We all have bad days. Some worse than others. I had some creepy nightmares that my recently deceased dog came back to life, and I was so happy to see her. However, it turned out that her body was badly broken, so whenever she would try to run or play, she would end up as this mangled pile of bones and fur, whimpering in pain. It was unbearable to watch, and when I took her to the vet to beg them for pain medication to ease her suffering, they checked her out and explained to me that she would be dead again within weeks. Plus, her pain would increase exponentially until she finally died (for the second time). Look out, Stephen King. There’ s a new demented dreamer in town.
Anyway, during the course of this nightmare I must have twisted myself into a funny position, because now I kind of feel like I’ve had a stroke on the right side of my body. Seriously. I have pain from my neck to my calf, but only on the right side. How weird is that? I’ll tell you: weird. Then throw in the general strangeness of not working or being productive (or at least not in a way that pays), and the occasional negative thinking that I’m out of my mind and only a selfish, delusional lazybones would even attempt this career change, and the fact that I’m writing this in the complete dark (a total power outage)…and taken altogether it’s thrown a little bit of a dark cloud on my mood.
Luckily, I have my father to remind me of what isn’t wrong: I’m not completely batsh*t crazy. Actually, I talked to him yesterday when I was in a great mood (moody much? Why yes, I… Hey…why!? You want to make something of it!?!?), and he reminded me about this guy who lived in the apartment upstairs during my first year of college at UCSC.
To explain, UC Santa Cruz is broken into eight? ten? who knows how many at this point? smaller sub-colleges to minimize the ‘gigantic university’ effect. Each of the sub-divisions has its own flavor, and I chose the hippie experiment, Kresge. Kresge was built in the late 1960s by the people who went on to found some communes and invent some reality TV greats like The Real World and Big Brother. Well, I don’t know that for a fact, but it’s quite likely.
Unlike typical college dorms where you get a roommate and a meal plan, Kresge put seven strangers into one weird commune-style apartment. There were two toilets in stalls (like public restrooms), a shared kitchen and family room, and one shower with three heads. Very Playboy mansion. Pile in a motley mix of teens of varying emotional maturity and stability, and you’ve got one hell of a social experiment.
Thankfully, it more or less worked, and no one was severely traumatized…except maybe the guys that lived upstairs from us. You see, they got a roommate named Dill, and Dill had some rather extreme eccentricities.
For starters, he would only wear white. I suppose if you have enough Clorox around, that’s not totally outer limits. However, and (this just occurs to me now), perhaps in order to keep the white clothes sparkling, he would only eat white food. Plus, he was nocturnal. So his roommates would hear a ruckus at two or three in the morning and come out to find Dill cooking up a big pot of hominy or Cream of Wheat or maybe some kind of chowder or bisque. As my dad put it, “If he didn’t get some vitamins into that diet, he’s dead by now.”
Actually, I’m more inclined toward institutionalized. As I remember it, Dill’s Kresge student housing experience came to an abrupt end when a roommate made the following discovery: Concerned about the strange smell emanating from Dill’s room, the roommate entered while he was downstairs making his midnight mashed potatoes and rice pudding. As it was retold to me (by a different roommate), he found mason jars with dead birds and squirrels in them, and the jars were filled with water, so everything inside was rotting quite spectacularly. I believe there were varying dead things that hadn’t yet found a home in a jar, which was probably the source of the smell, and also (not surprisingly) the source of the eviction.
The moral of the story? On those days when life gets you down and you have sad dreams, bad dreams, busted dreams, or no dreams, just remind yourself: At least I’m not that guy.
And then go have yourself some colorful food.
Did I mention I’m in the middle of some localized power outage? At the moment, I’m sitting in the dark outside an apartment building, having hijacked the wifi of someone fortunate enough to have power!