He wakes up. He goes to the gym and experiences nausea on the running machine and the rowing machine and the step machine but it is good nausea then he worries about tumors and journalism and journalling and the moon hoax axe murderer who claims that the missing plane is on the darkside of the moon with the Nazis having been sucked through an artificial black hole that was made by a secret superweapon. Who controls the news birth market looking at purple tears weeping down a man’s face. Museums closed early and passport missing and slowly growing fear pushing it down as the spiral begins not to worry but without his passport he has no identity and he will have to get a new one and this will take six weeks and then he will not be able to take his driving test and then he will not be able to go to court with it and he will be put in jail for months and he will lose his job and he will be deported and he will need to renew his visa and thousands of dollars and time and effort will be expended as he then has to retake all the tests for his driving licenese again and come back to the country for court and then finally his passport is found and he is tearfully grateful but at what cost was it found and will it ever be better and how shockingly bad has he turned down the wrong path into the misty valley and he cannot see the end of the valley he can only hear noises in the dark that he does not like the sound of but then watching Veep and True Detective in Russian and eating tasty burgers becalms and relaxes and everything is okay again for a while but it will not be okay again in the future as the long winding road of comprimise crumbles before and behind him. The birth of the modern world, puzzle palace the masters of literature the power of the media news religion genuflection truth all of it mashed up together into a pulpy mess that can only be absorbed through a straw rammed into the forelobe of the brain as slowly conflict over water becomes a mainstream idea as Thucydides teaches about politics and war and Chekhov teaches about human relationships and jelly splash teaches nothing and there is walking and coffee and chocolates and Frisbee and Belgian brownies and a student making ricin in his dorm and matt taibbi’s book of eloquent rant and Andrew Jackson is a psychopathic maker of modern America and British are let of the hook once again for oppression native Americans and slaves. Bill Murray appears in Razor’s Edge in a beautiful powerful vanity project that nobody remembers and everyone is watching everything and everyone and no one is contemplating or compromising and everyone is afraid and tired and stressed and broken and beaten but double fried chicken almost solves everything and the sense memory of double fried chicken almost solves everything but there are still naggging doubts that remain like where is the plane and is Putin going to invade Finland and is there any milk in the fridge and does this blackberry infused coffee taste good or does it not taste good and why is sport and how do life and it is only lunchtime on another Monday in the 21st century so he does the only thing he can do and that is go to sleep.
He wakes up. He feels exhausted but the sleep tracker tells him that he slept well. He does not believe the sleep tracker. The sleep tracker is lying to him. It is sucking out his life force – digital succubus. He will not wear it again. He watches a trailer for a documentary about the role of women in the world today that is presented by a man. He wonders if the people who made this programme are aware of how this looks. He imagines that they probably don’t care. He smiles. Then he is sad. Then he stops caring and thinks about something else. He thinks about the poor quality coffee he is drinking and wonders if he should download the app that tells him how much coffee he is drinking and how much caffeine he has in his body so that he will then know when he can go to sleep. He considers that if he needs an app to tell him how and when to go to sleep based on the amount of coffee he has then he has no right to expect to be allowed to be unaccompanied out in public. He gets paid. He gets a free mug from the new health care provider that work is offering. It is a pink mug that changes colour to purple when cold liquids are put in it. It has GO YOU written on the front which seems the more he reads it like to disconnected words that a drunk might shout at him in the street at night. Everyone is being ridiculous about Ukraine and no one knows what is going on. Everyone is being ridiculous about the missing Malaysian plane and now black hole rapture theories are being brodcast by the mainstream news. He is tired. He goes to sleep. He has only been awake for an hour but it is enough. He will try again tomorrow.
He wakes up. There are many worse things than socks and sandals. He sits in his chair at work staring at screens for hours doing nothing productive just staring and then trying to lick his own eyeballs which is impossible because his tongue isn’t long enough and then flicking through web pages and then doing the same on his phone and then on his kindle and looking at the same things and pressing buttons and staring and eating and drinking thick black coffee like tar and he can’t tell the difference between reality shows and drama and the news and sitcoms and documentaries they are all the same they are all the same they are all the same they are all the same. Captain America smeared all over the media landscape. A mother who worked in a hospital is dragged behind a police car in Brazil. She dies. There is uproar. There is no ned to it. It is called inhuman but it is entirely human because human beings as always did it and using the word human soley for the good things humans do seems to be a little one-sided. He is never his best self. Humans are never their best selves. There is no such thing – just the time before composting begins. He sees an Illuminati eye hovering above the road. No one else seems to see it so he ignores it and heads into Dunkin’ Donuts for a donut flavoured coffee and a coffee flavoured donut. His confused tastebuds do not thank him. He hears the endles screams of a Mother who wants to know what has happened to her missing son and the plane that her missing son is on. She is dragged away by men. Others scream and ululate journalists parents officials a multi-limbed gaggle staggers towards the open door that soon closes behind the woman locking the questions out. Hope is held out for the resolution to the disappearance of a little girl and now perhaps a serial child rapist holds the key. Then an amber alert for a young girl missing for a week because the mother didn’t want the shelter manager who may have taken her to lose his job and bits of the plane may have been found and then it may not have been found and maybe Courtney Love knows where it is after all and Michael Gove is criticising the Cabinet for being full of old Etonians and then he is being criticised by a poet for giving school property away to private companies and then he eats a burger and enjoys sangria and reads some Chekov and some Bible and some Shakespeare. He puts a sleep tracker on his wrist and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He wakes up. He wakes up. He shouts. He wakes up. He turns. He wakes up. He spreads like butter over the bed. He is like a deflating balloon. He lopes to the bus stop. He lumbers to the drug store. He gambols to the grocery store. He swipes accidentally at strangers. He forgets to post a letter again. He reads a goverment written report about food and water security and he is terrified by it. There is no security at all. He hears the Revolution rumbling just over the horizon. Jimmy Fallon calms him down. Nothing can go wrong when Jimmy Fallon dances and frolics for the camera. He reads about freed slave girls and science for sale to the highest bidder and wears a double standard like a cheap suit that goes over the cheap suit he is wearing. He goes to sleep. He will wake up but for now he sleeps.
