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.

3 Comments:

Anonymous tamasha said...

This post gave me the chills - especially the "find someone" part. You're quite a storyteller.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Rose said...

Well written article.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Rohan B said...

I just found your blog and I have to say, this is an extremely moving and familiar blog post.
Two years later I must ask-- did you or have you found that person?

7:13 PM  

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