I was arguing with a part of me after I thought of writing this post. I was on my way home after a meeting at a mall, the cab I was in having nearly being side-swept by another cab whose driver was weaving through moderate traffic at worrying speed. I had, with a conscious blink, removed my mind from inside the cab so that I wouldn’t be there anymore; so that the clichéd conversation in the moving contraption could be replaced by words I have read on screen or on paper, or favorite memories created from TV or movies, or the many words I have trapped in my mind in the capsules of the voices that brought them in. I was rereading a line from the preface of Teju Cole’s Known and Strange Things before I started arguing with myself – before I thought of writing this post, before I removed my mind from the moving cab and its conversation, before the cab was nearly side-swept. The line somehow reminded me of the many things I’d desired to do. Transported in a bubble of memories so clear, I saw the many persons I used to want to be; the company I wanted to keep; the places I wanted to go to, and the things I wanted to do there; the stories I wanted to tell; the work I wanted to do; the kind of person I wanted to love; the deaths and evolution of ambitions. The evolution of my disposition is often triggered by words, especially at chance occasions: a wedding party, a church convention, a conversation with a stranger, a conversation with a friend, a commencement event, an interview; and the immortality of words makes it difficult for these dispositions, these ambitions to completely fade for the new ones, so that I’m partly a pastiche of ghost ambitions. Some days, these ghosts, I pour like concrete into characters in stories I attempt to write. I have echoed these lines in the thoughts of a character in a still half-finished story sitting somewhere on my note app:
“I am the giveaway lines of a bad imitation; the discordance in a perfect harmony; the damaged piece of a jigsaw.”
These memories, when I stir them with recalling, wake with an unclear but fierce purpose. First, with how each once made me feel: the juice it gave, and the doubts – the type that came with defining an ambition; and the longing for how it once shaped my window on the world. Then, how in pursuing them, I gradually found them deserving to be lost for other things, how I found it was okay to live apart from them, to live for better things. What became of these ambitions, really, I thought to myself. Ambitions, like energy, should not be lost; they should be translated into another place or state or time; they had to have moved on, to have found (or waiting for) a reappearing in a more welcoming mind. Or maybe, really, they just disappear into nothingness, like the matter that is space. And because ambitions are thoughts, and thoughts require a mind, or at least a place to trap them, and when you have allowed your memory of them leak away, they go away until you reread, one day, in a noisy cab, a certain line in a favorite book, and then, this wandering of thoughts happen.