On Friday, I'll be standing in the same gap I was when I nearly lost a friend to the mountain. I hope I don't this time through.
The mountains aren't terribly forgiving if you aren't ready to fight for your life. It's highly unlikely that the mountain will be friendly, and I've had my share of close scrapes. Unfortunately for me, they happen to mostly be my less glorious experiences. There's nothing romantic or adventurous about being cold, wet, and tired, out of potable water, and 50 miles from the nearest human soul.
To tell the stories, sometimes, borders on egotism, for it's usually a story of personal triumph over something you shouldn't be able to win against. The story is always one of personal struggle, in which the human participant becomes the giant, a larger-than-life hero who was doing little more than survive.
It's amazing how, when these stories are told, they grow to substantial proportions, and the adversity always multiplies itself by much more than the hero.
This isn't a conscious thing, I don't think. I suspect that most of it has to do with how the person wants to show who they are, and that worries me a bit. When I think back to the stories I could tell, and there are many, am I remembering actual events, or am I remembering how I wish I had acted? Is my memory intact, or am I creating my memories as I go?
Finally, does it matter?
If I were telling memories that never happened, am I lying? How would you see it? If the memories seem fully real, then did they happen? If they're real memories, but I modify them, then is that an outright lie still? If there was no memory, but by the end of the day I've told the story so often that it has become part of my memory, does that make it real?
I don't know. I don't really care. I'm unhappy with stories that I feel have lifted me beyond who I actually am, which have given me powers over things I should not have power over, which have attributed to me what should be attributed to dumb luck.
Some of my stories might never be told because of that. Is that a good thing?