is easy it becomes more challenging: how do you differentiate yourself, why choose my company? It’s a crowded playing field, what do we do to shine?

 

Haha, I really shouldn’t even be writing this right now: I should be working! I was supposed to be gone from here 45 minutes ago working on the script to the revised video. But Peter is late and I suppose that there is still time enough, but than maybe that is the attitude that is keeping me from going critical mass. You know what, let me go work. This isn’t a very clean section, I don’t think the writing is very attractive, I don’t think I communicated my mind very well. Then, how am I supposed to describe my life when I am in the process of living it?

Drunk (November 17, 2014)

Sitting not at your birthday, how could I, it hasn’t happened yet? I thought about having a fantasy episode, imaging how it could have been. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on November 27, 2014. Where would I be. What day would it be? Walking to work. Mwaramutse! Good morning! How are you! Motorcycle to work. But this, uhhh, project, yeah, it’s a project, walking through rememberance, it can’t be a lie and I don’t know what November 27th will look like.

 

I wrote the words from me as 7, I haven’t written the words from me as 17, I know it will be about a chocolate bar and Walk the Line. What will this be about? Who am I today.

 

Do I address you directly? That seems like bad form.

 

There is a beer in my hand, a Mutzig, not my favourite. But I bought if for the houseboy and he chose a cheaper beer instead,

 

Let me retrograde, let me restart, let me give a fresh beginning, I don’t think anything I have said says anything I want to say. But what do I want to say? Why can’t I say it?

 

There is an emotion here but I cannot catch it. Shadows are walking in my kitchen, who are they? All these people walking through my life, who are they? I have come to exist here, but it has been a choice to exist, it is not a necessity.

 

I was smoking a cigarette, sitting or else I go unconscious, looking out over some view, it was nice, it was nice, but who am I? Where am I going? How rude, how dare I.

 

The houseboy is watching a movie in Korean. How can I say what I want to say?

 

This series of words and stories has been about memory. Let me escape artifice and be in a moment that is true. Let me remember kicking dads chair in his car as we crossed the border in a rush to go to Disney Land. The hotel had a waterfall, I was impressed. We went to Planet Hollywood, I can’t remember the food but why is food important?

 

Isn’t there fucking something I want to say? Can’t I gain clarity? What was today like? I had a few meeting but only one stays in my mind, because it feeds my narcissism. Let me not remember it. Where am I at this moment? Aren’t I less than I was? Aren’t I? Aren’t I?

 

There is a door opening and shutting. Peter asking if I have a documentary on Einstein. The documentary is shit. There is an understanding of those things I cannot understand and this is a dilution. The world is complex, isn’t it.

 

Maybe it is honest, I write with a drink in my blood, let it flow. Let me live in the present and disappear in the past. Savage Garden, Shaun van Pel loved them. Me too. I remember being young, an age I couldn’t guess but I would say 13. Walking with Shaun talking about this song. What else did we talk about? We don’t forget.

 

I chew on pencils why?

 

I look in peoples eyes now and they look back at me.

 

Do I stop now? Is this a waste? I disappeared for a moment. Peter wanted to share something. I walked around. I can’t remember. I’m listening to the Cantique de Jean Racine or something. This fellow wrote this when he was a kid then when he was old. I talked today to someone who just read my book. He liked it. How strange, that I made that. Life is different now. But aren’t I still free?

 

How do I speak my mind? Shouldn’t this be about interconnectedness. I am so exhausted. So many people look at me with eyes full of passion, may I not leave and escape.

 

The music is beautiful, this is spectacular. Mom, I’m so tired, I am frustrated. Why can’t I say what I need to say?

 

Let me disappear from here.

 

Artist (November 27, 2014)

The water closes on me so deeply. Get to the surface, get to the surface. Strange, I was just above water with my friends. Can’t I get away from here? Let me fight just a little harder. I don`t understand how I can be fighting as hard as I can yet am falling away from the surface. What are my options? What are my options?

Breathing is becoming a problem. OK, let me not panic. I am drowning, I could die. The water is closed above my head, I cannot get air to breathe. I am drowning. What are my options?

What you never think about dying is just how weak you are. This is stupid, my body is tired, if I was at my best this would not be a challenge but I’m tired. What are my options? I wonder if someone will save me. I am floating. Let me float. What would be great is for me to look up through the clean water at the impossible far surface and see it shatter and someone jumps in. They could swim straight towards my and grab me. Take me to the surface, we could laugh about this.

