Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Second Fiddle, Fiddling

I have a lot of time on my hands, and I recently discovered a new trick with (I like to imagine) some radical implications.

I've always wanted to be either a saint or at the very least some kind of hero, but the older I get the more it looks like I just don't have the proper makeup to pull it off. I'm not, I'm afraid, made of particularly sturdy stuff. I guess I've made my peace with the idea that sainthood and real heroism would be pretty taxing occupations, and all but impossible for a man who really doesn't much like to leave the house.

That said, I have resolved to do what I can, and  to look for opportunities for small acts of heroism and altruism in solitude. I've been experimenting --I can't sleep-- and I'm slowly learning how to pull things back from the past, to rewind time. It's tedious but gratifying work; editing, really, erasing little bits and pieces of history --a careless phrase or gesture, a rash impulse acted upon, a mistake here, a regret there. It's sort of like fishing in the past.

So far I've found that I'm limited to no more than twenty seconds at a time, and I can  reclaim these moments from every life but my own. Each night I coax brief segments of time through the dark crack at the bottom of my bedroom door, reeling them in at the end of a coil of dental floss that I wrap around my thumb.

It's possible that I've taken back some of your own time and erased little moments from your memory and life, but you'd likely never know it. As far as I can tell my efforts only manifest themselves in others as amnestic gaps; for some reason I also have been given to understand  that these same segments are simultaneously obliterated from the memories of every other person who might have been affected or impacted by whatever it was you might have said or done.

I'm sure you can see how useful my work might be, and how it might work towards restoring relationships and rebuilding bridges.

It's somewhat frustrating, I'll admit, that the people whose benefactor I am remain anonymous to me. I have brief, almost blinding flashes of recognition; I hear voices and see things, but everything happens at hyper-speed and in reverse, so the effect is very much like trying to make sense of a rapidly rewinding cassette or video tape.

I keep working at this project, though, and I'd very much like to build up my stamina to the point where I can extend these revisions to longer and longer stretches of time. In the next year I'm hoping to be able to reclaim entire days, and the ultimate goal, of course, is to be able to fine-tune this quite remarkable process so that I can erase substantial portions of my own life.

Most of it, in fact.

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