He wakes up. Snow piled up in thick hills mountainous ripples. Ukraine is independently tied to Russia. People cheer. Some weep. He buys bread and then accidentally makes a sandwich with three slices of bread but is too embarrassed to fix it so pretends it is what he meant to do all along. Then he eats a nut bar a chew nut bar that he purchased with the bread and the meat the meat that he did not mention before but that is also in the sandwich. Then he can’t remember what happens next but all of a sudden it is the evening and there is a man caught in a car in the river and a snow plough is on the wrong side of the road and his shoulders are sore and he finds some apples in his fridge which he eats and then he thinks his favorite theory on the missing plane is that it is a viral campaign for a movie version of Lost. Then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. His muscles scream at him to go back to sleep. He goes to the bathroom instead and empties his bladder and then he goes to the kitchen and fills his bladder with coffee but not directly rather by way of his mouth to his throat and beyond and then outside into the heat of the day and then there is sweating and the sun and the joy of summer and then without warning it snows and there is snow everywhere covering everything and they eat tapas and stand in the wind and then he watches people make up things and it is hilarious and then Veep and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is hilarious and then there is reading of Sartre and napping and other things and red wine and the joy of Spring curtailed by Seasonal television programmes that will probably not last more than three episodes because of nervous advertisers and short sighted television executives and then there is writing and sleep.
He wakes up. He is waiting at a bus stop. There is an Old Man waiting at the bus stop hunched up and silent against the terrifying cold. He gets on the bus after the Old Man ushers him on. The bus is slightly warmer but empty except for the Old Man who huddles in a seat near the front of the bus. Then he gets off the bus and he walks and gets on another bus and the Old Man is on that different bus and their eyes lock and in that moment they both know that they are the same person at different points on the time line and their eyes are full of fear and sadness and hopelessness because there is no escape from the tightrope path from one point to the other and only one direction toiling forever forward to the broken bodied Old Man. Then he sees a woman singing in a bright red coat. Then he hears somewhere in the distance vibrant arabic rock music. He shudders at the grinding cold and worries at the hobo filter that seems to exist between him and reality. Then he accidentally kicks a woman in the shin. A crowd gathers. There is unpleasantness. A man appears and offers cold Starbucks. Crowd confusion causes crowd diffusion and he slips away. He is tired of everything. Moments like arhythmic palpitations stuttering into the sunset. Icicockles hang limp. Tablet tablet tablet buttonless computer Gods law Scottish sweeties. He will never solve the environmental problems that the world has. It is too late. Time to move to Mars. He simmers in his inability to complete anything. He meets a friend and then spends all that time telling her about himself only after sickened by his inability to be a generous conversationalist listener ear. He eatshot pocket chicken donuts chips coffee stolen salted limbs gin and cranberry juice. Passwords are missing and forgotten from everything as is the Malaysian aeroplane as drink driving death increases because of fake id cards. Birds attack humans and Jimmy Fallons keeps playing and dancing and telling jokes as the world burns. It is exceedlingly cold screamingly cold. People die. Ice cream is named after historical massacres. They do not sell well. He is in a library collecting ideas in a line balling them up and throwing them at the teacher. Then he is told that he is supposed to collect books and read them. This confuses him. Then he meets a friend in a dream and there is mutual betrayal. Then he realises it is not a dream. He has been awake all along. He has never been asleep. He is tired. He is a butterfly. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He feels good about this. He feels that today he will get his driving license. He should not feel good about this for today he will not get his driving license. He is not to know that later on in the day he will pass various tests and fill in various forms and be elated but then be told that one test he took earlier is now expired and he will need to take that test again and by the time he takes that test his verification will have expired and he will have to be reverified which could well take longer than the expiration date on the tests he has already taken which he will then have to take again and then he will be in jail and he will have no job and he will be deported so it won’t matter anyway. He doesn’t know this now in the morning when he is munching on bagels and drinking coffee and packing his bag and preparing for the day full of energy and hope after his morning run the first run of many mornings. He should never have woken up. He should have stayed in bed and gone to sleep.
