Ugh. Haven't been awake so early in years. 4:30 am. What the heck am I doing up now? Mind you, there was a time when this hour knew me well. Yes, 4:30 was part of my routine. Up with the alarm clock, dressed and shivering, run to the corner of Smith and Jarvis where the stack of newspapers is waiting for me. Take an armful into the nearest apartment and .... Whoa! Wait a moment. Wait just a moment. That is not my memory. Sorry. I never did any of that stuff. I don't know where Smith and Jarvis is, or if the intersection even exists. Now that I am wider awake I can't remember getting up this early since my kids were little. Funny how real it all seemed, though. I could smell the dewy grass, feel the darkness wrap me like a pullover. I must have tapped into someone else's dreams. Enough to make you believe in the idea of a race memory, a collective unconscious wherein we all have a bully of a big brother, and a high school sweetheart, and an early morning paper route. Speaking of bulllies reminds me of a funny scene yesterday afternoon. Driving through a mixed part of town -- houses for rent, small retail outlets, old folks home, rundown church -- I saw a street gang. A dozen guys and girls looking very provocative with their tattoos and cigarettes. They were hanging out in front of -- get this -- a store that does alterations. Yup, that's right. Forget the pool hall, the scummy bar, the parkette with the basketball court. Here was the disaffected youth of Cobourg, sitting astride their bicycles, dead-eyed cool, and the sign in the background said: PANTS HEMMED WHILE U WAIT. It was all just too darned cute. Almost as cute as the picture up there. I honked and waved as I went past. One of the kids looked over, a half-frown on his face as he searched his soul for a collective memory of whatever it is that I am.
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