The Wolfpack Files

My Life in My Words

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The American Dream

When I was in grade school, the year 2000 felt like it was a long time off. Which in fact, it was, having been in grade school in the 80s. Back then whenever someone would ask me (or I’d just think about) where I wanted to be when 2000 hit, I never said what you expect a normal boy to say. I didn’t say, oh, I hope to be playing 3rd base for the Red Sox; or, oh, I’m gonna be a movie star! When the year 2000 came around, I was going to be 27 and my dream was that I’d be married with two kids, living in the suburbs in a white house and, to finish off the American Dream, we’d have a white picket fence. I couldn’t see who I was married to, but I could see two young kids - one boy and one girl. The house was small, but it was in a very nice neighborhood. There was a tiny front lawn with extremely green grass. I have no idea what job I had, but I knew that it got me home when it was still daylight outside, because I could see myself walking down the sidewalk and opening the picket fence, and my kids are playing in the front yard. When the actual year 2000 came around, I spent it in a friend’s house in Massachusetts, in freezing cold (since my friend didn’t like turning the thermostat up) surrounded by half a dozen friends. No wife, no kids, no white picket fence.

When I worked in a video store back in high school, I used to be able to rent movies all the time. Needless to say, that’s about when I became the movie junkie I am today. I watched so many movies that someone told me I should write them all down, just to keep a count of exactly how many I saw. So I started doing that. I think to this day my all-time record is 251 (theater and video) in 1992. And in case you’re wondering the 251st movie that year was The Bodyguard. Back then I used to write down all the movies I saw in a small notebook. A year or so later I started using a date book to keep track of, well, important dates. So then I would write down in the date book every movie I saw, along with when I saw it and where I saw it. I was recently going through a box I had here in my apartment, looking for some Indian clothes I had stored away, and I found an old date book from 1996, the year I started law school. I have no idea how a 10 year old date book ended up in a box in an apartment I’ve only been living in for 4 years, but there it was. I sat down on my bed and started looking through the days and saw all the movies I watched that year. That was the year I first saw Braveheart (even through it was released in 1995.) It was a nice trip down memory lane. I got to the end of the year and kept turning the pages and there was a section in the back entitled “Goals for this year” and I had written 2 words in that entire section. Although I was in my mid-20s and had my whole life ahead of me I had one single goal for that entire year. The words I wrote back then are the words that still consume my life today. “Find someone.” Obviously, that never happened. I remembered, as I looked at the words on the page, that I had written those exact same words in every date book I ever used. And not once did I manage to fulfill my goals for that year. I stopped using a date book a few years ago.

And so now we sit in the year 2007. Y2K is a long forgotten memory. But when I close my eyes really tight, I can still see the white house with the white picket fence. I can still see the green grass in the small front yard. Now I can even see some flowers planted under the window sill. There are still two small children running around the front yard, and my wife standing in the front door as I walk down the sidewalk and open the fence. When I open my eyes however, I see nothing except an empty apartment.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


As I ran into another wall today, I started to think about strange habits I have. Bumping into walls for one. For some strange reason, I have this habit of taking corners as close as I possibly can, while walking, which leads me to run into corners a lot. Not like I come to a complete stop when I run into them, but more like I brush into corners. But sometimes I cut the corner so tightly that it hurts. And for the life of me, I can't figure out why I do that. I know I do it, I've told people I do it, I'm writing to you about it now, yet I can't stop myself from taking corners really closely. I could understand if I was in some kind of race and cutting those precious few milliseconds meant the difference between winning the gold or taking second. I could understand if I was being chased by a homicidal maniac and I needed to escape. But to go from my desk to the bathroom, I have to go around 4 corners, and each time I brush up against the wall. What's the point? I wish someone could explain this strange phenomenon.

When I was in college I took a summer or Jan term class in creative writing. For one assignment I wrote about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I'm not sure what the overall point of the paper was, I just remember that I wrote how when I eat a PB&J, I have to eat it with the peanut butter side on top, and the jelly side (obviously) on the bottom. To this day, I still eat them that way. Why? How would my life change if I ate one of them 'upside down'? The other thing I remember about that class is being introduced to a little band called Pearl Jam.

When I go to the movies, I have to sit on the left side of the theater looking right. If I sit even dead center I feel like something is off. That's not to say I haven't sat on the right side of the theater. If I'm assigned a seat there, I'll sit there. If the theater is crowded I'll sit there. Or if it's a movie I don't really care about or have seen before, I'll sit on the right. But if I have my way and I can manage it, I will always sit on the left side. And more importantly, if I'm with someone, they have to be sitting on my right. I feel really backwards if I'm with only one person, and they're on my left.

I also have to go to the bathroom when I go to the movies. Even if the theater is 5 minutes away, and I went to the bathroom before I left, as soon as I walk into the theater, I have to go. I think after all the times I've gone to the movies, I've just developed a Pavlovian response to the smell of popcorn or something. Or maybe it goes back to the time I was watching Dances With Wolves, and after 30 minutes I really had to go, but I was so afraid of missing something I figured I'd wait until the movie was over. Not realizing the movie was something like 3 hours long.

Those aren't all the strange quirks I have. Although I do suppose everyone has a few things about them that are odd. I just really hope I can figure out why I cut corners so hard so I can stop scraping my shirts against walls. I actually have a hole in one of them now and it's a little troubling.