Doctor Higgens suggested a journal. Honestly, I've no idea what a journal would do to alleviate the waking nightmares that stalk my existence with the persistence of death and taxes, but whatever. He wants a journal, so I suppose I'll keep a journal.
I'd record a date, but dates are meaningless in my peculiar state. I can't trust any part of my reality, so lets just record the number of days I've been keeping this journal.
That wasn't so hard, was it? Now, what the hell do I write?
Begin at a beginning. Not the beginning, because who the fuck knows what the beginning is anyways. Even physicists and cosmologists can't stop arguing about it.
Anyway, a beginning. Today's beginning for me. That sounds like as good a place to start as any.
My eyes peeled open against the crust of sleep to a darkened room. Only the light of a microwave with no clock set illuminated the heavy shadows before me. My body ached enough to assure me the temperature of the room was cold, probably below 60F. It was the only thing that made my hands hurt like this.
I kicked the sheet and twisted blanket from my naked legs and relished the sweet feeling of cold air caressing my sweaty skin. I had wrapped myself too well last night, and my automatic temperature control had failed to free me in my sleep.
Slowly rolling over, I looked to the laptop next to me, pushed closed before I slept to silence the noises of the fan and hard drive, and to end the ceaseless glare of LED screen. Lifting the lid and stroking the mouse, the screen sprang to life with an unforgiving brightness, tempered only by the nighttime effects of f.lux. The colors were soft and orange, not the blue starkness of the morning sun.
The screen filled with the movie I had paused before sleeping. I couldn't remember what movie it was, or what it was about. Something senseless to cool the incessant chatter in my head of thoughts, worries, and concerns. Apparently, it worked. I didn't quite feel rested, but I did at least feel alive. That was more than some days.
Mustering a fleeting thread of consciousness, I checked my email. Fifteen messages since last I looked. Peering blearily at the oldest unread message, it looked as though I had been sleeping since before 6 pm. It was now, oh, hell. Only 11:47 pm. The rest of this morning would likely be a battle between the desire to sleep and the unyielding voices that prevent me from succumbing to the rejuvenating mists each day.
Fuck it again. Looking closer, I didn't see a single message that drew me in enough to read it. I minimized my browser and started to lay back, to stare at the shadow of a ceiling in the darkness. It was then that I noticed how much I really had to pee. My bladder taught, like a distended kickball suspended in my belly, the urge to urinate fierce inside of me, I tried to stand carefully, without stepping on anything, and without tripping over the detritus of my bachelor life.
The dirty carpet was noticeable only as a lack of coldness below my feet as I stumbled in the bare reflection of the laptop bouncing from the wall it faced. I nearly stumbled over the cardboard of broken down boxes I'd never taken to the trash. One box slipped under my foot as I took a careful step.
I squeezed my eyelids tightly as I felt the bathroom wall for the switch, flipping it, then cringing at the sound of the fan I'd turned on instead of the light. Flipping it again, then sliding my fingers the scant inch higher, I tried again, forgetting to keep my eyes closed, and wincing as the blinding bulbs sent their piercing photons crashing into the back of my cranium like spears, and every bit as painful. So much for a gentle introduction to the light.
I squinted at the toilet, fooled once again by the cracked porcelain at the base of the bowl into thinking something was inside of it. With a bit of a glare at my reflected visage, I sat, and sprang a leak worthy of a race horse, on and on, letting out the accumulated poisons filtered through my kidneys, and making me wonder yet again why we were supposed to drink so much water. Surely something the body works so hard to rid itself of on a daily basis can't be all good. I sighed at this casualty of this ongoing battle of hydration being waged daily at the boundaries of our corporeal essence. Attack from the mouth, another liter of water consumed. Counterattack from the urinary system, another pint expulsed.
Finally, the near painful pressure subsided, and my consciousness allowed for more to the world than this primary function of biology. I tugged and prodded at the interior of my mind and planned the next few minutes of my life. Coherence seemed neither particularly near, nor particularly far. I had no pressing thoughts consuming me, nor urging their expulsion, but neither did the phantasm of sleep seem to be close enough to haunt my mind as yet.
I rose from the toilet, turned, and flushed, noting that once again, my urea was nearly colorless. Dehydration did not seem to be a current problem, though how it couldn't be when I had seemingly expulsed the contents of the ocean, I had no idea. Turning to the sink, and once again facing the stark reality of my reflection in the mottled mirror, I twisted the faucet and reached into the frigid water to wash my hands. I splash cold water into my face and immediately regretted both the ineffectiveness at removing dried sweat from my brow, and the chilled blood sent seemingly directly into my brain.