He wakes up. He doesn’t understand waiting in line or burueacracy or forms or filling in forms or the law or dayligh saving time or the structure of society or his place in it. He remains in bed for the duration of the day from sunrise until sunset. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He feels his eyeballs stroking the rasped flesh of the inside of his eyelids. He showers in coffee. He washes his face with milk wet cereal. He feels imaginary limbs sprouting from the dark recesses of his body and grasping at his shadow. He smells death in the air. The sickly sweet smell of life a distant base scent. Goats wander around a digital landscape. Goat skulls plunge softly into the dry desert. Animals speak in tongues. Badgers dress as businessmen. The desperate dance of the lost is pointed at by tourists. Child soldiers play video games. Drones drone. Bees buzz. Wind whips. He has functioning teeth. They sing and they dance. They are a popular sitcom on a kids network. He is not afraid to smile. No one can see his lips. He watches Happy and Happy and Happy and Happy and Happy and for those moments the world isn’t a monstrous suppurating molten ball of pain shooting through the blackness of space. Sport happens. War happens. Corruption happens. Birth. Death. Etc. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. Everything is dry like the desert. He looks around. He is in the desert. The sun is small and round and white and the sky is pale pale blue but almost white as well. His underwear is white but it is a dirty white. The sand is grey. His eyes hurt. He sees a small child in the distance. It is a small child or a very small adult. He gets closer. It is a frog wearing a bowtie. Then he is on the bus. Then he reads more about the Ukraine and Russia and doesn’t understand any of it and there are cheers in the western media when Abby Martin criticizes Russia and when Liz Wahl quits RT and there are broad views on this one is hooray the evil propaganda machine is being eaten from the inside then the other is that it is still business as usual for RT so why did they decide now to do this and the conclusion is self-promotion and then the other observation that no one did the same on CNN Or MSNBC or FOX or BBC or SKY or ITV or CBS or CBC or NBC or ABC when Iraq was invaded or Afghanistan was invaded or the Black hawks went down or when South American coups were plotted and that is not to say that anyone would because they are right all the time and the West is right but he would have thought that at least this might have been commented upon but of course it is not and then there is some criticism of Lupita N’yongo for being too black and for being a token and for being something that she can never be and then he watches the trailer for the new Annie starring Quevenzhane Wallis and Eric Marlon Bishop who sometimes likes to be called Jamie Foxx and it looks entertaining and moving and Cameron Diaz overacts in it too and that seems reasonable and then he eats some ice cream and a hot pocket and some cake and has a coffee and he has some cranberry juice and he stares at his swollen padded belly as it splits and spills over his belt and then he wonders and the career of Jack Whitehall and he doesn’t understand it and then he marvels at the career of Michael MacIntyre and he does understand it but it saddens him and then he embraces the miserablism of Stewart Lee and it keeps him warm and safe as the sound of Chris Morris interrogating him in a black and white smoke filled room calms him as he falls asleep in the desert.
He wakes up. He chews on his soul. He spits it out into the bowl. His lip swells. It is bleeding. Blisters swelling on his lips. His beard down to his knees. He sits on a mountain. Then he plugs in his ipod. He listens to Shel Silverstein reading poetry to the Dalai Lama. Johnny Cash comes round for tea. A slide is set up from the top of the mountain down all the way down to a tiny little lake at the base. It is cool and fresh and is for drinking only so when they all slide in the water is dirtied and rendered spiritually and medically unuseable. Everyone gets sick but they do not die. Then they are healed. Then the cat litter is taken out and is spread across the mountain and all of the ice and the snow melts and poisoned with cat litter renders the area unliveable but he goes back to the city because his holiday is over and he can get back to the regular monotony of his life. He forgets about the damage he has caused because he will go somewhere else for his next holiday. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. There is snow and ice and cars slip and slide and there is hopelessness in the air. People talk but there is no sound. People stare but they cannot see. People record everything but they do not remember anything. People rebel but they are crushed. People reach for the skies but fall off cliffs. Everyone has a glow around their bodies but under their skin there is just hollowness and shadows. There are talks and swagger and promises and threats and sanctions called for and lies revealed and it’s just another day it’s just another day as more people watch The Voice and watch Jimmy Fallon as the news pretends the world is collapsing as families sit at the dinner table enjoying their evening meals not worried about the inevitable entropy of the Universe. All is luck and chance and very little is skill and talent. He goes to sleep satisfied at this thought.
