Insomnia and a Strange Mood.

After a few hours of intoxicated sleep, I awoke sober and restless like usual, so I ate a bit and watched Better Call Saul on Netflix. It was passed ten in the morning by that time, so I tried to lay back down and get some more sleep, but I heard this high pitched buzzing that annoyed the hell out of me. I finally got up, trying to determine the source, but eventually gave up in frustration, crawling back into bed. I fell asleep — but awoke abruptly yet again. The buzzing was gone but I knew something was wrong.

Turning over, I looked at my alarm clock. It was off. The light in the bathroom that I always leave on was off, too. The electricity must have went out. I checked the time on my phone and went back to sleep.

At about 1:30 in the afternoon I got up, happy to find that the electricity was back on. I made some coffee and sat down at my laptop only to discover that my wireless router was fucked up, all the icons violently blinking blue. I unplugged it, plugged it back in, reset it — it made no difference. I had to plug cable directly into laptop.

It had been raining, so it isn’t necessarily strange that the electricity went off. Even so, as I sipped my coffee and watched some YouTube videos, I couldn’t shake how weird I felt. I was tired, but it wasn’t just that. Something just felt wrong.

In the shower I discovered a scratch right below my neck that burned when the water hit it. Had I scratched myself in my sleep?

I felt sort of strange yesterday, too; today has just become a more extreme manifestation. It’s that dark, intense, crisp and clear state of consciousness I occasionally have when the weirdness starts up in my life again, typically accompanied by increased anxiety. I feel “all eyes” — as if I my consciousness has withdrawn into my head and I have forgotten how to blink or have somehow gotten stuck on ocular high-beams. So are they back again? Or am I just paranoid and playing connect-the-dots again?

I have been reading Secret Life by David Jacobs. My mood seems connected to my reading the part regarding “visualization procedures.” These were the aspects of abductions I had not known about until some time after the flashbacks and incidents in high school. Having read it for the first time, I felt confirmation anxiety; I had not known about these aspects of the phenomenon through my reading, though I had experienced them since the beginning. Now that I’m reading the book again, cover to cover, did I trigger those same emotions? Is that why I feel so weird?

The Timely Tale of an Anxious, Directionless Jackass.

I had been out of cannabis for a day or so when, on Saturday, I drove to the Circle K a short distance from my apartment, checked the ATM and was happy to find that my check had finally gone through. After withdrawing some cash I called a friend I work with in the hopes of buying some plant-life, but after some time without a response, I texted Elizabeth and Jonas. They in turn got a hold of one of their cannabis contacts and said they would have him meet me at the fast food joint where Elizabeth and I work.

After spending a good deal of time waiting there, the guy still hadn’t showed and I was growing annoyed. This was taking longer than I’d hoped for. Did I really have to hang out at my shameful place of employment on one of my days off? Damn this place to their mythological hell for being a convenient halfway point between home and that goddamn college town. I texted Elizabeth. Her and Jonas weren’t able to get a hold of him, either, so they offered to let me hang out at their apartment until they could. If not, they knew another guy. While not a bad idea on the surface, my directional dyslexia made this quite a challenge in my mind. Yes, I had been to her apartment before, but it had been some time and I evidently cannot retain driving directions. Elizabeth asked if I remembered where Gabes was and I felt fairly certain I did — after all, it was on the same road as work was, albeit in the aforementioned college town.

Off I went.

Off my rocker, too, of course. Predictably, I couldn’t find the damned place. As I drove up and down the road, I almost wished that this was a foreign experience, though it was all too nauseatingly familiar.

My sense of direction:
a spinning compass
on a vessel
in the very heart
of the Bermuda Triangle.

On my fourth time pulling around, I think, I finally saw the sign, clear as day at a considerable distance. After pulling into the lot, I saw her car immediately, even before she flashed her lights, and parked so that our driver-side windows met. Thinking back to the text I sent her regarding how I knew where the place was, the first thing I said to her was a statement of the pathetically obvious: “So I guess I don’t know where Gabes is.” In response, she politely smiled. Elizabeth knows me well enough to have expected this, or at least that this ridiculous scenario of me getting lost was well within the realm of possibility, so I do have some comfort in the fact that she wasn’t surprised. Still, it was frustrating, embarrassing. I was ashamed of myself and I felt sorry that she was empathic enough to deal with my limitless shortcomings.

