Sinéad is a nurse over here in St. Joe. I still have no idea what she looks like. The two times I've met her I've been so blacked-out on Ativan that she's been this light leaning in. At least the first time. I'd forgotten that people like her existed. Seemingly without agenda. Not casting any frown that isn't totally justified — because no smile is faked. You would feel that energy, and be humbled.
She's probably not that way, as that would be a wild coincidence. My thoughts and feelings don't create reality. And they only connect with it on occasion, from what I gather.
That was the second time I'd tried getting my heart surgery. As it turns out, it's the Ativan they keep giving me. I'm schizoaffective. They figure if they don't give me Ativan I'll go psycho. After all, I do go psycho. Every time. And go to rip out my IV and then take off.
Except one milligram of Ativan, every two hours, will add up after a day or so.
Oh well. It's too late. Sinéad was actually the last one to deal with me the last time (the sixth time) I'd tried to get the quadruple bypass. I came out of my blackout in the midst of some kind of terrible conflict, over at the cardiac ward. I knew it was a bad idea, but I told her right then, while I was conscious, and with her, that I'd thought about her every day since I'd seen her half a year earlier. She laughed right in my face. That's when I went to go rip out the IV for the final time.
The illusion of light and my longing for it do prove, though, that I love the light. And in the darkness that gives me hope. Especially the darkness near a very big existential relocation, where I may finally get to be the light I love. Schizoaffective keeps me permanently in the darkness, but I'm not of it. These fleeting thing-images may or may not be of it, but I reject my world. It's the darkness, so I should be rejecting it. And I'd rather be in the darkness standing for light than in the light standing for darkness.
The Sex Pistols cassette was the first tape of "real music" that I owned. At first I was shocked by the mix, as odd as that may be. Whatever normal production sounded like, this wasn't it. It was attack. But I got it instinctively. It had a real excitement.
Just thinking tonight of my lifelong relationship with the music of John Lydon, and the thought of what he represents. I tend to agree that the second PiL album was the first post-rock album. I agree that the Sex Pistols album is the cornerstone of punk rock. To me those ideas lead to a weighing of John Lydon and, say, Steve Albini, or Henry Rollins. I was thinking the other day that Henry was responsible for more music than Lydon, if you consider that Henry's idea to slow down the music of Black Flag, in imitation of Black Sabbath, was not only one of the major statements at the beginning of post-hardcore, but was also the birth of sludge metal, which gave rise to stoner metal, as well as to grunge, which gave rise to all of 90's alternative rock. Johnny Rotten, though, was the biggest of the punk icons, including Henry, and the music of the Pistols may have been more important than that of any other punk band, including Iggy, the Ramones, The Clash, etc. And he was there at the beginning of post-punk, along with Siouxsie, Joy Division, Gang of Four, and The Cure. (That is a fairly tough question, I guess.)
There's also my pondering on what he's meant to me. What it meant, as a young person, to push against everyone in anger. I do that now only when I can't stop from doing it. I can't imagine a time when I did it and didn't have to. What a terrible thing it is to give us the mantra that "anger is an energy", as if suggesting we learn how to put it to use. And how close to truth he came when he wrote, "I could be wrong. It could be hate." Maybe I should also be close to truth, in that one sense. After all, I'm sitting here meditating on someone else's shortcomings.
I spent New Year's Day in a psych hospital near the MSU campus. After I ended up getting out, I met up with my old friends at the bar, and had one last meaningful drink. There was no way to hang on to the social connections anymore, and no one felt the need to hide it. That was the very end of my six years at college. I had to leave a month before graduating. I couldn't hold it together anymore. Back home I ended up getting arrested a couple times, went to jail once, to the ICU the other time. Eventually had my stomach pumped three times that year. Got kicked out and had to go live in Detroit with my ex's parents. My first group home was that year. Plus two stints in a Detroit psych hospital that were wildly hellish. That year was scary as fuck. This year is too.
I'd made my living by my eyes as a filmmaker, despite being almost completely deaf. I'd built a tower for myself with my wealth, so I could look out on to the Atlantic Ocean, practically from the viewpoint of the gods. And then I lost my eyesight.
I could hire attendants, of course. I could still live in my tower—my symbol of hubris and excess. But I was alone with my mind.
I had my memories of the perfect, circular view, two hundred feet above the beach, and much of the time that was enough. But my condition, by definition, was relentless.
The picture windows in my penthouse reached fifty feet. My bedroom was up near the top of the massive space, in the middle, reached via a winding staircase. (I would never have thought how dangerous my bedroom would become to me.) I'd been up there now for over a day, too afraid to leave my bed. No one had come up, everything felt as if it were silent, but there had been a storm raging for days. When there had been people coming by to take care of me, I could feel the wind and the rain vibrating on the massive windows below and around my bedroom floor, and my attendants had signed into my hand to stay inside and be careful. But soon they had stopped coming by, and soon I had become too afraid to leave my bed.
By the time two full days had passed alone, I had to risk investigating the state of things outside. I felt reduced to the over-riding needs for food, and drink, and space to move. My bedroom was comfortable normally, but it had become cramped. My fear couldn't outweigh the drive for essentials.
Now feeling out for the railing, I found the top of the stairs. It was a descent I'd made a thousand times. It could pose no real danger, I was certain. The penthouse would be empty, although I knew its layout well-enough. But something felt wrong. As if there were something wrong with the air. I set my foot down onto the first stair, and it sank up to the ankle in cold ocean water.
I'd slept so horribly, feeling as if I were on pins and needles. They weren't needles, though. Once I was awake I could see that they were little castles on the floor. Like the underwater faux coral in a fish tank. My bed was gone. Standing up on the floor hurt my bare feet. What was that stuff? And why was the overhead light standing upright on the floor?
Pete glanced over at the switchboard, leaned over with one hand — balancing a sandwich in his mouth with the other — and hit the yellow flashing button, calming its insistent peripheral noise. "Do you really think it takes that long to learn the work here?"
Malcolm shrugged. "I picked it up in about a month. It won't take you long."
Attending to the next flashing button, and then peering through the thick plastic casing into the darkness inside the tank, Pete could see movement, clearly, but got no sense of what was moving inside. It seemed to be a kind of viscous black fluid. "Tell me now."
"About what's in there?" Malcolm grabbed the other half of the sandwich.
"Yeah. I've been here a week and a half, and no one will tell me what we're sitting here looking after."
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you, Pete."
Pete sniffed and took another bite. With his mouth full he said, "I actually would."
Malcolm pointed toward the glass. "Those are spiders, dude."
"What the fuck?"
"I know, man. Those are little spiders. I mean it. There are millions of them."
Pete shook his head in such disgust that it became more of a shudder. "It pays well. But we don't need ever think about that again."
"Yeah, Pete. No question. No one ever talks about it."
Malcolm bit into his half of the sandwich and nodded while chewing. "It's simple, dude. Just don't hit the flashing yellow button. That'll open the tank right on us, buddy. But other than that, there's never anything to worry about. And besides, we'd get another warning light if that were about to happen."
It's about simplifying in order to make decisions. How do I remember that the HTML for an ellipsis is hellip and not ellip? Because if it were ellip, for ellipsis, I wouldn't be wondering in the first place about whether or not there's an "h" in there. Some choices can be reduced to binaries, and that helps with decision-making.
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