Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A comfortable hell

I pass by a row of houses on a street in a neighborhood. Several of them aren't lit, and they seem abandoned, and they mostly just form big dark shapes. There's one that's lit, however, and it's a long one, with two front porches - one at each end. There are waist high wooden rails enclosing these little porches, and the porch lights are turned on. The rest of the house in between the two porches is lit by a dim backscatter, and there are a few darkened windows. My imagination takes over and I can see inside that house. I know what it's like in there... not necessarily the precise layout, but I know the feel of it. I've been in that house before, in a dream. I can feel it. It's an attractive feeling, one that I wouldn't mind dwelling inside of for an eon or two. That stagnant, warm, all encompassing embrace of apathetic comfort. Something about it is rotten, but I don't mind.

There's another house that isn't lit at all. It's another long one, set about 50 feet back from the road by a dark, wide lawn. There's a lamp post standing there at the top of a brief series of steps with an accompanying hand rail, and there's a sidewalk that continues on up to the house. The lamp is one of those old style street lamps which are made to look like they're supposed to burn gas. It's a tall, black lamp, and it only casts a dim light, as if it were on its last leg and about to go out. There is a huge, round tree situated off to the far right. There's only a vague outline delineating it from the sky, causing it to look like its just growing out of the side of the house. I can feel the dream memory of this house too... but somehow I know, without actually knowing, that I've never been inside of this one. All of the dark energy surrounding this house is focused right here on the steps, with the railing and the black lamp. I'd have to wait here for a long time before I could go inside. I'd sit right here, at the foot of these steps, under the wan light of this dark lamp and wait... forever dreaming about walking up that long, infinite walkway, and into darkness.

There was one area where a house was supposed to be, but wasn't. It was just a black expanse, with a copse of trees to either side. I could see the remains of a broken, crumbling foundation, and beyond that, just inky dark. I stood there and regarded it for several minutes, waiting for some kind of feeling to identify it to me. I never felt anything though, except for an urge to get away from it, which I did. Quickly.

This is that dreamy feeling; the one I've talked about before and keep trying to describe. It's a lumbering, smothering tide... foamy and soporific, and pulsating with a long, slow feeling of lethargy. It's just a feeling, but it's also a thing... dead and heavy, like a sticky black steepness, accompanied by the stench of slowly undulating moments that pass unnoticed inside of a comfortable hell.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pain shaker (good name for a band)

Everybody feels pain, right?  I'm pretty sure we all do... but I think you can break that normal variety of common pain up into little pieces, and depending on how you add them up and put them back together, you'll get different flavors. 

For instance - pain can taste good sometimes.  Kind of like how nobody ever notices that carbonation actually hurts like a bitch.  Why do we do that?  Think about it.  Drinking a Coke hurts, so why do billions of people do it and come back for more?  Huh?  Why is that?  Are we all just stupid, deep down? 

And slurpees hurt, too.  I'd even venture to say that brain freeze is probably the most agonizing thing you can experience as a result of just going about your regular old uninteresting daily business.  I had one today, and it was just about the most agonizing thing that I've ever felt, and I'm not exaggerating.  The pain was debilitating. I was at work, and I had to stop what I was doing right then and there and just wait for the unbearable, excruciating agony to pass.   The customer at my register thought I was having a seizure, and was on the verge of dialing 911. That's how bad this stupid brain freeze thing hurt.  After it was over though, I took another long slurp of slurpee.  Am I retarded?  Seriously, am I?

And then there's spicy food. Chili peppers and wasabi, and what not.  That stuff hurts! Why do we do it? Why do we put fire in our mouths, and enjoy it?  It makes me think about that movie, K-Pax, and how Proat described the physical act of sex for his species as an overwhelming feeling of nausea, accompanied by the sensation of having your nuts squeezed in a vice while being rolled around in corroded alien sauerkraut.  When you think about it though, is that really all that different from putting a hot poker in your mouth and enjoying it?

So anyway. When I started writing this I was feeling pretty depressed, and my intention was to prepare this elaborate and profound exposition on the delicate subject of personal pain, seasoned with a dash of self pity to make it serious, and definitely not a joke.  But then the lid came off of whatever shaker it was that I was shaking, and this thing happened instead.


Occasionally something happens to me that causes me to question my sanity with actual bona-fide fear. An event occurs which escapes the parameters within which I define reality.  You know, common sense reference points.  Things you rely on, that you can count on, like... the Sun will rise, the Sun will set, there is oxygen in the air, the moon is up there going around the earth, I have a job, I know people, my mom loves me. Things like that. Things that are facts.