I followed her back to her apartment, parked in visitor parking, and then hopped into her car, after which she drove us to a spot closer to her apartment complex. All the while I was juggling between conversation and my self-loathing thoughts, already frustrated not only with myself but how the day was going in general. I just wanted to hide in my apartment until I had to work tomorrow and all I wanted was some pot to help me relax, maybe get some restful sleep, and shit just kept getting more drawn out and complicated. Now I was coming down slowly from my mild anxiety attack on the road.

Upstairs, I watched Jonas has he played some video game, shooting it out from the first person perspective in some battle on the television screen. I’m always kind of a lost voyeur when people play video games when I’m around — which isn’t an entirely bad thing all-around. Sometimes I’m awed by the graphics or by their proficiency in the game despite my entire lack of interest in the game itself. Personally, though? Full disclosure, I stopped following and playing video games back when Atari 2600 was top of the line, so I wasn’t about to ask if I could join him. It’s just not a desire. But watching him play — and watching him play that game in particular — made me wonder how I could ever make it out of such a battle alive, simulated or otherwise. If doomsday is ever upon us, I’m fucked. If my past life memories are true, it simply boggles my mind: how the bloody fuck could I have fought in a war, be it in an earthly jungle or an alien desert?

Absurdities atop absurdities.

We seemed to wait forever till the pot peddler finally got back to them. As it made little sense for me to follow or even accompany them, they left me behind to chain-smoke and watch Family Guy episodes only to return a short time later with a baggie for them and a baggie for me.

They said that the cops were everywhere; they’d passed at least two cars that had been pulled over. I worried about my taillight, which some random guy in my apartment complex told me was out and which I had yet to fix. I worried about getting lost on the way back to familiar territory. More importantly, perhaps, I worried about having this psychoactive bud-in-a-bag, which I could smell through the plastic at a good distance. And it smelled fucking great, but that was entirely beside the point. Elizabeth suggested I take her bag of Jolly Ranchers, bury the green sunshine beneath the candy, twist it like a motherfucker and fasten it with a hair tie. Or she told me that to some degree, anyway, for that is exactly what I did. I decided that once I got to the car I’d just toss it in my trunk for safety.

I didn’t want to stay much longer. I was tired from lack of sleep and from freaking out on the road, but I felt it would be rude to just grab the bag and go, so I announced that I’d have one more cigarette before taking off. In the midst of my smoke Jonas kindly asked if I wanted to toke a bit of herbal remedy before my launch, but I thought it would be ill-advised. When he then offered me one hit off their relatively new bong, I hemmed and hawed, however, but before I had consciously decided either way I found bong and lighter in hand and this growing gurgling filling my ears.

For some time I’ve been aware that I have an issue with taking monstrous hits in general — even off my cigarettes — and to make matters worse I honestly don’t remember the last time I took a hit off a bong. Or a hit that big. I coughed, it seemed, for a solid minute, during which time Jonas told me my face was the color of the red flannel I was wearing. He thought I might puke. For a moment I did as well.

Before I was even done choking I knew that I was high as fuckity-fuck and that this had been a poor decision on my part. Instantly I was reminded of a Louis CK bit in which he explained how he smoked some pot with some kids after a show. When he realized how high he was and that he had to drive back to his hotel, he was struck with a dismal revelation.

“Oh. Shit,” he thought. “This is an ordeal now.”

To be honest, his bit as a whole was fitting as fuck. I was embarrassed, tortured by shame that I was so helplessly, hopelessly stoned after a single, solitary hit. Had I been home and alone this would have been relaxing, but: I was not, and this sure as hell was not.

I was fucked.

Elizabeth offered some Doritos, which at first sounded great — not only were they tasty, they would help me sober up — but after grabbing the bag she passed to me and shoveling two of its contents between my lips, any remaining moisture in my mouth was simply gone. I was cradling a lump of sand behind my teeth. Sipping from the cup of coffee I had gotten from work, java which had long since grown cold, utterly failed to remedy the dry mouth, but I could finally swallow the flavorful sand, in the very least. I only hoped the caffeine wouldn’t exacerbate my anxiety.

I focused on belly breathing, trying to relax and focus. My cigarette, long since out. Watching Family Guy as Jonas played on his phone, I felt like I was overstaying my welcome now. I was beginning to feel awkward. Belly breathe, I told myself. Relax. From the book of Dream With the Fishes, fuck the Water-Rat. Be the Buddha Rat. Summon sobriety. Conjure confidence. Go the distance.

