It’s a long way from L.A. to Denver.

by Nic Olson

Sorting. I, you may be surprised, like to keep tangible pieces of the past to be able to look at and remember the good times. Old shit. I probably had one hundred movie ticket stubs in this shoebox that held hundreds of other papers, notes from Indian girls, dirty notes from high school friends, a piece of a broken Nalgene bottle (I kept it because we broke the unbreakable with a baseball bat), cards from Birthdays, Christmas’s, Graduation, ticket stubs from concerts ten years ago. I have literally kept these things in the same three shoe boxes for ten years. I went through it for the last time, and lessened it all into half of a shoebox of important phone numbers, photos, gifts, and a few golden memories.

Among the garbage memories that I have hoarded over the years, I found my old notes, assignments, papers, exams from my very brief stint at university. I kept these notes in the same messenger side bag that I used to lug around my clipboards of paper, back when I had a future. I thought that I’d probably end up back at university after my trip to India, but I was wrong, and as those papers died lonely and dark in the same bag they lived, I traveled to India two more times, and finally brought them back to life today. I browsed my old Chem102 notes, interesting but useless information all in three Hilroy notebooks. I reread my Physics 109 final exam and understood none of it, and understood why no one likes Physics. I didn’t even bother rereading my Psychology notes, because that was a completely useless one hundred hours of the opinion of a bigot misogynist professor. I reread my English notes. They were terrible. Everything I wrote down in that class was for the sole purpose of passing. I wrote down pages of grammar theory and of Polonius’ role in Hamlet. I wrote them down because I wanted to pass, and for no other reason. I even remember hating writing it down, because I knew it was completely profitless except to get a higher mark for the reasons that the system tells you are important. My papers were terrible. The actual writing wasn’t that bad, but the way it was written, was so forced, so rigid, so framed, that it totally disregarded the actual purpose of writing. But that is what I had to write, and I knew of nothing else. The system allowed nothing else but words that were supposed to be written because of curriculum, because of lazy profs and because of a flawed system in the first place.

So I recycled it all. I thought of keeping my one Math 110 midterm where I got 100% so Wilf could remember the years of old where I could derive a function in a matter of seconds. I also thought about keeping a few other educational items, like transcripts, awards and scholarship letters, Graduation programs, but I recycled them too. My past life was great, but I’m never going to become anyone important enough to write a book about, or require historical research for, and if I somehow do, my actual amateur freehand writing would probably do the same good. Holding on to old memories isn’t bad. But once the holding becomes living and breathing, things need to change. I’ve been uncomfortably near that living and breathing state for sometime, so the trash was calling, and so was the road. Montreal because of hockey, because of opportunities, because of a few friends.

So most of my tangible, physical past is now in the garbage awaiting a proper burial, in the recycling awaiting a proper shred, or in my backpack awaiting a proper shift. And everything else is embedded on a series of hard drives somewhere, through photos and documents, and that’s about all I’ve got.

It’s a long way from me to then.

It’s a long way from SK to Montreal.