Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Study on Phobias and New Residences

It’s early. I imagine things crawling around the edges of my room, their tiny legs whispers of the thoughts that crawl through my mind. I am waiting here. I toss and turn, become a caterpillar of sheets and blankets, linens that hold in my heat. I boil. Become a burrito, the likes of which my sister was when she hopped through the house in a sleeping bag 15 years ago. The things I have done…they come back now, their images forever immortalized in full-color, sepia, black and white. I am haunted by them, as I am tormented by these creatures that scurry. Their trajectories criss-cross my memory and make me up. I am ample and untapped, teeming with stories and emotion.

This marks the first time I’ve woken up well before I had to and gave up my attempts to return to sleep. If insomnia is to plague me in years to come, I have two things to say about it. First, I am thankful that there are years to come. Second, I hope that things will pour out of my fingers during this time. Ink will drip, words will jumble and re-string themselves in thoughtful and brilliant patterns, and I will finally look at something I’ve produced and smile.

The birds hop and peck, arranged in hopelessly random patterns, but patterns that when viewed from above seem to take shape in predictable form. They are unknowingly creating the fabric of life, existence driven by instinct, by the haphazard, but also by some thought, some glimmer in someone’s eye, some harsh and cruel happiness unfathomable and insecure and mysterious, that reveals, if only one small piece at a time, the next step to take, the next place to flap our wings and fly.

Furious and defeated. Birthday overshadowed by battles with various arthropods. We stand, incapacited, clutching our water glasses and broms nad economics textbooks, our instruments of battle, our weapons against these voiceless and utterly creepy assailants. We, two college-educated adults, terrified and dismayed by something that cannot hurt us, does not want to hurt us, and has stumbled accidentally into our world. By mistake. Well, the mistake is ours. We are the unfortunate ones, even if it is the one that meets its demise. (this last is probably untrue.) We break our moral objections to hurting other living things, to toxifying our environment. Our peace is degredated. Chaos begets chaos. The piles of miscellaneous items haphazardly strewn abou seem to bred mystery...and things that crawl.

I wonder about these walls, what they’ve witnessed. The door frame shows telltale signs of having been kicked in, once up on a time. The wooden pieces are broken diagonally, the seam painted over unconvincingly. The walls bear so many small holes where dozens of pieces of personality have adorned the place.

This is some weird headspace. I watch the bug, of which I am so afraid, struggle in the plastic, cylindrical, airtight prison we’ve given it. And then the strangest thing happens. I feel sorry for it. There is no way out. We’ve ensured its suffering and bestowed upon our household an aura of death and dying.

I lock my door with satisfaction and step out into the stifling haze and blinding light of Atlanta summer. I've run around this neighborhood now, the anonymity of only peers evaporated as I leave the College Town permanently behind. The old man on his front porch rocking chair waved as I worked my way slowly past. Here, there is pen on my sheets and coffee on my breath. The mail man, when approached, talks for too long, hungry for human contact on his lonely rounds. The crepe myrtles burst with ugly pink and white blossoms, littering the pavement-ready street with derelict beauty-infused petals.
Now I stand at a computer at my new job. My head bends over my receipts and I click the end of my pen in fruststration. It's so dark here.My shoulders droop in the familiar uniform, everything so similar but so different. The faces smile blandly bewildered at my sudden appearance, my built-in knowledge, my strange position of pseudo-power. They ask me what I studied in school, what a five-letter word for "fancy feather" is, but now who I am or what I'm doing this weekend. I leave the cavernous, dark store with a pocket full of five-dollar bills, a bag of food and a hollow feeling in my stomach that isn't hunger.

They smile at one another, acknowledging some strand of wit, some comment against the establishment that has passed between them. No one finds it strange that neither of them fits easily into a social category, or even into a predictable sexual orientation. They are accepted, their peculiarities a badge of honor. Without the others, they would be shunned perhaps. Why, then, must they necessarily posess the same peculiarities as everyone else does? What value does a blonde streak and a dirty t-shirt lend to a person? A piercing? No one is any more qualified than another to proudly declare themself the outskirts of society. Still...there are many forms of beauty. And I find that this batch of people, with all their mild hypocricies, infinitely more capable of appreciating more of them.

1 comment:

c.alexander said...

so i just clicked on the tag "patterns" on a whim (i like patterns...) and found this lovely surprise. i really enjoyed reading this. thank you.