He wakes up. The Ukraine is heavy with tension. Venezuela is heavy with tension. There is no milk in his fridge. He doesn’t have a car. John Kerry casts shade on Ben Affleck. Seth Rogen complains when no-one turns up to his capitol hill deposition. The House of Cards is teetering. Futurama is never coming back. His thumb drive isn’t working. His work appeared in the Corcoran. His work is going to appear in New York. In a tiny studio. Uncredited. No one will know. Which will be fun. Christians attack Muslims attack Christians attack Buddhists attack Muslism attack Sikhs attack Christians. Faces melt. Imaginary money dissolves into the air. He strokes his beard. He drinks some wine. He stares. He eats some bean dip. He stares some more. He thinks. He ponders the robot future. He ponders faux-Elysian past. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. There is snow still the snow it keeps snowing there will always be snow and there will never not be snow. He has a coffee and he eats some toast and he gets on the bus and he arrives at work and he learns about rotting gold filling up the arteries of the world. There is no hope. There is no end. There is an endless end ending itself on the beach of this desperate futility. There is cake in the kitchen at work. This is a delight. He eats some of the cake with a coffee that he makes for himself in the large machine that makes the coffee that is most likely the son of HAL. It is going to kill everyone one day sucking all the oxygen out of the office as it sings Row Row Row your boat softly into infinity. There is weather everywhere. He learns about beard implants. Beard implants. There is such a thing as beard implants. He has never needed a beard implant. He has spent his life in a world in which beards and hairyness was not looked upon with delight but with disgust and now as he gets old it is all the rage the in thing all the cool kids are doing it and the most popular implant is the Brad Pitt because of course it is why would it not be and why does he feel this rising sense of bitterness at the world and at the past and at his history he does not know but the cake helps. He looks at the faces of strangers and he can tell nothing for certain. He believes he sees tiredness and boredom and sadness and some happiness but these are all projections he is none the wiser as to their internal lives and their hopes and their dreams and then he plays some more Candy Crush. He watches as all the cameras in the world start losing control and taking pictures and recording things and storing them and a turning into a heaving gelatinous blob of oozing images blinking whirring collating and preparing for some future court date where you will be found guilty after all the evidence they collected is presented to the robot judge. Then he eats a sandwich and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is cold. He wants to be warm. He is hungry. He wants to be sated. He is tired. He wants to be awake. He is told by the dentist that he has wonderful clean teeth a small mouth and that he should floss more. He should floss more. He should floss. He goes to Starbucks to celebrate his clean teeth and celebrates with a coffee and some cake. He watches House of Cards which is entertaining but inexcplicably it quite without warning jumps the shark when it has no need to. It lands adequately enough and carries on as if that scene hadn’t happened but it leaves a confusing and not wholly pleasant taste in the mind-mouth. It is still a good show. He eats pizza and he drinks some bourbon and then he drinks some more bourbon and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is standing in a grocery store. He may not be wearing clothes he cannot remember. He knows that he had an envelope in his had moments ago but now it is gone. It is not in his hands any more. This is a problem because it contains many important documents and he thinks he has left it on a bench or on a train or on a chair on at a movie theater or at a coffee bar and it has his passport and his driving license and his address and his social security card and he feels his clothes tight against his body but he feels nude in the refrigerated aisle. And his car title and his whole paper being and his identity is in there and he starts buying things at random in the grocery store – he buys some donuts and some ketchup and then he buys some cleaning products as he waits for a call from someone who might know where this envelope that contains him is if it is on the train or under a bridge or in the bag of a thief and a forgerer and he sees his whole world collapse buildings crumbling and explosions pluming into the air and he is ruined utterly ruined and he will go to jail and he will never be let out again and he will go on the run and he will be hunted by dogs and Tommy Lee Jones and then a call comes through and as he places the onions and the meat flavoured tofu and the large wet lettuce and the other items down on the ground in an artful display it turns out that he left the envelope in a safe place and it isn’t out in the world and his indentity is safe in the envelope and later his heart rate slows and he is calm again and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is ready again for the bureacracy again as he walks to the bus stop and waits for an hour as a bus fails to come and his hands are cold and finally he get on a bus and then gets off the bus and waits in the cold again and farts loudly in the empty street and then round the corner many joggers appear but where are they appearing from it is so early in the morning and they are jogging and he is still farting and he stops but they run through his cloud and they know that it is him because he is the only one there on the street as they struggle through the stinking cloud he has created and then the bus arrives but it is too late they already know that it is him. Then he is at the mva again and this time he manages to explain what is going on and he is told he needs new proof of address so he walks to the nearest Staples. It is an enormous warehouse of stationary and there is a nice lady who helps him and a nice gentleman who helps him and he feels like he is the only person in this giant quiet pleasant smelling cavern. He prints out his new proof of addresses and hopes he remember to change his passwords later for his accounts because he does not trust public computers. Then he returns to the mva and he gets his number and he waits for a long time and then the lady helps him and lo and behold and hallelujah there is a record of his passing his driving test so all he needs to do is to be reconfirmed by Homeland Security and retake his legal test and he will have his license and hopefully they will not put him in prison and throw away the key for 60 days. He reads a sign that suggests he become an organ donor. He reads about Assange and it is insightful and a hatchet job and both or neither depending on your current view of him and what he was and is and will be as he sits in the Ecuadorean Embassy slowly going insane trapped. He hears families waiting and friends making inappropriate jokes. He walks by the Mexican food truck which is one of the finest food trucks he has even eaten from. There is sniping about the Gold Medal being given unfairly to Russia for the figure skating. There are arguments about words sniper or marksman terrorist or freedom fighter chips or fries crisps or chips potato potato. A teenager has overpowering perfume sickly sweet that fills the bus. Paperwork madness ordered into meaning. Homeland security background checks. Something has happened. Something that is important and meaningful. There are buses and cancellations and donuts and coffee and pain and lasagne and house of cards and very quiet tension and so so so so so so many car commercials. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is wearing lacy underwear lying in a bath full of ice. He puts this down to experience. He only needs one lung after all. Then he goes to bed.