Go home.

“All right,” I said aloud, though in retrospect it seemed as though I was telling myself more than them, “I think I’m going to try and drive home.”

If I was a religious person, this is where I would start praying, but I denied myself the comfort of that illusion a long time ago.

Jonas put his number in my phone. After I promised to call him if I got lost and text him after safely arriving home, I exited the door. As I began walking, I told myself that it wasn’t too late to turn around, knock on their door and confess to somehow still being so stoned off a solo hit from their bong that I could hardly think straight, much less drive.

Hopeless. Powerless. Confused as fuck.

And: I’m ba-ack.

There was no way I was doing that to them unless I absolutely had to.

In the midst of thinking this I realized that I was already walking down the hallway in a probability-wave-collapsing direction. Even if I turned around I wouldn’t know the right apartment door — I wouldn’t know it if I walked my stupid cranium right smack into it. So I kept walking. Kept pushing through. One foot in front of the other. There was this vague sense that I might have turned out of their door and down the hall in the wrong direction, but I heard someone walking behind me and I was too nervous to turn around and seem foolish in the eyes of a stranger or, for all I knew, an officer of the law. So I kept walking.

“Are you going through hell? Keep going…”

If I found an exit at the opposite end of the building that only meant that I would have to walk all the way around the building. No big deal. No problem. I’ve done this countless times at malls, at Walmart. It might take a shamefully long time, but I would find my car. I could not be so dumb and blind as to pass by it.

All would be well. No worries.

Lost in thought, it comes to my attention as I’m walking down my umpteenth flight of stairs that I had taken the elevators up to their apartment. This suggested that I must be heading towards an exit at the other end of the building. I may have turned around after hitting the bottom floor, but I am fairly certain that I ended up exiting the doors Elizabeth and I had entered. In the end, to be honest, it made no difference.

Outside, it was dark. For what seemed like forty-five minutes I walked around that building over and over, fixed in my frantic orbit, determined but increasingly clearly unable to locate my car. On countless occasions I became convinced the search was over only to find, a foot from the car in question, that it was not my own after all. At least twice it was the same car that I had mistaken for my own.

This could go on forever.

Embarrassed, I felt sure that the college kids were watching from their dorm windows, transfixed on this creepy, 38-year-old guy with a handlebar mustache circling their apartment complex endlessly, clearly on drugs, holding his car keys, cup of cold coffee and his cannabis coffin, a bag of jolly ranchers, as he stared anxiously at all the parked cars. I feared this was the kind of suspicious activity that was likely to attract the cops, which didn’t help my confused and hopelessly paranoid state of mind.

Around and ’round and ’round: I was getting dizzy and angry.

Finally it hits me. I suddenly see it for what it is. There is another parking lot. It is right beside the parking lot around the apartment complex — the one which I have been revolving for a seeming eternity. It is a lone, large compartmentalized sector off this main lot, connected by a branching road to this lot and the exit, and so presumably used for this building, too. Which is to say: it suddenly hits me that this might just be the visitor parking area. I mean, it made sense that I would have parked here, in an area removed from the building itself, given that I am a visitor.

Hopeful, I walked down to it and almost immediately saw my car — or what I mindlessly presumed to be my car. “That’s not it,” I said aloud in frustration, ready to freak out. I then spun around. “But that is!”

This time, it actually was my car, and I was relieved — though irritation was still the predominant emotion. Wasting no time, I opened the door, stuck the Jolly Rancher bag behind the front passenger seat (I was too eager to get home and paranoid that I was being watched to even take the time to pop my trunk, much less bury the fruity weed coffin in there) and almost left my cup of cold coffee on top of the fucking car. While I still had light, I took a look at the directions I wrote on my cigarette pack:

Left out of parking lot.
Right at the light until you make it home.

I rolled down both my driver and passenger windows. It would not only air out the car but help me sober up as I drove, for even after all that walking around, I still felt stoned out of my stupid, hypersensitive mind. This was rather bothersome, as I had to go through the heart of the college town and then pass through the degenerate town I work in so as to reach the long, dark stretch of road that would bring me to my safe, comfy, warm fucking apartment. As I drove totally stoned I worried that I was weaving. That I was hugging the yellow line. Or the white line. That there was no possible way that I was not going to get pulled over.

