Date: 2001-07-24
Time: 1:55 a.m.

I'm in australia at night and I'm a tiny tiny bit drunk, just a bit, and I feel like copying and pasting shit off of my hard drive and into this window. for your viewing pleasure, a document from my senior year of college. more to follow.

-fish

*****

Alexander Bohn

Rant #109

*****

I thought I was going to have a fucking panic attack, the whole class. Whatever. I don’t even want to think about that part just yet. As soon as it was over I practically bolted the three blocks to Astor Place and plopped myself down for a haircut. I was long overdue for one anyway. Whatever. I knew I had to put myself into some sort of situation where I logistically couldn’t flip my shit. I mean, I was sitting in a chair with towels and that plastic apron thing around my neck and some guy, I already forget his fucking name but some guy having at my head with a scissors…I was sorta forced to sit still and breate for like an hour or however long it took, I don’t know.

Like so after that shit I was still panicky and spazzy. I went up the stairs (they give you the cheap-ass cuts downstairs at Astor, upstairs is where expensive shit like dyeing and whatnot happens) with my long jacket on and my new hairdo freshly pomaded, and burst out onto the streets and I swear to god if I had had any sort of weaponry on me I would have went berzerk or something, either killing people or killing myself or even something so sadly impotent as stabbing tires or shooting up the pavement or I don’t fucking know. Something like that. I was still in a fuck of a mood. The point here is that I was pissed. Before I just wanted to freak out and probably break down and cry or something. Now I wanted to fucking kill. It was crazy.

The thing is, I haven’t felt more, I dunno, alive in a long while. For lack of a better word. I’ll get to this bit later, it’s a key bit.

So yeah. I burst out of the fucking haircut place. I love my new haircut by the way, it’s super short, no trace of the bleachjob… I think I might even get some pomade and use it on some sort of regular basis. I usually don’t do shit to my hair, I just wake up and walk out the door with it looking all like I stuck my finger in a light socket and by the time I get to wherever I’m going it just ends up more like a dead rat, or something. Basically.

The barber was cool too, he made a whole bunch of friendly conversation that totally calmed me down. In fact if I had gotten one of those irritating apathetic barbers, you know, the kind that are all rough and jerk your head around, that would have sucked big time and I’d probably be in a much worse state right now, probably not able to write and impotently taking out my fucked up internal frustrations in some totally wack an inappropriate way. Like, oh I dunno, jerking off or something. Who can say. Whatever. That whole jerking off thing is another chapter in its own right so yeah. Anyway.

Yeah so the barber was cool. He did do that annoying thing where when someone finds out you’re in psychopharmacology and then proceeds to hit you with tons of impossible questions that vaguely relate to it. Do you know what I mean? It’s like, if you’re a doctor and you go to a party and the person you’re talking to finds out your’e a doctor and says something like “Oh you’re a doctor? Well my niece/husband/friend/dog has a swelling here [and at this point the person points to something like their groin or thigh or something]… do you know what that is?” Fucking when people expect you to be some sort of guru on your subject and you end up looking stupid and unknowlegable because you can’t answer their malformed and idiotic questions.

You can probably tell that I am still pissed right now. Yeah. I just thought about that last sentence, it certainly packs the vehemence. Whatever. Let me go on. Ok.

So the barber chilled my ass out. And that was good. So then where was I? Yeah so I like erupted out of Astor, hair freshly cut, blah blah blah, and I just sorta started singing a line from that Talking Heads song “Burning Down the House”, you know it? The line is “Fight fire with fire” and I started singing it. Not like at the top of my lungs, just sorta under my breath. It wasn’t ‘till I’d walked all the way from Astor to the Gristede’s that’s up on University and like 9th that I realized the like significance of that. Yeah.

I’ll fucking explain in a minute, OK? So I get up to Gristede’s and I realize that like, I’ve been fucking dead for a while. Fucking dead. Like, this was the first time I’d bothered to buy food from a grocery store in like several months. I’ve been eating junk food and delivery shit and cafeteria food and the like during that interim. I hadn’t realized how much that sort of shit will just get you down. I mean, it’s not like I went out and bought a bunch of raw ingredients and cooked myself a feast from scratch. No. I won’t lie to you; I bought a bunch of prepackaged crap. But the fact that I hadn’t been looking beyond the present, the meal at hand as it were, was the fact that I realized in the grocery store. You follow? Buying groceries involves some thinking ahead: will I want to eat this, I dunno, this apple or Pop Tarts or whatever like next week? You have to think about that, and for like the past few months I haven’t been thinking like that.

And so of course in the grocery store I made the big connection that I’ve been like that in general for some time now. Not thinking past that particular day or evening or whatever. I’ll level with you, OK? I’ve been doing a lot of drugs. I used to not do drugs at all, back when I started college. After like my sophomore year, I’d smoked weed like less than 10 times, maybe 7 or so, and rolled twice. That was it. No drinking, cuz my dad was (or rather is) an alcoholic. There you go. In a nutshell.