He wakes up. The pall of death is still on him. Then it leaves him after a coffee. Then he is on a bus and his hair is everywhere. Then he wades through the mire of human sadness. Then he eats a bagel. Then he plans how to save himself from jail and he gets a lawyer and he prints out some forms and he fills in some forms. Then sees that the Dalai Lama is visting the President and he wonders what machinations are afoot. Then he heads to his house and he fills in forms and he buys some breakfast cereal and eats the breakfast cereal for his evening meal because he is an adult and he can do what he likes and then he prepares himself for the mva which is his second home and he watches graceful olympic ice racing and marvels and the beautiful slow motion replays and then he watches and listens and people scream at Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon ushering everyone to their doom on the sinking ship and he watches as they rap and dance and do impressions and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is ready for court. He puts on a suit that his headmaster gave him one time and he puts on a thin black tie and he wears his only smart shoes which happen to be a pair of hiking boots. Then he charges his phones and he walks to the bus and he gets on the bus and he walks to the train and he gets on the train and then in a tunnel the driver tells everyone to get off train but they are in a tunnel so no one can get off the train. They all sit there silently wondering if they do have to get off or if there has been a mistake. There has been a mistake. An army of children – small and inquisitive don’t touch that woman’s hair stop singing that song sit next to your grandmother and then they leave the train. He sees a Dunkin Donuts which he will go into after the trial and he will treat himself to coffee and donuts just like the policemen who will later be milling around the court room the huge policemen with their barrel chests and their hip holstered power. He walks through the heavy security playing words with friends and candy crush and jelly splash and break out and quietly soiling myself and watching as more and more people enter the court with their families or lawyers or friends or alone for parking or traffic violations and police with guns and swagger and cars turn in the road outside through the window and babies and boredom and standing and squatting and strangers talking about the day they will miss because of this and understanding bosses and second chances and paper work and worry and dressing in unfamiliar suits to appear before the law. Then all enter and he sits down but then he is told to stand up and line up for the state prosecuter and he realises he has no idea what he is doing he really should have brought a lawyer but it’s fine he’ll just plead guilty and get a fine. His throat getting drier expecting to be thrown in an airless dungeon. He needs some water but there is no water and there is no food and no food or drink are allowed into the court house. Then he is asked by the state prosecuter if he needs a lawyer and he says no and she looks at him strangely as he mumble something about his guilt and he realises he really doesn’t know what he’s doing and he is told to sit down and then the Judge enters and everyone stands and he seems like a nice old white gentlemen and power crackles from his fingertips in the most benign way imagineable. He tells everyone that this court is for jailable offences and suddenly it doesn’t seem to relaxed any more and that 60 days in prison and a fine and no possibility of immigration because of a jailable offence on his record and he goes up with five other men all need a translator and the judge explains what is going on and the translator translates in beautiful Spanish what is going on and his heart sinks as he realises he really has no idea what is going on and he thought that he would be okay but he is not going to be okay and the judge suggests that he gets a lawyer and suggests that he gets a driving license and he doesn’t ask if he can just never drive again but that doesn’t seem to be an option and then he is told to sit down and he is given a bit of paper to sign and a bit of paper to take with him and then he leaves stressed and confused and he goes to dunkin donuts and he drinks coffee and he eats an apple turnover and he tries to be witty but he is really not witty at all and he calls the airport and he is called by NPR and his car will be called on Monday. Then he watches as more factories blow up and Ukraine is alight and Venezuela is alight and the Keystone Pipeline will be alight and it was all predicted my mathematics last year and a simple story is a single piece of yarn. Life is a ball of yarn made up of an infinite number of pieces of yarn all different lengths. More factories blow up David bowie favours union. The debate for Scottish Indepencene takes a terrible blow from the Old White Duke. The Satanist lady probably a liar say the police and her father. Millions of women on the bus that he studiously ignores so that he doesn’t get accused of visual assault and he eats some candy for supper. He thinks back to court not going well. He does not understand the system and is told he could go to jail and get fined and have his chance at becoming an immigrant blocked he does not do well and he is stressed and he makes a terrible joke that ruins the day and then he plans for his car to be taken away on monday everything is repeating in his head and mashing down like mash potatoes and then he is wandering the city eating some chips and drinks an hawaiin soft drink that reminds him of childhood and Musselburgh, the pompeii of scotland. It is sugary and sickly and nothing like Hawaii or how he imagines Hawaii. It makes him feel cold. Then he wonders whether he is a potato or a strawberry as he remembers a conversation his headmaster once had with him and he does not understand it but then he is given an explanation that makes sense that the potato is dull and a staple a mass product of use but no particular delight but the strawberry is a bright shining beacon of flavour and colour for the palatte and the soul and the choice between being a work drone and someone who will stand out was what he was being offered and it all came from shoes not being shined and it took 20 years to get the answer but he is happy with that answer and whilst he is okay with being a potato he would actually much prefer to be a stawberry. He watches Jimmy Fallon who holds back the coming storm of chaos with jokes and unreserved happiness as the Titanic sinks into the ocean he falls asleep.
