Immortality had its price

I generally hate waking up. You would think that 750 years of life would mean you got used to waking up in the morning, or at least achieved one of these mythical “good habits” that people speak of whereby waking up early or at all becomes easier after a bit of time and routine. Not for me though.

Waking up today is particularly annoying. My head is throbbing, both from the alcohol and the memories. Unlike a normal day where I just wake up with a massive hangover, today I’m saddled with all of the memories from the past 750 years flooding back to me with complete clarity. This has happened to me only four other times in my life – age 150, 300, 450 and 600. All boring years, one happy birthday and three sad.

Apart from my glorious 150th birthday – the day I realised I was immortal and had my memory wiped every 15 years – each time I directly pin pointed the same memory and cried at the realisation of my life. You see, in my 155th year, the authorities caught on to the fact that I was immortal and laid a trap to capture me for study. Standard theory being that if one guy is immortal, studying him can help us make everyone immortal.

I had considered myself particularly smart at the point of my 150th birthday, when I woke up and realised that I was 150 years old and it’s wasn’t just the last 15 years that were a rollercoaster of amnesia. I’m not sure why that made me feel smart. It was probably the multitude of knowledge that I suddenly had back at my fingertips – of books read and forgotten, friendships forged and lost, behaviours learned and unlearned. I spent the day writing in journals and making clues for myself in case I woke up without a memory the next day.

Of course, I did lose my memory the next day, but at least I woke up next to a woman. Her name was Tammy and she insisted that I was her husband. It’s hard to not be paranoid when you’ve lost all your memory so I was suitably sceptical. There were no pictures of us (apparently because we had recently moved after a fire burned down our house) which felt odd, but I did feel disarmed around her, so I eventually allowed myself to believe.

Then five years later came the betrayal. I found out she had hidden my journal from me, the one that explained my immortality. I confronted and yelled at her, but all this did was bring on the cavalry. So it was that they hauled me in and began testing.

Legally speaking they considered me outside the law. I’m. It sure how that worked but they were happy with it. Two decades were filled with invasive tests and a reset of my memory that made me feel so bewildered, nothing has ever topped it.

Now they have me in a simulation that feels something like the Truman Show. They don’t know what that is, but I still remember it. They don’t know that I have clear memory every 150 years, even though they are fully aware of the 15 year reset. I’ve kept it very close to my chest as I slowly but surely plot my escape from beings which I no longer consider my kin.

– Originally posted on Reddit in response to a Writing Prompt by user Metafrank

My bookcase

I got this bookshelf from my mom for my mother a few years back as a birthday present. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Billy bookcase, but the simplistic and beautiful design of this one just makes me happy whenever I look at it. Of course, it’s what’s inside that counts for the most.

At the moment we’re mid-move. That is, we’ve put our place up for sale, but have no where to move on to. We were a bit crammed into our space, with four more bookcases dominating the space where one now sits. The Billys got dismantled and put in storage and the books they held were transported bag by bag over to my parents place for safe keeping.

The dilemma we faced as we completed this task was to decide which books stayed and which went for a long sleepover at my parents. Clearly, there is no way we’d reread all of our books (or in some cases, like the hefty biography on Oppenheimer, “American Prometheus,” read for the first time) in the interim period between places, but it was a case of having the right mix.

Cookbooks had to stay. There are plenty of good ideas knocking about the Internet, but I like the way cookbooks are put together and the inspiration they can provide to try different flavours and techniques. I don’t like following recipes to the t though, it just doesn’t feel right. My favourite is the “Waje, Wide o en kock,” a Mexican cookbook by a Swedish chef that spent some time down in Mexico and California. Nothing likely Mexican food made from the bottom up, including corn tortillas.

Next, I had to keep the lovely leather bound numbers of “Is it for us alone?” That my fiancé made me. Not to read, but just to be there. They make me feel all nice and lovely inside, even after a particularly stressful day.

With me, the majority of books seem to be Sci-fi or fantasy (represented here by Adams, Banks, Simmons, Rowling and Pratchett, amongst others). Sometimes it’s definitely escapism, but often I find they’re much better at exploring our societal debates by taking us out of our world and into another (e.g. The much talked about “Hand Maidens Tale,” by Le Guin, though personally I like, “The Word For World is Forest.”). That’s not to say other novels can’t do that, but I just like the way Sci-fi and fantasy writers go about it.

There is then a sprinkling of my fiancé’ books from studying English at university (Mallory stands out as one that’s particularly chunky and easy to see). I’ve also got some random work related books – the riveting, “Reinsurance Fundamentals,” and the hardly opened, “Risk management in banking.”

As I finish typing this post I realise that the choice of what should stay ended up entirely random. We knew we’d see the other books again so we packed up what was in the Billys or was not quite fitting in to the current set up for the brown bookcase. I thought that it was more thought out than that, but I was wrong.

For now, I’ve confined new book purchases to the kindle, but I won’t be able to stay away from the feel of physical books when we’ve got new bookcases to fill.

– Standing outside Queensway Station, London and finished on the District Line