Since I got to New York though, I’ve been doing a lot. I hereby declare I am not going to embellish one way or the other, for the remainder of this rant here, the amount of drugs I am talking about. Ok. When I got to NYC I started rolling every weekend. I did ecstasy over a dozen times (I can’t remember the exact number, isn’t that in itself bad?). I did mushrooms (of the psilocybin/psilocin variety) twice around New Year’s. Over the course of the next semester, I kept a lower profile on the serotonergic stimulants (I think I rolled like three or four times and did acid twice) but I smoked a shitload of pot. At the time, my favorite rationalization for all this consumption was that my shitload was a good deal less than other people’s shitloads, but that dosen’t really matter, cuz at this point I know what a shitload is to me and I know that I’ve been doing exactly that.

Yeah. So yeah. Over the summer I got into some seriously wacky drugs, things that my friends at MIT cooked up, they don’t even have street names, things like 2-CB and DPT and 5-MeO-DIPT and whatnot.

Anyway so this year I’ve been doing lots of these things. I think I have found out the hard way that doing a lot of hallucinogens is bad for the soul. Just because they don’t specifically cause measurable neural damage (and the fact that they didn’t, that they were ‘safe’, was an instrumental point in my rationalizations) dosen’t mean that you can keep shoving them down your throat, as I was doing, without feeling some serious consequences at some point. And so like I totally feel like I’ve just been fucking dead. In a word. You get the point.

And so like what happened today is probably a good thing I guess. I don’t quite feel as dead anymore. I’d been feeling extra dead for the past week; last Wednesday night I did a hit of 5-MeO-DIPT and ended up having a totally horrible trip, the kind where you look around and all you see is ghouls and faces and evil eyes, and all you want to do is sleep but there is no logistical way that is going to happen for a looooong time, and anyway so I didn’t go to Physics at all the next day, and I barely left my room at all the entire weekend (with the notable exception of a trip upstate to Bronxville, I might explain later how that factors in to all this) and so today was my first day back in the real, actual, normal universe to a large extent.

Blagh. Yeah. Writing like this is DAMN good, let me tell you. I used to write with some regularity about my life on my web page. I called that shit ‘rants’ and I’d just go and bitch about my life.

GodDAMN I am good at getting off track. I’ll talk about that shit later. So yeah. I’m in the Gristede’s. “Fight fire with fire” and all that shit. I realized that back in the day, before I felt so goddamn dead, I used to feel alive. Pretty bloody obvious, wouldn’t you think? Well it was a fucking white-light head-exploding stop-everything-and-stare-dumbly-ahead-slackjawed type realization. I remembered last year, before I started feeling the weight of deadness on my shoulders, before I had any friends in the city. I had no roommate and no one to really talk to face-to-face about normal everyday shit and so I spent a lot of time doing things to make myself feel alive. I had no ethernet connection in my room (you’ll later see what the significance of this is) and so I spent a lot of time updating my web page and making it cool (vis a vis downloading mp3’s, which is what I primarily use my computer for now) and other such things.

I remembered the year before, when I was mostly commuting to Northeastern and living at home. Similar deal: I had friends, but they weren’t as present in my daily life due to the commuting factor, and I spent a lot of time and energy on my web page. It was great. It was highly cathartic and I almost always felt on top of my shit: I was learning things, I was figuring shit out about both the real world and the emerging internet cyber communications bullshit stuff. I did far fewer drugs, as I was spending a lot of time alone, and drugs just aren’t fun alone. In fact you can’t even get drugs when you’re alone, unless you make them yourself, and I’m not yet that desperate or depraved or what have you.

Anyway so at Gristedes, my card got declined so I had to march across the street to the ATM. “Fight fire with fire” kept going off in my head. I got the money and bought my fucking junkfood and made my way back.

And the anger hasn’t left me. I still want to fucking kill, but I want to kill in my way. I’ll explain, cuz that has to be one of my more cryptic/scary sentences of the evening. Basically I came back here and put on the “Burning Down the House” song. (an aside: the only copy I have of that song is a remix by Tom Jones and the Cardigans. If you know who these two musical acts are this fact is hillarious. But I digress.) I played it loud and jumped around the room kicking the air and gesticulating wildly and all that shit. This was of course the moment when it all came together, synthesized if you will, in my mind. The bits about the dead/alive shit and all that.

And so I took the very last Adderal I had (I seriously need to get some more of that, BTW) and sat down on my bed with the powerbook. And voalia, or however you spell that word.

*****

So that’s the back-story, in a nutshell.

I suppose you might be interested in what pissed me off so much there, in the beginning. I’ll tell you. As objectively as I can. Wait a second. Fuck that. I make no guarantees of objectivity. I’ll just tell it as best as I can, how’s that?