The surface does not shatter.

I am going to die.

What a stupid way to die, I wish I had eaten that extra piece of garlic bread at lunch, stupid to worry about getting fat when you are going to die hours later.

I am going to die. What fucking bullshit. I didn’t need to go swimming today, I could have done other things, so many other things. I didn’t even want to go swimming today. How dare that I die for others stupidity. This is unfair. I am shaking with rage, I am hitting the water. The water does not hit back, it infuriatingly absorbs my every frenzied motion, as if to mock me.

What is the right thing to do? My ears hurt so much. Am I so deep? I remember seeing a story that if you don’t fight the current you can be pushed out back to the surface. Fighting hasn’t done anything, let me float.

My lungs and head and ears and body are in a screeching pain. All I want to do is tear my mouth open and gasp… gasp anything. Even water would be less pain than these giants hands that are gripping my chest, tearing my ribs. Fuck this, let me breathe. No, that will be the end. Something has to change, what can I do. There are no options. If I can just not breathe long enough until I pop to the surface. How long has this been? I think I can survive for a few minutes under water. Things have gone by so fast. I am losing track of time.

Without me wanting to my lips gasp open and I breathe in water. Shit. For a moment though, for a moment it feels wonderful. I am sorry body, you thought that what you were looking for was going to come, you were ready for a solution and instead you have only accelerated the problem. What does it mean to have water in my lungs? I wonder.

My body isn’t reacting the way I want it to. My eyes are open, I wonder if I am still blinking. I suppose I must have that glassy expression in my eye, the same one fish get when you pull them out of water. I stare up through the water and I see the surface, a short distance and an infinite. It is gorgeous, the gentle rays shimmering through the undulations of a universe that the first evolutionary steps originated in and this specific branch will be terminated in. The water is so clear. Here, deeper than I have ever been before, I realize just how special to be under water is. To be in a different medium. Like a bird flies in the sky here in the water I can fly through the water. In my head I can feel myself doing somersaults and zooming around, up down left right pause backwards. My real body has none of it. Am I still moving? I don’t think so, I think here I am stopped, frozen as if in ice or a statue. Immobile, a testament to who I was and, for the moment I am. I feel my body from my toes to my head: I am still here.

Will the fish really eat me? Good, I hope they do, let who I was be the food for who will come, let me regenerate outside of this dying shell and live forever in the world around me. I liked this life, I liked being who I was, I like my memories but if they are to disappear then let me not shy away from the sadness of my extinguishment and the joy of looking forward to a future where I will not be me, but I will be.

I hope that my friends do not mourn me so deeply, it is not their fault that death takes me today and beside, life was beautiful. I hope my family finds a way to remember me, I did not do my duty and carry our line forwards but perhaps I added something of beauty to them. I guess in the story of their lives, the story of how life goes on, I will not be the protagonist, my story does not have a beginning, a middle and an end: it just has a beginning. I hope, I hope, that what little I have done is positive. I hope, I hope, that those people I was not good to, they can forgive me. I never meant to hurt anyone.

Time is becoming arbitrary. I do not see anymore. There is a whiteness, but fuck god, I will not at this point, in a moment of weakness, rationalize what I couldn’t rationalize. God may be real but I will not bow at his altar now, to disrespect the chance of god by asking of him only when I need him. I will disappear and be food for the fish and become one with the water and cells that used to contain me will fly up in the clouds, float over those who I once loved and drizzle on them, touch their skin. Perhaps they will remember me at that moment. I will not look to god, but oh god I don’t want to die. Let me persevere. Fuck death. Fuck life. What’s the difference. I lived, I had consciousness, that is more than a black hole or a white blood cell or a tree can say. Let me not be greedy.

I am remembering being on a tricycle, it is red, I hated the training wheels.

I am remembering holding her hand for the first time, walking down the dark street. I didn’t know if she would hold my hand back but she did and I smiled.

I am remembering being in a car as it curved off the road, staring into my brothers eyes during this slowed perception of time, fear of the moment, fear of death, fear of the unknown.

There is no more pain. The throbbing terrible pain in my lungs is finished. The acid poured down my throat is gone. The pressure of a mountain sitting on my temples has faded away. Here there is no gravity, there is no weight. There is lightness. I am floating. I ascend. My body is still here. I feel nothing. I am still here. I am, for a moment longer, still here.

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