Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Possible Pasts

This is a story about a sock.

Or rather, it is not about A sock so much as THE sock. The sock at the beginning of the whole Universe, yeah, way, way back at the start. The point to which every line can be traced back, if you only had the patience to trace back every line. Why, even the things that look  like they came before it – the oceans and the canyons and the fossilized reptiles, the comets and the planets, old light and ageless black holes – those things were just thrown backwards in time from the story of the sock, instead of forward, like you and I were.

This is the way it all appears from my perspective, anyway, after years of thought and of measurement and research.

For you, maybe it is different.

I hope that I am not overselling this particular piece of men’s footwear.

The sock at the start was white. The sock was an ankle sock, cotton. It was my father’s. He kept it in a cigar box and he kept the cigar box in a footlocker inside his apartment. Now, this footlocker was chock full of these cigar boxes, and each one held something of immeasurable value to my father.

Sometimes, when he got sentimental after the drugs kicked in, he would reach down into the footlocker and he would take out one of his precious cigar boxes and he would show us what lay inside. Sometimes, upon opening up a cigar box, he would discover that it was empty. One time, upon opening up a cigar box, he found a ticket stub to a movie called Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.

And one time, when it was 1998 and almost time for my father to die, he reached down inside his footlocker and took out one last cigar box to show us. “Us”  in this case was my twin brother, Antony, and me. I am Katy.

Antony and I were twelve years old.

The sock was in bad shape. Threadbare at some parts, yellowed and crusty at others, and we could hardly even read the part on the toes where it was supposed to say, “Hanes.”

My father stared at the sock for a long time. He said, “When you were conceived, your mother and I were only fourteen. That’s hardly any older than you are right now.”

Do not get ahead of me here.

He said, “The part of ME that became YOU was supposed to wind up on this sock.” 

Antony turned whiter and whiter and looked absolutely mortified. I did not get it at the time.

My father said, “Life is an accident.”

He said, “It is random.”

He said, “Anything can happen!”

Then he turned on his stereo to Radiohead or maybe to Beck or maybe to Bjork or maybe to something else that people listened to when they thought they were being deep in 1998.

He said, “Whenever things begin to look hopeless to you, remember that YOU could have wound up in this sock. I could be sitting here, right now, showing this sock and saying these words to a different person. To someone who would sort of be you, but sort of be your brother or your sister, only you’d never know it because you never even would have been born.”

Then, satisfied that his point had been made, my father closed the cigar box and he put it back inside his footlocker.

What happened to that cigar box after my father died, it is a mystery to me. Your guess is as good as mine. I guess the sock probably got thrown away, just like it should have gotten thrown away (or at least washed) thirteen years before.

But if you will allow me to get sentimental for just a moment… Sometimes, when I am at a place in my life like this one I’m at, where the whole world looks full of endings – my relationships and buildings and schools and blogs – I travel back to that sock. I mean, in my head, I do.

I travel back to that sock at the beginning of the Universe and I find a new beginning stuck in it, one that is kind of me, but kind of not me – fresh and different and glistening and new. And I clean off this new beginning and I carry it with me, carefully carefully, out to the center of a vacant lot or to a construction site or maybe to some disused downtown alley.

The new beginning is shaking in my arms. It is raring to go. It is brimming with potential. I wonder to myself, “What will I be like this time? Will I be right-handed? Will I be straight? Will I be pretty or rich or able to do calculus?”

Then I take the new beginning by the tail, I peer up into the murky Houston sky, I hold onto it for one more moment, and I let it fly…

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“They flutter behind you, your possible pasts
Some bright-eyed and crazy, some frightened and lost
A warning to anyone still in command
Of their possible futures to take care.
                                     -Pink Floyd, “Your Possible Pasts”

30 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Not only do you get the award for the FIRST EVER comment at Fascist Dyke Motors, you also get the REFERENCE CATCHING Award of the week.

      The latter is a great honor, of course, and is normally always awarded to GOODSTUFF.

      Delete
  2. Hi Katy! Love the new place

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    1. Hi, Brent. What is this now? the 13th or 14th place you've wandered into to read my stuff?

      I'm going to keep trying new thing with the writing. I had to write a typical one to start things off, but I'm going to really try and alienate the hell out of everyone with the new place...

      Delete
    2. I lost track of the different places we closed down. I hate it when the bartender turns on the lights and all the mystery disappears. By the way, socks are far more effective as puppets than condoms

      After my father passed away I found his old sea chest where he hid all the stuff mom would not allow in the house. My favorite is a couple teak carvings he picked up in SE Asia. I am sure mom thinks they're demonic or some such nonsense.

