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I found something in the back of a drawer this morning and I'm wondering if you can find lost memories the same way, just rooting around. I lived in Austin more or less for 8 years and when I run into old mates from those days they will often tell me stories about myself that I have completely forgotten, so I guess the Austin drawer would be a good place to look for something I've forgotten I had. And the added bonus to this exercise is that it gives purpose to staring in space. I'm not just staring into space, I'm looking for something that might be important. Is it that...I had to postpone that last sentence in favor of getting up to clean the thing I found, buffing it up, removing old smells. I then put it away in another drawer.
I was out of Austin for months at a time over a year and a half period, living in small East Texas towns as a doodlebugger during the early eighties oil boom. I swung machetes, carried cables, detonated explosives, and drove tractor-like vehicles with giant tires and brush guards across pasture and through the woods, knocking down small trees in the path of our purposeful search for oil. I slung pipe, too. I befriended rednecks and bikers and college graduates, and dropped acid with them in the woods at work and fell asleep behind the wheel of their personal vehicles. When they fell asleep with their faces in their beers I helped them to their cars parked in the mud lot behind the honky tonk and hoped they didn't wake up when the car slid and slung wildly back and forth, narrowly missing other parked cars as the drunken good ole boy in the 4 wheel drive dragged us much longer than necessary at recklessly high speed out of the mud hole we were stuck in. The next day I offered to pay for the bumper repair. I swam in stagnant bogs of brown water, water teaming with moccasins as thick as my skinny wrist and alligators everywhere. I scratched tick and mosquito and red bug and banana spider bites until they bled. I rubbed them down with Lysol when it seemed like the accepted treatment. In motel rooms I watched guys lay down coke or crystal meth or blotter acid or crushed up pills into spoons with water over flame, and then suck that heated liquid up through cotton balls into hypodermics and inject it into their veins. I drank beer and shot pool at eight in the morning when that was what came up and once, that I know of, I swallowed a pill that made me forget a whole day and even though I had the day replayed to me by others, it is that day I wonder about most because it examples a break in my personal time/space continuum and I have to wonder did I survive that loss of time or am I still experiencing it or does time interrupted continue along the same path once its been interrupted. I listened with smiling sympathy when my Vietnam Vet roommate told me of being discovered as a youngster with a needle in his arm by his steelworker father and how his father had dealt with it by grabbing the wrist of the arm with the needle in it, and without removing the needle, putting his other calloused hand on my roommate's upper forearm and then slamming that log of bone and flesh against his knee so that forearm broke in a fashion known as compound fracture. That's when the bone sticks out of the flesh. A kid too young to be working with us (although only 3 years younger than my 19 years), a son of one of the bosses, drowned in a snaky, vine-ridden, pond after getting tangled in the vine. This was what I did for awhile after dropping out of the University of Texas. Three different times, three or four months at a time. I would come back to Austin feeling strong and virile and clear-headed with what at the time seemed like lots of cash and I would luxuriate with my slacker friends until I felt myself getting stuck in the boring repetition of aimless slackerdom and I then I would go back to the oil fields. But by the third stint I had used up all the magic available and knew my days on the seismograph crew were over. So, considering the relatively short period of this time I guess I'm not forgetting all that much about the period, although technically the oilfield drawer and the Austin drawer are separate. I can only get the Austin drawer so far open and it may be that what I can see in the partially opened drawer is all there is to see. I spent a lot of time in my Dallas youth in Sunday school or youth group activities and I can't seem to access all that much of that either. I wonder am I tired of my memories or am I just impatient for new ones? What? Oh yeah, be here now, for sure. The experience creating memories takes care of itself.