And then I saw it. Those flashing red and blue lights reflecting off my dash.

Fuck. Fuckity fuckballs.

In that moment I knew it was all over. I was going to jail. They would pull me over, have me step out of the car. They would surely smell the weed on me, see it in the bursting read veins surely bursting like cracks in the desert in my eyes. Suspicious, they would search my car. They would find the bag of Jolly Ranchers in which my bag of sunshine was gestating. But no. No, it was actually a cop car somewhere far behind me who had pulled someone else over.

Keep driving. Stay the limit. Relax as you focus, focus.

I finally made it out of the college town, passed the fast food joint I basically lived in, and forward, through the five-way intersection and into the darkness beyond. Shortly thereafter I noted the quality of my vision and the third-person sense of perspective. The vision itself seemed to be of a widescreen, high-definition quality that made me think of my memories of the alien, desert world for the second time in a single evening. In the midst of this, eager to get home, I attempted to measure how much longer it might be until I got there and reasoned that I had driven halfway home from the starting point of the five-way intersection.

Then? Then I saw the stop sign in the distance. This stop sign is a very short distance, certainly less than a minute, passed the aforementioned five-way. Though the air was taken out of me with respect to how much farther I had to travel until approaching my lair of leisure, I was nonetheless amazed at how warped my time perception had become. At the sight of that stop sign I knew damned well that this meant that I still had a twenty minute journey ahead of me, however, and there were certainly fears that, at least in an experiential sense, this journey might very well take forever.

Once home, try as I might, I still didn’t relax. Even so, I kept my promise. I texted Jonas:

The Eagle has landed.

I kindly omitted the fact that the bald, featherbrained motherfucker had not landed so gracefully.

New Mask for Yesterday.

ANTs infesting my mind
like a seductive picnic.

Automatic negative thoughts
run amok, bubbling up
from the subliminal, autonomous
and relentless.

Flashback bitch-slaps
to the conscious aspect
of my psyche, inner self-flagellation

in the form of guilt, shame,
regret, fear, anger
and self-loathing flooding
me: every day I’m drowning

in a cacophony
of internalized voices
and experiences
echoing back at me
from my history…

my impossible,
largely concealed
memories.

Seen or stealth,
the past is omnipresent.
Today is always
a new mask for yesterday.

Notes Amidst a Cyclone.

From within my one-bedroom, three-story apartment I can hear the violent wind outside. It blasts against my closed window and rattles my door. I can feel it, hear it slam against the outer wall like a wave of invisible fists fighting to break through. I consider taking one of my remaining Buspar before driving to work, as I anticipate some profound fucking anxiety as the wind is surely to rock my car, but decide against it.

I got this.

Stepping outside, despite the cyclonic violence, I find it surprisingly warm. One never knows what the weather is going to be anymore. Mother Nature of the Ohio chapter is evidently bipolar, unable to decide from day to day, even from hour to hour what season it is that we’re in.

Clenched teeth, white-knuckling the steering wheel, I make my way to the shit-hole of a town I work in.

***

Watching Sam Harris, one has to admire his consistently calm and collected manner of engaging in even the most volatile debates. I must wonder if he has always been like this or if it is his extensive meditation practice that helped him achieve it and enables him to maintain it. In either case, it’s certainly enviable.

He’s also notable in my mind because out if all the so-called “new atheists” he is the only one that I’m aware of who does not necessarily discount the paranormal as he rightfully blasts religious absurdity. Not does he discount the experiences people of all faiths — and those of none — who have had what they are left to call, if only for lack of a better term, mystical, spiritual, religious or transcendent experiences. He is one of the few I have come across who think, as I do, that given we survive long enough as not only a species but as a civilization science will come to tackle the spiritual, mystical, paranormal. We just need to approach these experiences rationally, explore them with reason, and relinquish this insipid value we have placed in faith — which is to say belief without evidence, belief in the face of contrary evidence. We must decide that we do not want to believe, but to know, to achieve greater understanding. That takes not blind faith, but a rational methodology.

***

Though it’s been some time since I’ve read the guy, Nietzsche always seemed to find value in self-contempt, seeing it as a means of transcending the ego — or in the very least, that’s how I’ve always interpreted it. So the way I’ve been feeling increasingly as of late, as negative as it is, as unhealthy as it is, I try to look at as a form of ascension.