Then a thing happens that throws all of that right out the window. Just tosses all of that away like a piece of paper thrown out the car window, like it weren't never worth anything at all.  Your sanity.  Tosses your sanity out the window.  My sanity.  I guess that's what I'm getting at.  So here's what happened:

Tonight I got off work and I walked up to Albertson's to buy these steaks that they have on special.  They're buy 2 get 1 free, which is crazy, but they keep doing it, so I don't know... I guess they're crazy, so I keep going up there after work and buying them.  It's like the recent gas prices.  I never thought they would go below 3 dollars again, but here they are, below 3 dollars.  I guess the whole world is crazy, which is kind of what I'm getting at with this.  Anyway, back on track.

I bought the crazy steaks with the crazy prices at the crazy store, and I walked my crazy feet across the crazy highway to the crazy Racetrack convenience store.  What with everything being crazy and all, I did this crazy thing and went inside and bought a crazy bottle of crazy water.  Then I left.  With the water.  Right?  You'd think that's what would have happened, right?  That after doing that crazy thing; buying that crazy bottle of water and all, that I would then do this crazy thing, like... that I would actually leave the store with the water?  And that there wouldn't be anything crazy about it at all?  Huh?  Right?

So here's what happened. Again.  By the way, it may seem like I'm building up to some really big thing, but I'm really not. I mean, at the time it seemed completely insane to me - like it really was a really big thing, what with 'big' meaning 'insane', you know - and I still think that it was, but in hindsight it doesn't seem that way.  I mean, in retrospect it would seem to me that it wouldn't seem like a really big insane thing to someone that I might be telling this to, right?  Like, it seems that it would seem to be a big deal to me, but not to you, right?  If I put myself in your shoes?  Do you get it?  That is, what I'm getting at?   Do you get that?  Right!  ANYWAY!

So... so.  So what the heck does so mean, anyway?  What is that?  Why does it seem natural to continue an interrupted thought by re-introducing it with the word 'so'?  Is it just a sign of insecurity, like 'like'?  Or, you know... like, 'you know'?  I mean... aw crap.  Isn't 'I mean' one, too?  Anyway.  Hells bells. That's one too.  Isn't it?  Isn't 'anyway' another one?  Yeesh... whatever.  You know, 'whatever' is probably even another frikin' one, come to think of it... you know?  And you know another thing?  Fuck it, I'm tired.

So anyway!  I bought this bottle of water, and after I'd walked about a hundred yards away from the store, I decided that I wanted a drink.  And since I'd just purchased a bottle of water not a minute and a half ago, I figured that I would just take me a nice drink out of it... only.  Only, you see... only there weren't no bottle of water...! 

? thought I, as I rummaged through my plastic bag - the exact same plastic bag inside of which I had fully expected my bottle of water to be contained.  However, this was not the case, as it was not there.  I realize that it's strange that I should wax eloquent over such a seemingly trivial matter, but unusual events compel me to do so.  Allow me reiterate, as this is a fairly important observance - THE BOTTLE OF WATER WAS NOT THERE. 

The bottle of water - the one i had just purchased - was not in my plastic bag.  I looked inside of it and all through it... up, down, left, right, forward, backward, inside, outside, between, betwixt and behind, before during and after.  I retraced my steps to the store, and back again to the place where I'd first noticed that the bottle of water was missing... twice. I rummaged through my bag again.  You know, that plastic bag I was just going on about.  I went through it the same way, again.  I mean, there ain't a whole lot of real estate inside a plastic bag for a bottle of water to take up residence, you know?  Well, continuing under the assumption that I am a relatively sane person with no legitimate reason to fabricate a story about whatever this is going to turn out to be about, I'll continue. 

So (there's that word again), having searched for the bottle of water that I had just purchased only minutes before, and having come up empty handed, I was understandably befuddled, now wasn't I?  Certainly.  I had just purchased a bottle of water, but I didn't have the bottle of water.  I'd searched well for that bottler of water, high and low, but I still didn't have that bottle of water.  Anyone would have been befuddled.  I was legitimately befuddled as I retraced my steps to the store, and it was in this state of befuddlementness that I finally decided to go back inside and ask the clerk if I had even left the store with the dang thing in my possession in the first place, as this often happens at the 7-Eleven where I work.  I had high hopes, but to my dismay, the clerk seemed to be similarly befuddleded.  So, despondent, I thanked him, and as I was turning to leave, the clerk said, "Hey, just grab you another one.  No biggie."

Wow.  Incredible!  I thanked the guy - the clerk - my hero, over and over again, thinking about how rare it is that we'll run across an authentic human being during the normal course of events throughout the day, like this one, and how it kind of sucks that my default reaction when it actually does happen is to be amazed.  I kept thinking that though, that it was just incredible, and I kept thanking the guy as I walked out, and thinking, and thanking... and thinking.

Do you want to take a wild, random guess as to what happened next?  Do you?  Go on, I dare you.  Take a guess.  Come on, guess!  Guess!  Never mind.  As I was putting the bottle of water in my plastic bag, I saw a bottle of water in my plastic bag.