Turning to Your Phone for a Better Night’s Sleep: The Truth behind Sleep Tracking Apps. I wake up to sound bits blurring to form the gentle hum of white noise that lulls me from my slumber at approximately the optimal time according to my own personal sleep cycle. I reach for my phone. I don’t hit snooze. Not even once. Snoozing disrupts the sleep cycle in a way that does not help the body feel more rested, or so I think I’ve heard. My mind is active before my body so I allow myself five minutes to tap through Twitter, calendar, email, Instagram, Snapchat, texts, and Tinder to find a Local Muslim Teen Killed in Virginia, three reasons I don’t want to go to work today, The Secret to Selling Your Art Online, kittens and coffee art, 16 Mistakes It’s OK to Make in Your 20s, an unsaved number saying asking do u still have adderall, and an unknown guy asking are we still on tonight. Old news, sigh, delete, cute and please, done, yes, if nothing else comes up before then. I try to grasp the last shreds of the last night’s dreams, but they’re nowhere to be found. I don’t think I dream as much as I used to as a kid. This is probably good for productivity in waking life, or so I think I might have heard.
Last text message stamps that turn from time to day to date watching fiction fabricate where love profession became kiss-sealed fate. Determining if terminal velocity has been accelerated passed at a change in change in distance greater than gravity while existing unknowing with respect to and with no respect for
space. A little bit too tipsy to the point of topsy turning. A little bit too little: a tiny chunk: a minuscule nibble. A finger in to test the waters, the temperature of misplaced tea. The temperature of a tepid day with higher than bearable levels of humidity for individual hairs to stay put in organized chaos. Chaos so chaotic it can only be described by a law, the second one, it’s fundamental thermodynamic the heating the cooling trying to contain to construct to solidify the abstract into the concrete so concrete so rigid so indifferent unemotional.
It still feels like 2016. It still feels like the most important year of my life. It still feels like the end of my childhood. I still want to talk to him. It’s driving me mad it is it is it is. I still want to talk to him and I’m wondering why I am sitting here not talking to him and talking to this person and to that person and enjoying my life but still but still still weeks and months and security lost later still wanting to talk to him. Still thinking about him constantly. Consistently? Repeatedly. Reminded. Still wishing him well in my head in my head always in my head and waiting waiting waiting for him to tell me for him to reach out to me and tell me he’s doing well and tell me he felt my well wishes and tell me he held that feeling in a place in his heart until it warmed him until it cleared away cobwebs until it helped him realize he could be doing well because someone wants too much so much so badly so desperately for him to be alright – more than alright: wonderfully – because he is wonderful and I am terrific and I am doing terrifically as I sit here sit here sit here and think always thinking always thinking about him and wondering what he’s doing and hoping it’s well – more than well: wonderfully. Because he is wonderful and I am terrific and I am happy now but still so sad. So sad but happy with myself. So satisfied but wanting more. So conflicted but existing peacefully in so many states. I don’t know what I want right now because I want nothing I want something I want someone but I’m not as caught up in my emotions as I used to be. I let them flutter let them fall watching them as they crash to the floor like a teardrop like the loudest scream like the silence that rings out as time stops having meaning. I do miss the feeling of being passionately in love with a person who exists like a concept – like more than just an individual with individual problems and insecurities and interests and dislikes – both external and internal and expanding – expanding and filling the chest I leaned my head on and felt so very much in love with so very much in love with a person like a concept like a too-good-to-be-true like a Form. The chest with the message printed on it – the reminder to live the best life possible – the reminder that this will all end and you will see it in slow motion as it ends before your eyes and just out of the reaches of your grip – a reminder of a dream a twenty-two year old had and was fighting every day to turn into a reality to turn a concept to a proof. The constant struggle of self-definition that is classified by experts as anxiety. The constant struggle of being too in a head too in a head too in a head where else does one go where else is there where else could I be? Explained external complaints becoming. I’ll hold them deeply and let them devour me. I’ll change the subject: I’ll make it all about me. He’ll hold them deeply and let them devour him. It’s all about me as I sit here and I think about what it’s like for it to be all about someone else for someone else who is making their own decisions based on all the information they are able to contain all that they can bear to bear witness to to carry to be burdened with. It is difficult to live with your eyes open. I’ve turned a blind one a few times a few times maybe too many but it’s all relative based on other outcomes of other choices that I will never be able to choose because time is linear and this is my path. I’ve turned blind eyes I’ve ignored what is obvious. It’s fear it’s all fear and I’m terrified and terrible and taking turns to shaded places where it’s too dark too dark far too dark to see. A blind eye in a dark room in the isolation of a mind a mind inside of a head that is too active too panicked too scared to believe that there is more outside. More than a concept in a head leaning on a dream written on a chest.
The plan is to live in Chicago, then Denver, then San Francisco, and then Seattle, as a way to be both young professional and nomad through the remainder of my 20s. The plan is to move back to Philadelphia to reduce the stress of starting over in another new city. The plan is to stay at my current job and save as much money as possible so I have the freedom to start over someplace new sometime soon without having to find another job in my current field. The plan is to apply to jobs in my current field to give me a reason to move to a new place. The plan is to decorate my apartment so it feels like a home and not a temporary storage space. The plan is to get a part-time job that pays just enough to cover bills and gives me experiences to write about. The plan is to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible so that I can reasonably be unemployed and focus on writing or photography or starting a business or some other thing I feel too weighed down to take seriously as this point in my life. The plan is to quit drinking because drinking costs too much money and is not entertaining enough. The plan is to stay single and make friends and have fun with those friends. The plan is to go out and meet someone I can eventually marry and do the whole parenthood thing with. The plan is to take life day by day and see which changes come because changes will come, but they will not come all at once. The plan is made up of contradictions. The plan is a source of anxiety. The plan depends on only me.
I have goosebumps patterning my flesh that tell me the temperature is too low. I have pupils that dilate when moving from day to dark. My heart races as a clock ticks counting down. My breath is heavy matching quickened footstep sounds. I have a feeling in my gut that tells me this is not quite over. I have a feeling in my gut that tells me this is not quite over. I have your voice in my head saying “To Be Continued” followed by a month-long ellipse read as a worn out question mark. I have your voice in my head in the silence of this room. I have the silence of this room. I have the emptiness of this room. I have the freedom to rebel, to be remiss, to try to profit, to counterfeit. I have the choice to hold, the choice to steady, and the choice to overflow. To overwhelm, to stand up straight, or to reap what seedy deeds I’ll sow.
I have goosebumps patterning my flesh that tell me the temperature is too low. I have pupils that dilate when moving from day to dark. My heart races as a clock ticks counting down. My breath is heavy matching quickened footstep sounds. I have a feeling in my gut that tells me this is not quite over. I have a feeling in my gut that tells me this is not quite over. I have a feeling that I’ll choose to let that feeling win, as my conscious clear fights off the fog and my patience thickens with my skin.
A many sided centipede who exists in all directions crawled on a wall bound by no sides and settled down for breakfast. When did you know you lost your mind? He questioned sipping stylistic tea. When my many legs became tongue tied, and my heart forgot to breathe. I walked and walked and still I found no thoughts anxiously remaining, so I talked on public pedestals and couldn’t stop complaining. We need a cause, we need a fix, we need a reason and a way. Illogic drawn on poster board depicts unthought that demands to have a say.
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.