It’s probably a sign of my indolent life pattern these days. I opened a folder on my ancient PC and was caught in a slow moment. As my eye wandered down the list of files I had saved in recent times I came across “breaker box” followed by “boat costs”, “life timeline”, “Peggi and Paul’s dilemma”. The cryptic yet suggestive shorthand seemed like an unwelcome peek into the imagination of a drunken modern day troubadour.
My attention was drawn to the file “abbreviated resume”. I pondered the implications for that now forgotten composition. Was this a list of my fabulous career accomplishments while simultaneously flushing those less laudable phases (like when I pilfered loose change from the cash drawer at the cafeteria in college?). If that was the case I can imagine the full resume would bulge with the juicy details, like the day I was caught red handed. It was at a point I was on the verge of breaking out to my more rebellious years yet there I stood in front of my accuser still tethered to the younger, small town, Catholic me that trembled at the thought of being exposed as a moral fraud of epic proportions.
As I scrolled down further I spotted a file called “Moving Sale” which matched perfectly with another called “Places I have lived”. My childhood was a paragon of delicious predictability with 18 years at one address. As the French king aptly predicted, the deluge of moves was soon thereafter upon me and my families. Keeping track of moves is as challenging as tracking “cars I have owned”. These are daunting lists of tragedy and triumph tucked neatly under unassuming file names. Trying to untangle the question of how many VWs we held the keys to is tough enough, but go further and unpack the time the blue bug (were they all shades of blue?) abruptly met the snowplow. Or the time the VW bus clung to the icy edge of the mountaintop road while the fierce wind had me imagining the thing rolling on its side to begin a family toboggan ride to hell.
One more file is a draft that has never made it to full blossom. Titled succinctly “Uncle Leo was a punk” it’s story I yearn to unwrap but each time I click on the icon and restart the story I ultimately lose traction. As we age I look for clues to match up my life story with my ancestors. Leo is the outlier in a family of good or at least earnest characters that helped shape my story. His story is sinister, corrupt and Machiavellian (in a minor way). One day I will put words together to help me tell the story fully.