Sadly, I’m no übermensch, and this is as far as I’ve come with respect to self-overcoming. Even so, it helps me look at this in a cup half full kind of fashion.

***

In my head there is what I have come to refer to as an Excuse Generator. I keep catching myself, especially at work, manufacturing scenarios in which I provide justifications to others — cops, managers, total strangers — for various behaviors.

Why do I mop the floor in the back room before truck comes as opposed to after, which would be more sensible given that unloading the truck is just going to mess up the floor again? Where am I driving from, where am I driving to, and why? How, what, where, who, why this, why that?

And then I subject my behavior to analysis and formulate reasons as if trying to convince the imaginary person who asked the question that it all makes sense.

***

I often feel fake when I’m around people and I’m constantly beating myself up inside over it — the things I say, the way I act, the responses and behaviors I continue to carry out regardless. Even among those closest to me I feel that I rarely come across as authentic — and for good reason, I suppose. If anywhere, only when I’m alone do I feel as if I’m truly myself and I often fear that if I’m denied my solitude I may lose myself. The rampant empathy — getting lost in the emotions I sense from others — has a lot to do with it, I think. It often sends me on overload. Then I get anxious and angry, and if I yell at someone I typically end up feeling guilty, which just adds more emotional fuel to the fire. Or I fear I made someone feel uncomfortable or hurt: in any case, guilt, self-loathing, emotional overload…

Solitude is my sanctuary. My sanity. Isolation is how I recharge, find my balance, and reclaim myself.

***

Giving up on getting a girlfriend or ever marrying may sound morbid to some, but it’s not really that way at all. There’s no longer any stress over approaching a woman, over making a move, over being enough for her or having fears that I am relying on her like a child and riding coattails all my life; no guilt over spending enduring periods alone or not wanting to attend social gatherings. No worry about fucking up a friendship by making a move or about breaking up with her when I inevitably feel suffocated and need to end it and get the fuck away.

Yeah, I miss close contact up to and including sex without a doubt, but it doesn’t seem to me that its worth the cost. Jerking off will never be as cool as good ol’ copulation, but it gets the job done.

And as soon as I masturbate and my head is as clear as my nuts are empty I think to myself how its not such a big deal. Then I go back to dealing with what I consider to be greater matters.

TMI.

“Infatuation fades with time. All it requires is self-denial and a bit of patience. Rub one out if you must. Desire lives on, but occasional targets of lust are transient…”

***

My one eye has been pulsating again and I feel the tension growing in me. Daydreaming is increasing. Anger has been floating to the surface. Insomnia persists. I just feel so twitchy and this is all too familiar. Why all of a sudden? Why do I always find my way back here?

***

Two beers and a bowl, rub one out and listen to some hypnosis videos for sleep — and still I hit the sack just to bounce back. This is as bad as sleeping sober. I’m out like a light, sure, but for a few hours at best. I awaken to find my relentless mind still chat-chat-chattering away, thoughts occasionally slicing through my head like goddamned razor blades.

I need to start meditating again; this is ridiculous.

***

Full disclosure, I’ve been horny as fuck lately, too, which is perhaps tied to the tension issue. Daily masturbation does not circumvent this, as I keep finding my eyes nearly swallowing hot women.

The eye goes: twitch.

Their eyes, figures, ass — that yoga pants are currently in fashion does not help matters, either. Not that I’m complaining about yoga pants at all, understand. I just don’t like being a fucking pervert, that’s all, and this is what I’ve become yet again.

It’s been over five years by now, so maybe my dumb ass should just focus on getting laid again, but I am not qualified to be anything beyond a fuck buddy, and that shit never, ever turns out well, and that makes it utterly unethical.

“This, too, shall pass away.”

And in the meantime it will drive me stark-raving mad.

***

Then there’s her. A girl. Young yet perfectly legal, beautiful, deep eyes and a calm air about her. We shared a cigarette the other day and I finally got to talk to her and she confirmed my suspicions: she is one hell of an interesting, dark soul. It seems as though she might also be more than mildly psychopathic, which is perhaps why she is so calming to me: an emotional sponge such as myself need not fear empathic overload where there are just basic emotions to be receptive to.

