18 People

I went over to my old flat in Camperdown earlier to turn the fridge off and empty it out as the appliance rental people are coming to pick it up tomorrow. In this contemporary age of modern durable appliances the sight of an empty fridge feels incredible barren. An affect of pure neglect. All that is left in the flat are lots of loose papers littering the floor between boxes of random stuff that I need to sort through to figure out what to keep or not. Amongst the junk and letters from banks and other institutions were objects and glimpses of memory-triggering flotsam. A photo, 2 little trinkets, a pencil, a CD, a plate set, a certain brand of laundry detergent, half a bag of ice, an indentation in the carpet where a chair once resided and so on…

The other times I have set up new abodes in Sydney have been periods of great excitement. The first time was when I moved over from Perth and it was a big adventure. The other time was when I was moving with Sam and I was in love. Now I am moving in a period of sadness and there is little excitement at all. For a brief time recently I was happy with someone again, and I think what made me happy more than anything else was remembering again what it was like to be happy with someone.

I tried to remember all those who have come to my flat. I can only think of 18 people. I am not including friends of non-friends (non-friend is a friend of a friend, their friends do not get included) and random tradespeople and the like. Is this a low figure? 18? I was in the flat for about 15 months and 2 of those months were spent overseas with about another 6 weeks in total of other travelling. I think it is a low figure. I never had a party and I normally met people in Newtown for a drink or dinner or something. I think I must be a recluse. However, the number of people is not really important, is it?

I was filled with a profound sadness when I realised that my flat in Camperdown was the closest thing I have had to a home since leaving home. Wave after wave of memories emerged and I was struck by just how many happy memories that little, oddly designed flat can invoke in me. I felt like the robot kid at the end of AI who gets to have one more day with his mother, except I knew I would never relive those memories again and could only take the smallest of pleasures by being haunted by them. Sitting here in front of the computer, listening to music, and writing this makes me want to play all those songs I share with old friends, new friends, non-friends, lovers, loved ones, and loves lost. Play the songs so loud that it is inconsiderate to my neighbours. So loud that it drowns everything out except for the song and all I can think is the song and the memories which it invokes. I want to be set up in front of a firing squad of songs that pull the trigger of memories in me…

But now I have the greatest love of my life to contend with — my thesis. I am so going to drill this fucking thing. It has to go toe to toe in a dance with an angry and sad Glen. Why am I angry and sad? Because after tonight, right now, I have the bitter memory of remembering all that I have given up for it and to be able to do it. I have forgot to Forget.

If my thesis wasn’t a work of love that I lived with everyday, then I would hate it.

3 thoughts on “18 People”

  1. Is 18 people a low number? I stayed in a flat for almost a year and I’m sure maybe only half a dozen people visited my flat.

    It was a cramped little studio with a bed in the main room so I didn’t really see the point in doing any “entertaining”.

    Moving’s always kind of tough. Happy and sad.

  2. hey Glen

    18’s not so bad I reckon, I know of much worse! It really sounds like you need to finish the thesis and get through to the next stage of life. I know it’s going to be a blast, good luck!

  3. I concur with the others. 18 is a lot. I’ve been living in my place since we bought it in 2002 and have invited about a dozen people over – some of them even more than once! No but really, I’m not sure I even know more people than that, not counting family…

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