Thursday, March 16, 2006

Missing - Reprinted From One Last Carcrash

Only during my fourth or fifth shower of the day do I really become alarmed. Only then do I realize I've in fact lost my mind.

Early on, when I was never worried about the location of my mind, when I was confident it would always be in the last place I left it, I didn't take so many showers. Usually just to get clean, maybe one a day. If I didn't smell, maybe I'd skip.

But ever since I noticed my brain was missing I've been returning to the shower like the scene of a crime, the last place I remember seeing a good friend before he disappeared. It's my fourth or fifth shower today, and I'm confident it's really gone. It's my fourth or fifth shower of the day. Without my brain I can't be sure.

When I had my brain I often used it to think. Sometimes without even trying even. When I had my brain I could think inside, or out, awake or asleep, shaken or stirred. I would think about Mars. I would think about blue. I could think about almost anything you could think of. But more and more frequently I would go seeking my mind and discover he was not at home. More and more the only place I could be assured I would find him was in the shower. Something about being naked and wet. Something about overpaying for the apartment but getting my revenge by using tons of piping hot free water. Even as we saw less and less of each other around, I could always find my mind in the shower, right between the shampoo and the soap. Then it would be like always, the water falling on my back like applause as we were reunited. Now it's just rain that pounds on an empty doghouse with this hollow sound that makes you question the quality of the materials from which the house is constructed. The dog is gone. The dog is dead. We remember him. In general, what he looked like, how he had a particular dog smile, how he chewed the leg of the table, but no one is exactly sure when he died. He just very quietly slipped away until we looked and he was gone. It was spring we think. Probably a weekday.

I dry myself off and wonder what it will be like without my brain. Though I cannot think, I still seem to remember things, to know things. I know useless things and important things. I know Curt Shilling's ERA. I know my high school locker combination. I know light is somehow both particles and waves. I know what fatuous means. I will have no new thoughts. I must content myself with the things I already know, sift through the file cabinet of someone who's died, keep wandering the same party with a smile, though no one new ever shows up.

Suddenly I'm afraid. How will I get along? How long will I be able to survive without my old friend? I go to work terrified. I walk the streets in a panic. Everyone can see the for rent sign behind my eyes. I will be overwhelmed. I will be abused. I will be lost.

But my fears turn out to be largely exaggerated. My mind is hardly missed. What I know is sufficient to do my job, and it occurs to me no one there was ever very interested in what I thought anyway. People ask questions. Hot one, eh? How about that game? Doesn't this coffee taste like shit? I simply answer yes and this seems to satisfy them. At some point someone asks, have you lost your mind? Yes I say, but he just laughs and pats me on the back. At parties I take all the things I remember and put them in new clothes and always they pass for original thoughts. Labels prove helpful. They prevent me from drinking bleach, and putting glue in my eyes, and mixing my darks and lights. Signs are lifesavers as well, reminding which streets are one way, where not to enter, which beer makes me sexiest and which toothpaste will save the world.

When I used to think, I would write things down. I'd be so busy thinking, my mind so productive, I'd have to move thoughts to paper to clear some space. Now I can only write lists. Lists of things I used to think about. Things I wish I could consider. Things I already know. Sometimes I type the lists after I've written them. This makes them seem more important, more like thoughts. Sometimes I take a bunch of typed lists and make a stack. Some stacks go in files. All files go in a cabinet. The cabinet gets full and sometimes when I look at it in the afternoon, when the light is a bottle of scotch spilled on everything, the cabinet reminds me of my old brain. If my brain were here, we'd agree the cabinet is really empty.

Occasionally I wander the empty cave where my brain used to be and I try to remember what my last thought might have been about. Some days I remember it being about tow trucks. Others it seems it was about flight attendants. It makes me sad that I don't know, like not remembering someone's last words.

There are some side effects. Movies tend to confuse me. I often repeat myself. And for some reason now everything tastes like bacon. It takes a little getting used to. My first bacon banana is a real eye opener. I no longer order bacon and eggs, as it seems redundant. Just eggs. Scrambled.

Mostly, my life hardly changes at all. If I'm tired or bored or lonely, there's sleep or radio or television. In time I almost forget to remember that things were ever any different. In time, the missing posters fade, loosen from the telephone poles, and blow away. The milk expires, the cartons find themselves entombed in landfills, and the little picture of my mind along with the pleas for information about it's whereabouts slowly degrade into the Earth. Eventually I shower only once a day again, and just to get clean. If I don't smell, sometimes I skip.


Anonymous said...

Just washed up here via Cuppojoe. No idea what this blog is about or not. No idea yet who wrote this or why. But can't refrain from commenting on this post straightaway though: wow.

Unknown said...

So glad you stopped by and that Cuppojoe was kind enough to send you. As for what any of this is about, I'm still working that out.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Wow.