But this? This will turn out to be nothing, mark my words, just as it has with quite a few girls. I relinquished myself from the game a good time ago. I’m just no good at this. Psychologically-speaking, being alone is my natural state. I simply cannot be part of a unit. So she’ll kill me inside for awhile but in all likelihood will fail to draw me in.

So it fucking goes.

Nor Any Combination of Words.

Not the least bit swayed
by the masses at your sides,
chasing what you all call light,
using prescribed illusions
to numb the pains
of our collective existence,

but nice try.

Nor am I seduced
by your circular arguments,
empty promises and hollow threats
delivered subtly, so softy. No,

not even your pleas,
as you tell me that you’ll pray
for me, have the vaguest semblance of hope
in your feared, mythological hell
of winning me over,

nor any combination
of words.

Even so, I hope I don’t come across
as too cold,
as you have every right to believe
in what seems so clearly to me
to be a dangerous lie.

Even so, you have the right to try
and save me, plot to sway me,
if it’s your path
to waste your time…

Polishing Ajna.

Jonas and Elizabeth come over between eight and nine in the evening. I had woken up from my post-third-shift slumber a few hours before, drank some coffee, relaxed, taken a shit and a shower and waited while trying not to think, think, think.

Elizabeth was wearing all black save for her tie-dye hippie socks. It had been awhile since I had seen Jonas, and his hair had grown and taken on a look that reminded me of the traditional style of the eighties. Kind of like Luke in Star Wars: A New Hope. I met them at the side entrance to my building and Elizabeth led the way up three flights of stairs and along the short stroll to the door to my one-bedroom apartment, where we all sat down in the front room in front of my laptop monitor. I had set up the papasan by the computer for myself, as I knew it would be the most comfortable thing for me to sit on during the experience.

Jonas has some initial difficulties cutting one of the tabs in two, finally succeeding by use of the X-Acto knife I typically use to clean out my bowl. Using their tweezers, he then places a whole tab on her tongue, one of the halves on his own.

This was happening. I felt wary. Did I want to do this? Me, I always said I’d never do this. Then he picks up the other half with the tweezers and extends it towards me.

Shit. This is the moment of truth.

I’m nervous, not entirely ready, and in my hesitation he accidentally drops it. Though this would be unfortunate in the event it could not be found, I was thankful for the moment of reflection it permitted me. We look around for it on the carpet between us all as I try and build up some courage. Eventually one of them finds that it had fallen into my shoe. With the tweezers, he plucks it from my sole and places it on my open sketch pad. With diminishing reluctance I go for the tweezers but Elizabeth says it would probably be easier to just lick it off my sketch pad. It seems a weird way to go and that typically works for me, so I do it. I feel mildly apprehensive after doing so, but curiosity of what may be to come quickly takes dominance.

We smoke a bowl, a cigarette each, and I try to keep it under my tongue, eventually realizing that it is gone. That I must have swallowed it. They tell me not to worry.

As I did not take notes during the experience, I cannot be sure of the exact sequence of all events, though particular events in and of themselves are certainly vivid. It began while we were watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

If I were to do this, I had decided some time ago, I had to watch Cosmos, most of all episode 13, “Unafraid of the Dark,” which was particularly visually stunning in its depiction of supernovas. Elizabeth also insisted we watch episode 5, “Hiding in the Light,” mainly due to the portion regarding soundwaves. It was still on Netflix, thankfully, and so we watched “Hiding in the Light” first.

At some point as we were watching it I suddenly feel as if certain parts of my brain light up, blasting me into this heightened awareness. My vision was crisp. I felt this intensity in my body. I felt a sense of euphoria with a side of anxiety.

As time went on I experienced periods of sudden, incredible and sturdy focus — which would be strange enough if it did not seem as if I could focus on several points simultaneously. Psychological absorption was at an all-time high. Fantasy seemed more like a parallel world I had equal access to alongside sensory reality; shifting between them was akin to changing channels or switching stations. In time I came to be very, very absorbed in what we were watching on my laptop.For other, brief periods — at least once, to be sure — I became tangled in a web of divergent attention and high-speed thoughts, achieving a height of frustrating confusion before wriggling myself out of it and coming back into focus.

To my left I could see my bedroom door, opened just a crack, and the light bleeding through kept catching my attention, fucking with me. I finally had to get up and open the door. Then I kept thinking I was seeing the lights and shadows from the bathroom, accessible through my bedroom, move as if something was there. At one point, I thought I saw something small and white run from the bathroom into the darkness at the other side of my room. None of it frightened me for more than a second, after which I realized it was just my imagination and laughed at myself in response.