He wakes up. The Ukraine is heavy with civil war. The new Primeminister of Italy looks like Mr. Bean. Tony Blair was giving advice to Rebbekah Wade about her News of the World travails but that’s okay because surely it’s okay to give advice to friends who are in trouble and then he watches a man smash an ancient vase painted with industrial paint by Ai Wai Wai that was in a gallery and was worth millions of dollars and then a woman gets shot outside of a bank in the Ukraine and then Tony Blair suggests that Rebbekah Wade carry out a Hutton Style inquiry for her phone tapping problems but he wonders what that means does he many carry out an inquiry that will exonerate her and her lackeys or does he mean as he says he claims he means carrying out an open and fair inquiry which will get to the truth of the matter. He couldn’t possibly comment on which one Tony Blair means but he has been watching a lot of House of Cards recently so his mind is certainly turning itself towards one of those definitions. Then there is yet more ice dancing and yet more House of Cards and he is in a hospital and he is being x-rayed and the x-ray technician is talking like a fashion photographer and telling him how perfect his shoulder is and that he is text book and that all the other shoulder would be jealous and give me blue steel and pose like that and make it feel so good and then he goes to the doctor and finds that his shoulder is just stiff and he didn’t need to do all of those things just some stretches but it did make the morning pass by so at least there was that. Then he watches Jimmy Fallon take over late night television even more and he ponders the amount of space that is taken up talking about this and how much importance it is being given and he smells the smoke and he sees the mirrors but he does not know what the final reveal will be – an empty beach stretching out forever lost individuals wandering around aimlessly as they take breaks between scrabbling for sustenance in the wet sand. Then he looks at a list of unusual hotels which includes a caravan inside a warehouse, a mineshaft, a model intestine, a building shaped like a giant cartoon dog, a building shaped like a trojan horse, a hammock and a hotel made entirely of salt. There are people out there now in the world collecting these experiences even as children walk with their families over the desert to escape a war and then find themselves in a famous photograph which misrepresents their already awful experience. Then he worries about the American legal system then he worries about the man who is being crushed by the makers of Candy Crush because he made a similar game before them but now doesn’t have the means to stop them destroying him and even as he wonders if the whole story is a hoax he plays one more game of Candy Crush before bed as he buries the guilt deep down inside himself falling into sleep that will last for hours.
He wakes up. It is not a snow day but it is a day covered in snow. He talks to a Governor who is polite but doesn’t aim his considerable charms at him because he is not important enough to warrant such affection. He eats some polenta which tastes unusual and then he realises he doesn’t know if it tastes unusual because he doesn’t remember having ever eaten polenta before so it may be perfectly good polenta but he remembers joking that it might taste like soap and because he has implanted the idea of tasting like soap it now tastes like soap but because it is not soap and because he is hungry he eats it and manages to enjoy it as he watches the graceful ice dancers compete with one another. Then he gives his car to NPR and finally it will be off his hands and now all he has to do is to deal with the stress of going to court because he was driving with his British license which was apparently not the right thing to do and he hopes the court will have mercy on his ignorance and he will not be sent to Guantanamo Bay or deported. Then he listens to the radio and he is glad he is giving his car to NPR because he only once paid for a subscription and he has listened to at least a cars worth of radio since he has been in America and even if he is giving them a low quality car it is still a car so he may be able to listen for a little while longer without feeling guilty for not paying regularly when they beg him for money. He listens to Noam Chomsky talking calmly and patiently as he describes how the skin is being pulled back from the skull of the world and the whole planet is doomed because of rapacious capitalism. He has a hot chocolate and this makes him feel better. He reads a sad story about the shooting of a young girl because a she egged a car and the violence is thick in the air and the fear is thicker and there seems to be little hope for anything to go well but then he watches Jimmy Fallon hosting The Tonight Show and he forgets for a moment all the awful things and he eats a pie that contains mostly salt and fat and sugar and some meat and that helps him forget the horror of the world and then he watches more beautiful ice dancing and graceful freestyle ski jumping and ski ballet which is also graceful and slightly comical. Then four old men get stuck on a roof in New York and no one will let them down until they sing songs to strangers. Then he is impressed by some snow art of Lincoln and a mini Mount Rushmore all made of snow all made in driveways and somewhere else old people slip and break their hips. Then he enjoys more of Jimmy Fallon and then he smiles and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. Sluggish shoulder weeping bright blinding snow economic disparity rolexes for breakfast. Horror in Central African Republic. Horror in Syria. Horror in England. Horror in California. Horror in Indonesia. Volcanoes, carbon dioxide trapped in the ocean ready to be released in one giant fart that will poison us, James Lovelock concluding we have already passed the tipping point. A world in which the phrase earmarked for investment fills the heart of local people with terror as they watch the enormous mouth swallow them up into the lightless belly of capitalism and empire. He watches a white man let off for killing a black man but convicted of attempting to kill three other black men and and it doesn’t seem to matter that a black man was murdered for playing music too loud. Then a female skiier shatters her spine. A co-pilot of an Ethiopian airplane hijacks it and flies it to Geneva to ask for political asylum. Then he watches House of Cards. Then he watches as miners in a mine collapse refuse to be saved because they have been digging gold illegally and do not want to be arrested and prefer to remain in their tomb than face the law. Then he moves his vandalized car and he calls NPR and they agree to pick it up and then there is snow and more snow and then even more snow. Then he drinks too much coffee and too much gin and too much whiskey and plays too much flappy bird and gets fifteen points which he is too happy about and then he despairs at the quality of science debate in the world and then he falls asleep.
