Despite how much time I’ve spent here, this is the first time I’ve written a post while sitting on the bathroom floor. Have you ever seen a movie that starts in the middle of the story, in medias res is the pretentious term for it. I feel like this is the point at which my story would start.
First, the audience would be treated to a grand, sweeping look at the Northern Arizona forests. Light harp music would be playing. Then we’d slowly zoom in on a quiet town. It is a late hour of the night. Few roving motes of light scurry along dim roads. The camera has a focus now. It’s a small, pleasant apartment complex with delicately-flowered trees and benches in the tidy fields of grass. The audience knows that it will be here that the story starts. The harp music quickens and the volume rises. The camera has selected a building now, and it is unsteadily gliding toward the second floor, a drunk bird in a windstorm. The harp music grows louder. The rhythm is off. Imagine a child with a guitar. Now imagine that child smashing the guitar a-rhythmically against an antique harp while its caretaker screams against a gag made of pine cones and off-brand chewing gum. We slip through a window, stumble down a short hall, and turn left. The camera is blurry. The harp music reaches a discordant crescendo. It’s no longer one harp but dozens, and they’ve all been pushed down a hill. The camera finally loses its exhausted haze, and in the midst of the harmonic torrent, the audience is treated to their first look at their hero: a huddled mass, shivering on the wood-textured linoleum, periodically sitting up to dry heave into a clearly overburdened toilet. The music stops. The audience is treated to the sight and sound of the steadfast protagonist as dinner’s fish tacos becomes late night’s burden. Finished with their deed, the hero would turn to stare into the camera. There would be a delirious fog of their eyes, and the audience would finally hear the first words of the film: “How could this have happened?” Except, the speaker would kind of fever-mumble it, so it would sound more like “Hogdug ths apn?”
Eight years ago, my home had access to the internet for the first time. LI had a laptop for the first time. I think I lasted a few hours before I was illegally downloading Disney movies. My last two years in high school can be defined by three related developments in my habitual life: I slept very little, finally got around to watching a lot of movies, and learned how to quietly eat junk food because what else are you going to eat while watching Wall-E at 4 in the morning?
Six years ago, I graduated from high school. I was 17. No 17-year old has ever known what they wanted to do with their life. Sure, some have known what they will do with it, but none have ever known what they wanted to do. I wanted to want to do what I would end up doing, and I didn’t want to do anything yet. So I went to college. Except, I wasn’t good at anything. Except, I liked writing, and other people said I was good at it, and I liked English classes, and standardized tests told me I was good at it. Standardized tests also told me I was good at math, passable at science, and awesome at filling in little bubbles. So I went to college. I marked myself down as an English major. And then I proceeded to learn that alcohol was great, coffee was actually magic, sleep was an option, and midnight Wal-Mart was cool.
Two years ago, I started graduate school. My degree program was called Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies, and nothing I have ever done has been as hard as what I had to do just to get by in those classes. I had stopped drinking coffee by the time I started grad school, but tea had come in as an eager replacement. Now, instead of 10+ cups of coffee a day, I was onto about half as much tea. A good change. I was also older. College aged me quickly. Sleep was no longer a suggestion, but then it had to be. After a while in grad school, sleep became a luxury again, and my eating habits weren’t great–the food had mostly improved, but I ate as much as an adult moose.
A few weeks ago, I finished graduate school. I got word that I have a job for next year. Me and my partner have been eating better. I became a pretty lackluster vegetarian–the kind that eats fish and sometimes also chicken and probably any other meat if it smells good enough. I’ve been sleeping every night. Eight hours isn’t a dream anymore; it’s when I dream. I barely have to drink caffeine, but when I do, it’s just a nice little boost. I shower every day. I’ve even gotten back to combing my hair, and people have started calling me by my name again instead of just screaming. Years and years of bad habits look like they’re finally bleeding away because there is finally time and energy to replace them. People say I look younger, that I look happier, that the eldritch wrath that weighed my eyes and bruised the skin around them has dissipated, that I look like I’m doing alright. And it’s true. Life is pretty great.
So why the fuck did two fucking fish tacos bring me to bow before a toilet! Why the shit am I stuck on this floor the night before I graduate? Why is my cat choosing this fragile moment to be aggressively cuddly? Why does the revenge of my tacos look more like ham than anything that has ever been in the ocean?
It wasn’t a drunk guy at a bar with a well-aimed dart. It wasn’t a bee willing to die for the monarchy. It wasn’t old age or a slippery bathtub–which has already taken me down once. It was two fucking fish tacos that sent me to my final destination. What awaits me, I cannot tell. Maybe I’ll be put into a pearly white coliseum and everyone I’ve ever complained about will be given a list of my insecurities and an eternity to break my spirit. Maybe, as I’ve recently learned is an option, I’ll be burned and my dust will be the fertilizer for a tree. I hope the tree is an ash. Maybe I won’t die, and I’ll just rest here until the proximity of the litter box is too much to bare and I move to another place to feel sorry for myself.
Good night, everyone. Or good morning. I don’t know when you’re reading this. I sat down in here around 1, and it’s around 3 now. I’ve got to get out of this bathroom before I convince myself there’s anything left in my body to expel.
See you all soon.