Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Surrounded by Enemies
This used to be a refuge, an escape. Is it that I tainted it or did they or has it always been like this and I’ve just now begun to realize it? It’s been so long since I’ve been clear-headed that I can’t distinguish my substance-induced paranoia from my actual concerns. I focus on each one of them, judge them and move on. I can feel their eyes on me, too. I can hear their gavels. Behind me, he’s talking. Completely infatuated with the sound of his voice. Or perhaps he’s terrified of silence. Maybe he’s nervous and trying to make an impression on someone, but the only impression he’ll make is that he’s a blabber-mouth fool. Am I him? Do I do that? Do people think this way about me? Are these thoughts normal? I’m certain they are normal. I’m certain that I’m not crazy, which I’ve heard means you are definitely, totally crazy. I think maybe I just want people to think I’m crazy. Maybe they’d leave me alone then. But if they left me alone I’d just wonder why they weren’t approaching me and talking with me. Every time there’s a moment of silence, he chimes in with a joke. No one laughs. A few of his friends force laughs. Or maybe they’re drunk. Maybe they’re drunk, but are still being cordial. Probably that. He is a witless dullard. Do my friends just laugh at me out of courtesy? I’m certain they don’t because my friends do their best to simply tolerate me out of courtesy. They probably hate laughing at me and encouraging me and inflating my ego. Inflating it even more, they probably think, but they have no idea. They’re so reckless with their judgments. Not like me. They don’t know what it’s like to be ignored by the people who are supposed to love and cherish you the most. They had vacations and punishments and curfews and little league games. I had a locked door and a foundation of infidelity, alcoholism and pure, unadulterated crazy. But don’t feel sorry for me. Keep your judgments exactly as they are. Everything falls into my lap all the time and I’m constantly joking around and with a new girl, so my life must be great. This one behind me. The one who won’t shut up. He’s an enemy. The girl beside me with her toes sticking out of her shoes and her purposefully messy and unkempt hair and her bra-less, disgusting figure. She’s an enemy. She’s insincere. I’m certain of that. This one across from me with his glasses and his mis-matched, stained outfit. Every part of him is orchestrated. A sorry attempt at irony. Completely pre-meditated. He prides himself nonchalant. It’s an act. A labored act of social autonomy that wouldn’t fool an alien from a distant planet/time. Yet, he hasn’t stopped talking to his friends and I’m starting to get a bad taste in my mouth from not letting the fresh air of dialogue rinse it out. What if I just walked up to him now and told him that I know. I know exactly what he is because every day I have to keep myself from becoming the same thing. Evolution is a choice, I’d say. I bet he’d make fun of that and then I would just punch him and everyone in the room would try to fight me and if I could just make every swing count, I could probably take them all with one hit each. Maybe not him over there. He’s pretty big. Fat, though, really. He probably tells people there’s muscle underneath that fleshy, pock-marked padding. God, he is an effrontery to every starving Third World-er on those commercials I guilt-stricken-ly ignore. He is an enemy. He is an enemy to himself and an enemy to me and an enemy to all around him. What is he doing here anyway? He’s practically a corporation himself. How can anyone let themselves get like that? The girl standing behind him, to his 4 o’clock, nearly eclipsed by him. The girl who won’t look at me. She is probably an enemy. She’s beautiful, but what would be the point of talking with her. She’s got a boyfriend already. I’m certain of that. And if she didn’t? She’s heard of me, for sure. And for what? Any man in my position would make the decisions I’ve made. Convoluted? How can you be so dense? To bother to read, but not bother to understand. It’s with a convoluted vision that you deem my writings arrogant and convoluted, Reader. Self-aware? Yes, absolutely, but how can a man who spends his days thinking of the quickest least painful way to end his days be arrogant? You know my face, but you don’t know me. That dark-complected one, with the sad smile. He’s not an enemy. He wants to be so badly, but he’s not. He is the blustering self-adulator who climbs onto the cross and nails himself there, leaving one hand free for his megaphone. And he calls out, “Look at me! Aren’t you sorry for my poor soul? How admirable that I’ve died for beliefs?” He catches my eye and within him I see that he wants to look away, but he remains. For you, old friend, I’ll appease you and look away first. Let this victory be yours. And relish it in your mind for your life is a warpath and I pity you, but that pity is devoid of empathy because you have lost your mind. I’m certain of that. So skim over these words, Reader, and make your judgments and think, “That’s definitely him. I know his writing,” and decide what you will about me, but you’ll be missing the whole point. Him. Over there. The one who keeps staring at everyone. On the other side of that mirror. He’s truly something else. A self-proclaimed paradoxalist, which might not even be a word. He disguises his bitter contempt for this world with a handful of constantly recycled clever words he can barely use and faux-existential writings that nearly break free from his grasp like a leashed dog having just caught sight of a stray cat. But he’s transparent. He’s weak and he’s confused. He’s an enemy, but only to himself. He’s harmless. He wants nothing more than for his thoughts to set on a beautiful, red-ish purple horizon of everlasting halcyon (there are other things he wants besides this, but he wants nothing more than this) and yet with every breath he stirs up trouble. He is the worst of all. He’s in love with his self-loathing. Bemused by his misery, he dips in his pen and writes lines that he, himself, hates, but shares them just in case someone out there understands. A million year old radio transmission being hurled through the cosmos. A stupid prose poem or narrative written and posted on the internet that people will only read once and completely misunderstand. He judges because in those moments he sees them on his level. And occasionally below him, but not as often as you’d think. He writes because it’s the only thing he’s ever been remotely good at and having read this, how can you really find him condemnable? So, for him, please hate these lines and further strengthen his borderline-Solipsist, misanthropic world view because he needs that current to swim against or he will just let himself sink. I’m certain of that. And, please, do not mention this to him. He’ll deny it. I’m certain of that.