One of Those Days

Ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go right, a day where everything, in fact, goes the opposite of right? A day that deteriorates to comic proportions, everything about it unraveling until it becomes almost predictable. Every joke’s on you.

It seems almost surreal, doesn’t it, like a conspiracy of the universe to destroy you? Karma is pissing on your head. Practice deep breathing and visualization, stress management techniques and transcendental meditation. Practice aggressive passive aggression. Stay calm in the face of cacophonous calamity. It could be worse, right? The universe can only nod its head in your direction, an unwavering affirmative to your inquiry and thanks for asking. It could be worse and so it is. Care to wager again, double or nothing perhaps?

Laughing helps, but there’s a point where laughter becomes hollow and painful, a point where laughter makes the hurt worse. At some point the body and mind become numb, survival mechanisms kicking in and flooding your neural circuitry with endorphins to lessen the anguish. It could be worse becomes it’s not so bad. Turn that frown upside down and buck up buckeroo.

There’s always tomorrow.

Having a bad day? (by Missy13d69 on Flickr) – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

My Muse

There is a crazy lady sitting across the little cafe patio from me. She is laughing and talking to herself, sipping something out of a paper cup that may or may not be coffee. She has headphones on but they are not plugged into anything. She seems to be singing along to her own soundtrack.
Naturally I take my journal out and start to write, her antics having stirred my creative juices into motion. She begins eyeing me suspiciously. She stands up and begins to rearrange all the empty chairs near her. She takes something out of her pocket that looks like a wet t-shirt and begins slapping it on the tables. She is kicking chairs out of the way and slapping the tables as she approaches me, SLAP, SLAP, SLAP. She is still speaking to somebody, perhaps even herself.

What am I writing? she asks, more accusation than question.  I better not be writing about her, she screams.

Of course I write this all down in my notebook, and tell her I am writing a poem about the woman I love.

This seems to satisfy her and she gets a dreamy look in her eyes, like I have just reminded her about something long forgotten. She nods her head and walks away, throwing her paper cup and wet t-shirt in the trash, her untethered earphone cord swinging behind her.

I put my pen down finally, my inspiration gone. The muse has left me behind again.

My Mosquito

There is a mosquito in my room, blinking in and out of sight like a figment. I fear he is some sort of mutant mosquito, toying fleetingly with the power of invisibility. But always the sound betrays my little, bloodsucking friend. I say friend because he and I share a relationship, something deep and unspeakable. In my moments of most focused concentration, when I pander to the indulgence of reveling in my aloneness, as if through this isolation and self-exploration I may somehow discover profundity inside myself, there he is. Nothing more than a background vibration really, frantic yet soothing, surprising yet expected. It feels like terminal deja vu. It’s just me, the dust motes and the menacing blank page before me, and all of sudden the ghost-like return of my mosquito.

My isolation is an attempt at meditation, as I mine the deepest creases of my brain for inspiration. I am a writer of fiction supposedly, trying to construct a masterful work of literature from the ether of my own psyche, a task on par with producing gold bullion from a burning pile of dog poop. I long to write a story of consequence, of socio-psycho-significance, of earth shattering implication; a story of prize winning, career-launching quality. There are a million stories out there and all I have is this stupid mosquito.

Mosquito That Causes Malaria (by NIAID on Flickr)

Ah, inspiration!

Words begin gurgling to the surface, typed into the computer sooner than thought. Bloodsucker. Parasite. Plague. Malaria. West Nile. Suddenly I feel a flush come over me. West Nile. I read it out loud. I type it again, like this. WEST NILE is coming, if not already here! Forget the guns, the WMDs, the Al Queda splinter cell du jour. These little bloodsucking terrors are in our midst as we speak. What are you going to do? Lock the door? Live in a bubble?

I often find myself cursing beneath my breath at the disembodied sound when I hear it, halfway between a buzz and a squeak, simultaneously pathetic and menacing. It is appalling really, that my mosquito should always return, as if I had not made my feelings clear in the past. I tell him to stay away, that he is a bloodsucker, a parasite, a confirmed carrier of numerous deadly infections. Naturally, the very idea of any parasite sickens me, but this is because I live in denial. Parasites are everywhere. There are parasites living among us. We ourselves are parasites, sucking dry the blood of the earth.

Of course, the dance of the parasite requires a perfect balance. The parasite relies on the host for most of its sustenance, but must be careful to not injure the host too severely, because if the parasite kills the host then the parasite will also die. The truly successful parasite should be able to completely elude detection. In that sense, my mosquito is not at all successful. The sound of his maniacal buzz always divulges his presence, and I can tell he is growing closer as he hones in on his target, seemingly in eternal orbit around me.

Then the sound stops, and I notice he has alighted on the hairs of my right arm, and he is awkwardly burrowing for a purchase of skin. I wonder whether my friend realizes he is a parasite, that his company is not welcome. Perhaps he thinks we are old friends with an unusual handshake. Perhaps he thinks he is entitled to harvest a meal from the real estate that comprises the surface of my body. What are you thinking, my little friend? What are you thinking?

Donut Hut

Only one bad thing about traveling; the return to home, like a crash landing. Broke, burnt-out, mosquito-bitten, bad breathed, and culture shocked. All things of consequence mortgaged to finance six months of vagrant bliss, which suddenly and inevitably spirals back to this. Home.

Car sold, apartment relinquished, girlfriend gone, savings account on a horrible downward trajectory. Couch surf and search for employment. Scour the wants everyday and circle promising ads. Administrative Assistant. Busboy. Delivery. Sales Associate.

Fifty applicants per ad. Forced by desperation to accept something temporary perhaps. Like the graveyard shift at the Donut Hut. Just until something better comes along.

In the middle of the night, at Donut Hut, there are a few quiet moments. Eyes closed, the sounds of the video games take over, shooting, pinging and dinging. Step right up and witness the GREATEST SHOW on EARTH!! The Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey’s Circus pinball machines announces over and over when nobody is playing it. The only way to stop it is to tape an out of order sign on the front and unplug it. Enjoy these quiet moments, channeling past adventures and planning future ones. Live the moment has been mantra, but living the moment in Donut Hut is difficult. Relegate the moment to a later time. Relive past moments. Just until something better comes along.