When I was talking with Elizabeth and Jonas sometimes I would catch the laptop monitor out of the corner of my eye, convinced for a moment that something was playing on it, like a movie or something, but there was merely a motionless visual on the screen. It kept fucking with me in a fashion similar to crack in bedroom doorway.

In our conversation before taking the acid, they told me I should eat first and if I needed to poop, I should do it beforehand, because it was rather disconcerting under the influence of this chemical. They also told me that pissing was kind of strange, but I knew I would be unable to avoid that one — in general, I tend to take in a lot of fluid: water, coffee, iced tea, booze. This equals pissing like a race horse.

When I inevitably had to get up to pee, Elizabeth suggested I look at myself in the mirror. Piddling itself was a perplexing experience indeed. I felt high up, incredibly tall and skinny, and it seemed as though my dick way, way down there was pissing into a teeny-tiny toilet. After I went to the sink and washed and dried my hands, I looked up, into the mirror, focusing on my eyes. My face seemed to morph around my point of focus, though not into anything discernible. My vision brightened, everything seemed white and yellow. I was transfixed for a while, but eventually returned to the front room and sat in my comfy nest.

Over the entire course of the evening, I had only one fully-scale visual hallucination. As I was watching the bedroom door (which I had absentmindedly closed again when returning from pissing and skrying) this little transparent ball with a long, tadpole tail swam in a slow, wavelike fashion across my field of vision. It was like an oversize, slow-mo air-sperm.

Getting up, I opened the door again.

More subjective strangeness took place than sensory, hallucinatory phenomena. For instance, at times I felt that while I was inside my body I was not entirely attached to it. I often felt as if I was residing in my body in positions that I ordinarily did not. Typically I feel as though my consciousness resides inside my head, for instance, but for a period I felt as though I was hanging out in the chest area.

So we watched the two episodes of Cosmos. The segment on sound waves was astounding, though I got the feeling that it was not the “full experience” Elizabeth had experienced herself when she watched it on acid. When we got to the episode on supernovas, I must have been at or near my peak. More than just the beautiful explosions of dying stars, there was the journey through space in general that drug me in, embraced me. I even said to them, “Twelve hours of just that. Just journeying through the stars. I would love it.” In retrospect it reminded me of those dreams I had as a kid, just soaring through the stars at fantastic speed, alone in the vast, silent beauty of space.

At some point the journey ended as the camera pulled out from space into Neil deGrasse Tyson’s star-spore, dandelion-seed-shaped Spaceship of the Imagination through one of the windows — which initially looked to me like the gigantic, slanted, almond eye of your typical Gray alien. No one else seemed to make that connection. I don’t know if I felt sad to be alone or thankful for my isolated association.

After the two episodes, we watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, where I came to confront the Cheshire Cat, another symbol from my past. After we began coming down and had tired of conversation, we turned back to Netflix and watched the first two or three episodes of American Dad, which I had never seen before. I noticed that I was more prone to laughter, at times ridiculous laughter. While I felt in most cases the laughter was appropriate, it was far, far more amusing than it would have been had I been sober, or even stoned out of my mind on Mary Jane. I was laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes.

It was morning when we finally came entirely down. They slept on the couch in the living room and I closed my bedroom door and lay in my bed. My body was so comfortable. There was no tossing, no turning. My body was relaxed, vibrating, though my mind was still acute. They had given me half a pill of a muscle relaxer, and it finally kicked in.

When I awoke, to my disappointment, I didn’t remember any dreams, though I did recall that I had some that I would have found interesting.

Bursting the Persona Bubble.

It began with the words of Mark Vonnegut in his book The Eden Express some years ago and returned to haunt in the story of brain specialist James Fallon who discovered he had the brain structure characteristic of a psychopath. Both expressed astonishment over their discovery of what others thought of them when they came to probe to issue of their persona with some depth, particularly through those closest to them. They had never suspected what everyone around them really had thought of them.

It had been like some informal conspiracy of silence all those years as they had gone along thinking that they were sufficiently self-aware and knew those around them well enough to get a good idea regarding what they thought of them, how they felt towards them, what they might say to one another behind their back or only silently acknowledge to one another when in their presence.