Good ok fine. So today I had Fiction Writing. I love this fiction writing class, I really do. It’s some good shit. The teacher is all sarcastic and down-to-earth. This is a welcome change from the foofy bitch I had last semester, the one who wrote “Magic Realism” and poetry and other such things. I would walk out of that class seething with enormous head-splitting quantities of frustration in me after suffering through a bullshit discussion of people’s work, discussions that always involved vague, nebulously defined terms and where everyone’s comment began with “WellI think that…” Ugh. You know what I’m talking about I’m sure.

So this semester, I have this sarcastic writer guy from the Upper East Side, who’s had lots of his plays produced and writes for Salon.com and blah blah. He’s funny and shit. Whatever. So for last class we had to turn in a story about two people with secrets.

I didn’t think about the assignment until the night before, because I was busy feeling necrotic and smoking pot and having the requisite idiot pot-smoking conversations with the people I was smoking the pot with. I’m sure you can imagine. So I decided to turn in “Quickie Story” with no modifications. For those that don’t know, “Quickie Story” is basically what its title belies: it’s a quick n’ dirty story where I describe Iris Makasado and ‘Mainline’ Sam’s rooms.

You know I just realized that probably this part of my little tale here will make little sense without the reader also having under his or her belt the basics of “Quickie Story”. Whatever. In the unlikely event that I let anyone read this shit I’ll give them “Quickie” as well.

The fucking point, basically, is that “Quickie” is an old standby of mine. I wrote it in fucking high school actually, and I’ve used it or modified versions of it in many creative writing classes. To my credit, I usually modify it quite extensively (as in 1st semester sophomore year, where I based the 35-page “NMG” story I wrote on that one) but for the most part teachers like it.

So let’s just establish that yes, it was an act of total hubris on my part to simply print the damn thing out and hand it in without even so much as giving it a once-over. I am not going to excuse myself with the feeling dead shit, but for the record I was most certainly feeling dead at that point, and I point that out not so much as an excuse but as a backdrop. Ok. On with the point. Yeah.

So yeah. What happens, basically (cuz I really do need to hurry up and fucking tell you what actually happens) is that my teacher read the first few paragraphs of “Quickie” to the class as an example of bad writing. I hope personally never actually obtain first-hand experience of something so horribly embarrasing. To give a bit more detail, we had two assignments for today: one was to write a little story about someone obsessed with something. Ok. I did that. We also had to write a page of “purple prose”; which is to say, bad, over-cliched, hackneyed crap.

What went down was that I had neglected to do the “purple prose” part, and so after attemting to energize the class with the “obsessed” assignments (it was one of those low-energy days) he (the teacher) went around the room and had people read their “purple prose”. When he got to me, I told him I had none, so he decided to suggest I read “Quickie”.

At this point in the class (to keep an already long story a bit shorter) I was already boiling over with self-loathing, as it had not escaped me that the prose people were reading was remarkably similar to my own beloved “Quickie”. By the time he got to me (and for the record I was sitting in the dead-center of the little hemicircle the class had formed into) I was already ready to burst into tears and spaz out and all that.

You see, at the beginning of the class, he’d handed back last week’s stuff, and I got to see what he thought of “Quickie”. Basically he’d come right out and said that it was mostly crap. So I was in a slightly wound state the whole time. When we started reading, it only got worse. But then, when he got to me, I told him (all the while a fake smile stretched across my face) that he could read it if he wanted to.

So what did he do? He read it. Mercilessly. Like emphasizing with his voice the particularly poor bits. And do you want to know what happened at this point? I’ll tell you. The class laughed. They all fucking laughed. That was tough. No sympathy anywhere, with the possible exception of the girl next to me, who whispered “Isn’t that embarrassing?” at me after everyone had stopped laughing and in a voice just loud enough for everyone to hear. Of course I could barely move. I just wanted to fucking die, I tell you. And this accounts for my fervor immediately after class and after the haircut.

In a nutshell.

*****

So yeah. So I was pissed. I still am, pretty much. Am I pissed at the teacher? Yeah kinda. But I’m far more irritated at myself. After all, I wrote “Quickie”. I turned it in instead of doing new, ridicule-proof shit. I am the one who’s been puffing pot and popping pills and drinking drinks and generally anesthetizing myself against the world. I, and no one else, am responsible for the deplorable state I now find myself in. Right now I am very behind in other classes as well, I’m considering dropping physics altogether, I owe people money and email and things I’ve borrowed from them… in general I am a serious disaster waiting to happen. It’s not good.

And do I have any ideas? I’m not sure. I want to write. I want to write good things. I certainly don’t want to write anything that will get me made fun of in class. The professor, to his credit, attempted to salvage things by trying to read a part of “Quickie” he considered good, but he did so in such a hurried and obviously compensatory manner that it had no effect. People just stared at me, and I stared at the floor.

Well let me think. I’ve had ideas bouncing around. I miss working on my web page and writing rants. This document is the sort of thing that happens when I go a long time without getting all this out. I really can’t say, but I can say this: I won’t forget what happened that day, not for some time. It might mean the death of good ol’ Iris and Sam in the long run, but if it does, it’ll be for the better. And if not, you can bet they won’t be the same. Nu-unh.

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