I call it The Narrative.
I’m sure someone else does too. I don’t claim to have a corner on that particular way of describing the world around us, but I do know it first occurred to me when I was nineteen.
Nineteen years old and two years out of high school, working downtown and hooking up with friends every night and pretending, together, that we knew where we were going in life. That we weren’t dodging college, living off our parents’ hospitality, and running from any commitments to a world more complex than work-til-five and cheap-dinner-at-Giordanos-with-the-gang. We were children of the 80’s, the ones who grew up with the Challenger explosion seared into our psyches instead of Apollo Missions. Our president bombed the hell out of Libya to prove a point. Vietnam was important, we knew, because China Beach and Tour of Duty felt important. We knew that memories were valuable: without them, there would be no Wonder Years.
I was keeping a journal back then; an honest to God dedicated journal that only I could read, not a soap box for the world like this thing. Every night after work and play and hours cruising and laughing and screwing around with everyone I would crack open the Powerbook (a blazing fast 33 mHz black and white beauty) and write about the day in the glow of LCD. When did, I found a rhythm to the things we’d done, the things we experienced together. A pattern to them, like the acts of a John Hughes Movie that never ended. I remember Jason picking up the fanfold dot matrix printout of one diary entry, skimming over a story and going wide eyed.
“Dude, I remember us doing all this stuff,” he said. “But it seems so much cooler when I read it.”
And it was.
“I just fit it into the narrative,” I said. I wasn’t quite sure what I meant, but it sounded right.</i>