It has become a plaguing question to me, I confess: how blind might I be to how others perceive me? How large, how thick is the curtain drawn over that corner of Johari Window — that section of glass reflecting my social self, my persona? What might they know of me that I do not?

This question often comes up when I consider this guy I work with, Gus as I have formerly called him, who clearly showers or does laundry on only the rarest of occasions. Oftentimes his stench is atrocious, to such an extent that you almost want to speak frankly about the elephant dung in the room, but you don’t.

Still, as I have posed to others, could it be that he is not aware of the degree to which he smells? After all, out of some degree of sensitivity to him we do not openly remark to him about his foul odor and perhaps his smell is to him as my cigarette smoking is to me. Due to constant, unceasing exposure to cigarette smoke I have become largely desensitized to it, my subliminal system naturally filters it out. When I lock myself in my apartment and smoke cigarettes I hardly notice the smell, but if I leave to get groceries on a walk upon my return the lingering scent is suddenly to some degree distinct to me. I don’t think it smells bad, but nor do I notice it most of the time — though it is quite clear to the clean-lunged who surely smell that smokey odor on my cloths.

So perhaps Gus cannot smell his own stink and furthermore may never know he stinks due to (a) his desensitization to his own BO and (b) our unwillingness to provide the objective feedback on his BO due to it being deemed, through social customs, to be an act of cruelty, an insult and (c) our foreknowledge of the kind of aggressive behavior and stubborn attitude, emotional reactivity and rigid thinking he exhibits when stimulated by criticism or even the seemingly harmless sharing of an observation that counters his own firmly-established conceptions. So his sensitivity, and our sensitivity to his sensitivity, is also a factor.

He lives in a bubble as a consequence; an unofficial one-man safe space where he is protected from the truth. Both the social environment and he himself on a level collaborate in this conspiracy against him. Its a subliminal dynamic, a collective effort on behalf of us all on some unconscious level. Protecting him against the frightening facts that might shatter his worldview and irreversibly damage his ego and yet maybe, just maybe, provoke him to take a long, hot shower in an act of integrating this profound, however embarrassing, revelation.

Am I helping to maintain just such a bubble myself? Am I trapped in an unofficial safe space? Am I significantly less self-aware than I supposed? I know I’m a hypersensitive fuck, but I value the truth. Could I handle it, or might it destroy me?

I think this bubble-busting question is the force behind frequent fantasies of mine regarding how people would react to my death, what they would do and say and, infinitely more important to me, what they would think and feel (of me, for me, at me, as a consequence of me) upon my shedding of my mortal fleshy-shell. After awhile it becomes clear that whatever their reactions may be it will be equally, across-the-board agonizing for me to observe. Either they can easily deal with my passing, which would make me feel worthless, or they will agonize over it, the mere thought of which agonizes me not only because they feel it but because it would have been I who caused them to feel it. Be it a matter of death or birth, then, suppression or revelation, self-inflicted, externally-imposed or natural, there is pain and suffering: from womb to tomb, from birth-pangs to death-throes. You live your life knowing who you are and what others mean to you; perhaps death provides an opportunity for you to linger around and see who you were to them, what you meant to them, and decide whether or not this should change anything.

In any case, it reveals truths you had been blind to.

Sadly, this would all occur in retrospect, at least with respect to a singular incarnation, but it doesn’t really have to. Death may provide opportunity for it, but life is fertile with opportunities as well. There was, of course, Mark and the psychopathic brain guy. They uncovered their conspiracies in the midst of life, lifted that tiny curtain on that corner of the window, and accepted the truth.

Beauty of the Godless Glow.

Why do so many consider it demeaning to consider nature — the universe, the rich diversity of life that surrounds us and to which we contribute — as a collaborative effort of various forces rather than the expression of a single, unseen artist? As I look out my three-story window enjoying a cigarette and a cup of coffee as I gaze at the setting sun, the trees, the buildings, the thankfully few people, I don’t see one thing staring back at me, I see a diverse community of things. But a small sample of what the earth alone and the species to which I belong, which has infested it, provides. I feel a diverse community of energies glowing back at me, not to sound all fucking fluffy. No single leader.

Believing in god is a disservice to nature, a narrow view of the universe we are an integral, however potentially transient, part of. The diversity and complexity of the cosmic web can speak for itself.