This story starts in the fall of 2005, I had just moved from Rosario, to Buenos Aires and had to start supporting myself for the very first time. Thought it would be easy. It wasn’t. Of course.
A month down the road, I had somehow managed to find a job but had miscalculated the remaining time before getting my first salary, so I didn’t have enough money to buy some food until I get paid and was just too proud to ask my family for help. Would have gladly starved myself to death before admitting I could use some help to get started.
It was a rainy afternoon, maybe Wednesday, probably not. I was on my way to work, it was a 20-minute walk from my dorm. It was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella, of course, had to cover myself with an empty plastic bag but it was Argentina so I wasn’t the only one doing that.
While walking, I thought to myself “WTF, how come I don’t have money for food? So stupid, where did I fail? What did I do wrong? How did I put myself in this situation? I almost made it, was so close, just a few weeks and I would get paid, few more weeks to get peace of mind. I need to do something and I need to do it now. If I only had 100 pesos (100 dollars at the time) I could make it and no one would ever know this ever happened. “
“Maybe if I imagine it and project it in my mind the 100 pesos will come, maybe If I focus on it hard enough the universe will hear me, maybe it will work.” (if you read the title of the post, you know where this is going).
Those 20 minutes on the way to work were spent visualizing the situation, the 100 pesos would be hidden, somewhere under the street, somewhere I could only see them, somewhere I would only find them.
They were there just for me. I visualized the sensations, the way I would feel when I find them, I imagined having them already, how relieved I would feel, the food I would buy with it. I visualized my smile, my laugh and the peace of mind that was like the calm after the storm, when nothing else matters.
One block away from work, I looked down a water filter and there it was, full of mud and dirt because of the heavy rain, it was the same 100 pesos bill I had been thinking of for the last 20 minutes. So I lifted the filter, picked it up carefully and ran euphorically towards the entrance of the shopping mall I had to work at.
Didn’t dare to look back, just in case someone were looking for them. I was sure I needed them more than anyone else at that time. Went to the washroom, and after washing and drying my precious as carefully as I could, I bought myself a delicious sandwich just before start working.
Note that was the only time in my life that I found the higher denomination bill for some currency just like that on the street, note that it was probably the moment in my life where I needed it the most and note that in Argentina people don’t just lose 100 pesos, it’s not Europe or north america.
That event turned me into a “believer”, not a believer in a god, because of the political, ethical and social ramifications that would bring. But a believer that in some way I was somehow in charge of my own reality, I was not a puppet anymore, I could create my reality, a belief that there was something else out there, there was more to it than I knew.
It was just too much coincidence. Things like that don’t just happen in the real world.
I had watched all the seasons of X-Files, so I had to find a supernatural explanation to my apparently unexplainable good luck. Right? I had to! because it’s interesting and my life is boring, I need it!
Everything was coming together and the universe was showing me proof that there’s something else out there. Some magic of some kind. Alleluia, I was blessed by the cosmos!
Till this day, I wonder how accurate is my memory of that event and I find myself wondering if it was really a coincidence. Probably yes, but I’ll never know for sure, I just need to think it was a coincidence in order to keep my sanity at a level that allows me to keep moving forward with my life.
I needed to believe, when I was in Buenos Aires, that I had somehow been blessed by the spirits of nature who were looking after me and they had rewarded me with 100 Argentinian pesos. I just needed to believe that.
Anyway, coming back to the present time, here in Korea, some weeks ago, I lost some money, got cheated, and my belongings got stolen by someone I used to trust.
Made some mistakes, trusted the wrong people, lost some stuff, no big deal right? shit happens, learn from your mistakes and move on with your life.
Yeah, that’s how it looks now, but at the time it happened, it was a sad, depressing moment, like my world was falling appart, like I didn’t want to live anymore, and just then when I needed it the most, something magical happened, similar to the money found in Buenos Aires, and things started to come together again.
I met some great people and they invited me to play in a movie.
I had had a few scenes in a few tv shows and dramas here and there, but this was a blockbuster, being on a movie was just huge for me!
And that experience made confuse again, coincidence with faith. Because it was just so perfectly well timed, the good news came right after the bad one, right when I needed it the most, and it made me feel like someone was watching over me.
If it had happened in a different time, it wouldn’t have felt so special and my imagination wouldn’t have had the chance to play silly tricks on me.
Our brain plays tricks on us all the time actually, and these memories I have, are not memories of the real event that happened back then, they are more like a reconstruction of the memories I put together last time I tried to remember the event.
Every time we remember something, there are always some little details we change while trying to fill in the gaps with the missing pieces we don’t really remember. Or sometimes we don’t want to remember because they would compromise our integrity or the way we see ourselves.
And probably next time, when we remember that again, we will just automatically accept those changes as a part of the original picture. As if they had been there all along.
So after 10 or 20 years, we try to remember something and we have a totally distorted idea of what really happened back then, but we are totally convinced it’s the real one, the only one and we remember it perfectly.
I remember a scene, around 10 years ago at a petrol station, having a coffee with my mother which I haven’t seen in a long time because we were not on speaking terms.
We started arguing about the past and talking about things that happened during my childhood that I, as teenagers usually do, would blame her for.
I noticed when talking about it, that she had for some reason, changed the whole story in her mind and would tell it confidently as if had really happened that way.
So I asked her “why do you lie? You know that’s not how it happened, and you’re making this up so you don’t need to admit you made some mistakes, right?”.
And I got really angry at that time because if I make a mistake I would at least admit it and apologize, or try to make up for it somehow, instead of just denying it boldly.
But 10 years later, after putting some effort in understanding memory and the cognitive functions of our brains, after seeing the same thing happening to countless old people and after starting to get deceived by MY own memory more than once.
I can see that she actually believed what she was saying was true, she didn’t lie because she hated me or anything like that.
Most times this little changes we gradually make to our memories over the years, are conveniently arranged so that WE get to be the good guys of the story, so if we did something wrong, we will either erase the memory completely, change it so it doesn’t look so bad or make it look like it was someone else’s fault.
We don’t do it on purpose, it’s survival, it’s what our brain requires in order to keep an adequately balanced level of sanity as we grow older. To be more or less at peace with ourselves, it’s like emptying the trash bin in our computer, only that instead of being full with filthy filthy gay midget porn is filled up of guilt and remorse.
Remorse, same as midget porn, is something we don’t really need in our life, we can usually just get rid of it so we don’t have to go around getting depressed or haunted by the ghost of Christmas past.
Memory: Brunoooooooo!!!! You made a mistake back in 1997, remember? It’s time to feel bad about it.
Bruno: Fuck that shit, it was my second cousin’s friend’s fault, I didn’t do anything wrong.