I turned off the water, grabbed the towel that had somehow found its way down to the floor, and made a mockery of drying myself with its resultant dampness. I hung the red terrycloth, smelling faintly of mildew, back over the shower curtain rod. There was one piece of cloth that needed to make it into the next load of laundry.
I moved the various muscles of my body, feeling ache and tightness in my shoulders, between and under the shoulder blades, down along my spine, and up along my neck. With fingers, I sought out tight muscles well up my next, extending to my temples. Without release I didn't have the patience for at this time of not morning, I was bound to have a headache later. I worked my fingers into the muscles, pushing harder than was pleasant, but hoping against hope that it would be enough. I massaged back along the scalp, then worked my fists into the rock of my neck and felt a slight give. It just might be enough.
My knees and ankles creaked as I tested them for function. I rolled my right ankle in circles and sure enough, crack, crack, crack, creak, then nothing. I'd read recently that dissection of corpses revealed muscles would fuzz together, and ever since, I'd lived in terror of waking one morning to muscles that refused to function, my body finally committing the coup it threatened after every surprise workout punctuating a lifetime of idleness. I shook and bounced, and put the hopefully nonsensical fear aside.
Looking through the open door, I saw the pile of unfolded clothing dumped artlessly on the floor looking short and sparse. Laundry day was coming, if not today, then very soon, but yes, I saw underwear, a shirt, and pants. I could go at least today without. I flipped the switch again, and the bathroom went dark.
I walked through the darkness, which seemed even more impenetrable than when I'd awoken, and rounded the corner into the kitchen, kicking the scale on the floor. Cursing and hobbling, I flailed at the wall and managed to turn on the light. None of the fruit on the counter appealed to my still sleeping stomach, and I pulled open the refrigerator. Fresh ingredients were plentiful, tomatoes, fennel, lettuce, raw fish, and grass fed beef. A couple half gallon mason jars with water and tea, and multiple sizes full of chicken stock. Butter and hot sauces in the door. Not one thing was ready to grab and to eat though.
I was out of eggs, out of milk, hadn't had bread in, well in a long damn time. I grabbed a pear, a couple tomatoes, and closed the door. From atop the fridge, I opened a ziploc container full of nuts, and grabbed a handful of those. With full hands, I mashed the lightswitch off, and headed back to bed, munching nuts along the way.
Laying back in bed, setting the two disparate kinds of fruit beside me, I pulled the sheet over my body, fluffed up my pillow, and covered everything in my only blanket. I briefly closed my eyes and allowed myself to drift, before attention lit its wriggling fire in the neurons of my brain. I sighed, opened my eyes, and turned back to my computer.
Coherent thought was still so far from the annals of my mind, but sleep was busy haunting others just at the moment, the Sandman was fled or dealing with his own troubles and had not the time to deal with mine. YouTube or Facebook would have to do.
I alt-tabbed back to my browser and took another look at the near meaningless jumble of bits and letters until I recognized one from a game site I've wasted many a meaningless hour upon. Clicking on the link, I see markers of inaction and I wait. After an endless period of waiting, feeling like more than ten minutes, yet probably lasting that many seconds, I noticed the not so subtle signs of a lack of internet. Once again, I cursed the crap I call a provider.
I popped open another tab and connected to my router. Typing my password at this hour of the morning takes longer than I care to admit. I navigate to the utilities and reboot the router. "I'll be back," it proclaimed in its best Schwarzenegger impression (which is in fact quite terrible). 75 seconds, I'm expected to last before it returns. I resisted the urge to leave my bed and watch the router lights. No amount of staring will be enough to make this molded shell of plastics and silicon more reliable or less frustrating.
Finally, the page reloads to an error page, not even the interminable 75 seconds being long enough to allow diseased hardware and software to communicate with the behemoth mother ship. I glare at the connecting icon in my system tray, and suddenly it is connected. I type google in the address and sure enough, up comes a page that any thousand script kiddies could probably recreate and simulate in their sleep, and I believe I'm home free, connected, alive again.
I close the tab and reload my email. By now, the meaning of every word has been forgotten. Sleep has returned from whence it fled and is quite willing to haunt me again. The Sandman has finished his mission, and is prepared to give me another dose of slumber. But no, now my stubborn will is engaged. I can't allow a shitty service provider to send me back to bed.
I argue, fight, and claw. Seeing an email from Amazon listing wonders of instant viewing, I seek out some banal crap which might allow me to return to sleep on my own terms, instead of those of enforced inaction. I'm not even sure what I chose. Within scant seconds of the sounds emanating from my speaker, my eyes are closed. Sleep blindsides me like a ghost train whipping the life out of a pedestrian dropping dead on the empty tracks.