      Go ahead and alienate people. Based on the website name, one would not expect a link to Fox news.

      Delete
    3. I don't know if it's really possible for me to alienate people.

      In the old days (back when I had a MUCH bigger audience), I would write something that had religious or political or sexual overtones and I would be nervous about posting it. A lot of my posts had disclaimers in front of them.

      No one really needed them.

      I don't think i ever had someone who said, "Forget this! I didn't realize THIS was the kind of place Katy was running here!"

      Or maybe they did and just didn't tell me.

      This whole place should be like your father's sea chest: Full of stuff I don't want my loved ones to see.

      Delete
  3. Wow. I had no idea how or if you'd connect your father's graphic profundity with this rebirth, but once again, you proved your aplomb and wove these disparate ideas into a cohesive narrative.
    Welcome back, congratulations on this, your butterfly.

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    1. Thanks and welcome, Pickleope!

      I almost didn't post this one because it seemed too warm and hokey. Then I remembered the warm and hokey aspect was really about a lesbian dreaming of picking her father's dried cum off of a sock.

      If I'm at the point where that is too mainstream for me, then... well, then I'm heading in the right direction.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Hi there, Melanie.

      Glad you made it over here!

      Delete
  5. I heard there would be free hotdogs,opening day ..... or was it beer? Anyway, I'm here ..... Think I'll wander around awhile and kick a few tires. LOVE what you've done with the place! Must be exciting to have so many options for so many different futures. Despite your Mum n Dad .....

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    1. I refuse to adopt the rituals of the patriarchy with ribbon cutting and free snacks.

      If you haven't noticed the name, this is FASCIST DYKE MOTORS. Opening day will feature public castrations, and you will show up and like it.

      Delete
    2. Didn't really come for free hotdogs or beer (or the castration, for that matter!) ... but I'll show up ... because you MAKE me like it. Tested for new skillz yet? With your new self?
      y = -3x+2 sketch the graph, identify any intercepts and test for symmetry

      Delete
    3. Doesn't appear that 8 got math this time, either, but I am trying to read a book on climate, so we'll see whether I got science... Fingers crossed!

      Delete
  6. I for one am glad you are Katy and not beat sock gravy.

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    1. That is such a sweet thing to say, el chupacabra!

      Also, "Beat Sock Gravy" is the name of my EDM music group, so please respect the trademark.

      Delete
  7. Beautifully written tale and a great start to your new life over here at Fascist Dyke Motors. Also, for the record, I know people who STILL listen to Radiohead/Beck/Bjork while trying to be deep.

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    1. I am thrilled about how many people are finding the new place already!

      If my dad was still alive and keeping up to date with music, I'm pretty sure he'd listen to Animal Collective.

      Delete
  8. Keep going like this and those in the know will declare you an international treasure.

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    1. Hi, Rupert! I do my best to keep my writing a complete secret. Changing sites every couple years, as soon as people start actually finding me, helps.

      Lesbians in My Soup was just starting to really get traffic in recent months.

      This puts me at a competitive disadvantage. I want to give all of the other blogs a fighting chance...

      Delete
  9. the name FASCIST DYKE MOTORS is just begging for a ...

    did all the web page stuff. plus I will link to you with in my next issue, chicks with 3 boobs

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think fascist Dyke Motors is a natural fit alongside a story about 3-boobed chicks. I have dreams of "Total Recall" (the original) in my head already!

      Delete
  10. Nice! It's a lot homier than the Lesbians..... How you're going to get weirder in this open and feel good kind of setting with no bob worr will be interesting.to watch and wonder. I have no doubts however.

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    1. It's a starting point. There's no telling where it goes from here!

      Delete
  11. Are you moderating comments here? My comment seems to have vanished.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I am not moderating comments. I know about you, though! You are persona non gratis around blogspot.

      Did your initial comment infringe on a trademark?

      Don't get me in trouble by standing too close to me. ;)

      Delete
  12. OK, so my first comment vanished, while my second was published. Weird and bizarre, but no more bizarre than what's going on with Blogspot these days. Just look at the fact that my tailshot is a white minus sign on a grey circle,

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This new page of mine is blogspot/google.

      It was against my better judgment, actually (especially since the entire reason I NEEDED a new site was because of their unresponsiveness). But he alternatives sort of suck as well, so I went with the devil i knew.

      Delete
  13. BJ sent me a link to your new digs, and I'm happy to find your stuff hasn't been transformed into anything socially acceptable. If your stories weren't bizarre, I'd wonder what was wrong in your world.

    Glad you're back!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I am so glad to see you made it over, Squat!

      I need to go retrieve the stragglers sometime...

      Delete

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