Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sometimes I venture into town

It's okay to live inside, away from the heat and cold, the acid rain and blistering sun, close to the indoor plumbing and wiring, the local area networks, the password protected portals to another life, the second life, it's okay to live like a mouse in the wall, only to come out through the HVAC vents at night to filch stale crumbs off the kitchen counter, leaving little droppings as evidence, scurrying back to your hiding place before the humans get out of bed to go to the toilet. They won't mistake those effin pellets for caraway seeds. It's okay to live like that, furtive, alien, afraid of other creatures except as mediated by expensive software, through earphones, via pixels, deep inside yourself, a mechanical owl whose retinal membrane is baffled by daylight. Gotta carry eye-drops with you wherever you go, puffy cheeks.

It's okay to get ripped, bent over the sink, dependent, weak, your legs barely holding up that jelly gut of yours, unsteady and filled with bilious rage, the burning liquor that eats you up from the inside. The ancient rehearsed tirades blow through your brain -- you hate this, you hate that, some bastard did you wrong, the world is a hell-hole, there is no god only a devil, etcetera etcetera. Your whole being quakes. Pools of light explode behind your eyes. You want to reach way down past your throat and through the esophagus to rip out the soft sick tissue festering below your ribs. You want to be somewhere else, anywhere but here, inside this swollen body with its tremors and its stink. You want to soar above the messy life of sweat and piss and shite. Good luck. Go ahead and try, waxwings.

Living inside, you're a bloody bore, even to yourself. Drugs don't make you interesting, you know, they just make you duller. Even the effin mirror yawns at you. You've got a cramp in the arse from sitting so long, reading the news, letting the rage build up, the news from Washington, the news from Wall Street, the news from the other side of the world, the side that lies in darkness, where the men wear turbans and the women walk veiled through unsanitary markets. Ah! -- the news: earthquakes, terrorism, falling currencies, volcanoes, the war on drugs, the war on sanity, the war on consciousness, the war on sex, the war on civility, the war on intelligibility, the endless effin war, the real war and the imaginary war, nothing but war in the news. The dirty little war between your head and your heart. You think to yourself, how will it play out, this war. Who will win? Will there even be a winner? The war inside. You sit there losing the war against boredom.

If you live inside long enough you'll forget what it is to walk uphill out of breath, red-faced, perspiring, a creature just like any other filling its allotted time on earth. Or what it is to listen to the titmice chitter in the underbrush as the sun sets over Holland Mountain. The smell of wet leaves and pine needles, of wood fires. The sound the wind makes in the rafters of the dilapidated barn on Walling Road in Amity. Amity -- nice name for a town, if only it were true. If you live inside long enough you won't remember how to smile when someone passes you in the street and says, "Hello, have a happy Thanksgiving!" You'll open your mouth to say something in response, but you will have forgotten the words "thank you" and "you, too." You'll stand there, heaving with the effort of breathing and remembering, dumbfounded, staring at the back of the friendly figure walking away from you. Yes, poot, life outside is very difficult. It's okay to go back inside and cut yourself off from the rest of the world. It's really okay -- lots of your fellow humans are doing the same thing. Listening to muzak, sitting there in their underwear, bored with themselves, bored with you.

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