It starts. I wake up with a blank day before me. I try to speed it up with caffeine. Green tea. A choice I make so many days in a row that it can hardly still be considered a choice, but an act of normalcy. An attempt to have a pattern, rather than chaos. An attempt at a plan, rather than the quenching of a thirst. Water in a pot. Pot on a stove. A flame click click clicking on. A transfer of energy to heat the solution that will extract caffeine from leaves into a potable liquid for a second transfer of energy.
I brush my teeth, likely too hard. I think about gum health. I think about losing my teeth. I hear it’s a common theme in dreams. It’s not for me, but one day it might happen in my waking life. Might. Possibly. A latent fear, and one I may be causing by combating by doing too much incorrectly. I’ve always been conscious of my dental hygiene, but I don’t think I have very healthy teeth regardless. I won’t know what I should have done my entire life until it’s too late.
Quincy is meowing. One of his eyes is half closed. He woke up when I did, and is confused about how to start his day as well. A series of morning meows is his pattern. It’s how he controls his life’s tiny chaos. I control mine by pouring boiling water into a cast iron tea pot. Teavana brand. It feels artificial to me. Some kind of modern interpretation of an object with a purpose. Some kind of modern interpretation of my life’s plight: everything is exactly as it appears, but nothing has any meaning. I put the lid on my teapot so that condensation collections and rains over the tea again, as a way of strengthening. As a way of putting my knowledge of chemical engineering to use.
I wait. I try to wait. I turn on my computer. Mad Men is already paused, also waiting. I click play. I watch for a minute. I click pause. The tea should be good enough. I fill the chamber with too many leaves so I don’t have to steep them as long. This is how extractions work, although this may not be how the perfect cup of tea is brewed. But this is Cleveland, and I’m not trying to impress the queen. I pour tea into a white mug stained on the inside with tea, and on the outside with paint. I wonder how many chemicals make their way into my body daily, and how they are slowly or quickly poisoning me. I won’t know this until it’s too late either. Old age feels like a series of failures that could be avoided, if only we could see the future.
I walk back to the computer with tea in mug in hand. I light a joint. Puff puff, check my phone. No one’s ringing, but I’m answering. I sit in my chair incorrectly. I broke it not too long ago, but was able to repair it. I am now more aware of when I am sitting incorrectly in my chair, although my actual seated behavior has changed little if at all. I unpause Mad Men. I try to focus on the subtleties of the actors’ faces as they explain to me what it meant to be alive in the 1960s. I will never know what it meant to be alive in the 1960s. I sip my tea. I smoke my joint. I grow bored of the morning and all of its possibilities. I grow bored of 2017 and 1967 simultaneously: half a century reduced to banality in the eyes of a stoned 25 year old on a Saturday morning.
The sun is out. The cats meow to worship it. I open the back door, leaving the screen shut, so they can appreciate sun rays and a cool breeze from inside. Birds chirp. Cat eyes fueled by instinct follow. They meow understanding better than I do, how important it is to trust instinct. I don’t. I stay inside. Outside there are people. They might talk to me, or even worse, they might not. I stay inside. I check my phone. 9:15 am. No one’s there yet. Hours later, I assume I’ll hear from someone or someone else who has just waken up to see the start of the afternoon. That is not now. Now, we wait. We watch for chirping birds and think about how strong the desire is to pounce.