He wakes up to a monochrome world. A crispy marshmallow sliding and dying on broken hips world. A snow day and sled day and trapped day world. He checks on his car and finds that the wing mirrors have been smashed. He puts it down to the storm at first but then he wonders how the storm could have torn off one of the mirrors and then placed them neatly in the thick snow that rests on the bonnet of the car the hood of the car he cannot think of a storm that could do that and puts it down to a will o the wisp or a gremlin or an early morning gang of miscreant youths or a pissy neighbour who earlier in the year called the police to remove the car because it was unsightly but now cannot do that because the car is registered to the home and all they can do is wreak their bitterness by way of vandalism or maybe it was the storm. Then he drinks a coffee and he eats some toast and he uses uber for the first time and barrels down the road later on with a driver who is pleasant but wears too much aftershave which bites the back of his throat and doesn’t know where he is going even despite having GPS and despite having google maps but they arrive and everyone within their small temporary community is still alive. Then he feels sick and exhausted and lethargic and he watches the snow melt at the Winter Olympics and the marionettes broken and tumbling down the wet mountains for medals and he thinks again abuot his brutalized car and the wing mirrors hang sagging and sad and the aerial bent horizontal. Then he swerves to work on slushy roads interrogating the spaces between the few abadoned cars before arriving in a small icy lake which he wades through with his bag like an adventurer to slip and slide on the marble floor in the lobby of his workplace. Then he feels exhausted and thinks he has probably taken too many pain killers so he has a coffee and some cookies and cream flavoured milk and then he is taken to the wrong building and it is already the end of the day and he is not sure where the day went and then the driver apologizes but it’s okay because it means being in the warmth of a car for that much longer and then he is in the warm. Then Matt Lauer presents the Winter Olympics from the Fortress of Solitude but not in a Superman costume which would have made it perfect and then he falls into aching dreamless sleep.
He wakes up to aches and pains and kisses and he he can’t breathe through his nose so he can only breathe through his mouth and his eyes and his ears. Then it goes after he showers and drinks water and the sun comes up and his shoulders scream and he naps and eats a sandwich and snow is coming and the storm is coming and it feels warm later in the day when he walks home and the snow drifts gently down and he plays Flappy Bird and he hates it and he plays Candy Crush and he hates it and he plays Jelly Splash and he hates it but not enough to stop playing any of these games as he listens to NPR pledge drives begging for money and Ken Cucinelli on the side of privacy and against NSA spying and the desperate people of Homs used as examples of why invasion would be a good idea and his farts do not smell pleasant and he thinks he feels blood coming from somewhere inside him and he worries about his court date and he rejoices at his tiny tax return and he rejoices at the new credit card he has and he ignores the life insurance man who keeps calling and he misses his beard and he eats some cookies and an ice cream and he has a hot chocolate and he wonders at the staring eyes of the man he saw by the train earlier and hopes that he found a place to stay. Then he watches some more of Pandora’s Box an old German silent film that he has been watching which is entertaining and dark and complex and epic and melodramatic and he learns some more Spanish and French and he is determined to one day be fluent in a language other than the one he was born into and he cringes with embarrassment at his failure to communicate with someone in both those languages on Friday and then he lists more philosophers and then he decides not to explain that and even as he falls asleep the snow still has not begun to fall but it will fall and it will lay on the ground and everything will be covered in snow. He falls asleep.
He wakes up. He sees balloon animals and balloon swords and balloon flowers and dinosaurs and poodles and giraffes and then he watches the snow rise above his ankles and his knees and his hips and his nipples and his neck and his forehead even as the snow melts in Sochi. He wonders how many naked videos have been made of him as he sits nude and firm in front of his computer over the years his webcam’s unblinking eye judging him and recording him like HAL. No more than any videos and pictures he has regrettably made himself and disemminated through the sludge of the fetid swamp that is the Internet. Polio is making a resurgance. He hopes that he doesn’t get polio. It would be a talking point at dinner parties but he doesn’t like dinner parties nor is he a particularly good guest. His beard is a good guest but he is not. He dreams but it hurts. Then he hurts as he dreams. Then he burps. Then he stretches his back. Then he listens to a man who is called Mark Lewisohn talking about The Beatles and as The Beatles US playlist is revealed it appears that except for Richie Valens most of the artists are African American and rather than address the idea that some of The Beatles success came from the fact that like Elvis they repackaged black music in a white box for the white music buying public a lot of time was spent on vague discussions of the original genius of the gentlemen from Liverpool and how the Potato Famine in Ireland was actually a larger inheritance. Interesting but dubious and then chicken and donuts and cocktails and cuddles and amusing conversations overhead on the platform about naked selfies and a loud conversation that will just not end about that time when you were having problems and you sent me a picture and it was hard remember that let me find the picture yes it was difficult and you were having trouble remember please be quiet the old man on the street upstairs can’t here you and then he falls asleep.
He wakes up. The cold it never ends. Hazelnut coffee wakes him up. Scary monkeys are playing cymbals on the television genuflecting to a car. Preparations are made for drowning in snow. A new credit card arrives. He pretends it is real money. A new car title arrives. He gives his car away. His albatross will now be used for charity dragged away rusting and weeping through the snow. Then he watches olympics and men and women sliding over the ice and even more is coming and Al Gore is on the $500 note in Futurama themed Monopoly money and maybe one day he will be on the real $500 note when all that will be will be one slim jim at the gas station except there will be no gas stations because gas will be illegal or it will have run out. Then he walks past the diaper again and now it has become a fixture, a sculpture that neither wind nor snow nor rain nor civic duty nor public employees will remove and it will no doubt stay in the sidewalk forever and pilgrimages will occur to the dirty diaper and babies will be blessed and lepers will be cured and it will have a cordon and people will pay to see it and a ticket booth will be set up and a shop will be set up and soon it will be part of the Tourist itinerary. Then he falls asleep thinking and wondering in equal measure.
He wakes up. Where has all the time gone? Amazon and Google continue their robot arms race making their automated armies in secret factories inside volcanoes and underneath the tundra of unnamed continents. He watches as newsgathering becomes a religion and besuited priests intone the holy mantras of the moment and then we all know what is happening in nicely packaged three minute bite sized chunks of liturgy and genuflection and praise the truth and the light and the order of democracy and don’t think too much that what you are being told is crafted and structured and moulded and there might be more to the story than meets the ear and the eye. Then his shoulder hurts and he takes some pain pills and it stops hurting and then he drinks some alcohol and he feels delightfully muzzy and then he listens to some music at a gig and the first song is like the second song is like the third song is like the fourth song and then he realizes that it’s one long song broken up by the singer pretending to drink for a champagne bottle and giggling nervously but his pocket isn’t picked and the one long song is acceptable and the company is delightful so it is no crime to be there. Then the legalization of cannabis seems to be going well and perhaps if it is legalized everywhere then young black men will have less to fear of long term incarceration but then some other thing will no doubt be found to stop them and search them and imprison them and then he wonders if thug has been taken up as a word that white people can now use with impunity in public and in the media when referring to young black men and young African American men when really they mean these white people and these commentators are, in their heads, using the word nigger. It seems that this is the case and the hate keeps on spewing and the hate keeps on flooding and the hate keeps on drowning and then The Beatles are lauded for changing rock music and selling American Music back to the Americans and everyone claps and cheers and Ringo sings and Paul sings and no one mentions that the music that was sold back was mostly African American music but that’s okay because everyone can be Accidentally Racist sometimes as we learnt from LL Cool J and Brad Paisley and it is just a shame that they don’t sing that song again as they are both there celebrating The Beatles. Then he makes some lizard stamps and then he makes a heart t-shirt and then he plays flappy bird and he hates it a lot and he plays some more and he continues to hate it and then he almost meets the President of Haiti who seems to be a very charming man and then he lies down and then he has a coffee and then the President justifies NSA spying and none of us have anything to worry about and then he wonders if there is any job that cannot be automated and it seems like there is no job that cannot one day be automated and the best we can hope for is to be either inefficient batteries for robots or human playdolls for the very few rich who make money of the automatisation of the future of civilisation. Then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. His shoulders ache. He is cold he is warm he is cold he is warm he is on a bus he is on a car as he slides on the bonnet off into a ditch and rolls and ducks and covers from the mushroom explosions that drift from the horizon. He is in a neon desert resting under a neon cactus waiting to be buried in a neon grave. His bones are neon and his teeth are glowing. He feels strange creatures travelling through his arteries and his veins and collecting in his heart and his brain and his elbows and his lobes. He realises that there is no escape because the thing he is trying to escape from is already inside him and if it gets out he will die so he gives up and eats a string cheese and then some toast and then mourns the bag of brown mash that used to be bananas that is rotting in his cupboard and then he has to decide between Candy Crush or Sartre two competing Totems of the western world. The music, the popular culture the wrappings and the odors of wealth simmering every so slightly in the approaching storm of revolution. Inequality requires rebalance at some point. Rome knew, France knew, Athens knew, Ashoka knew, Britain knew, will we know. what we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history and then We become water droplets in a cloud that at a distance looks like a solid surface upon which to walk. Then there is bliss and blues and coffee and bagels and laughter and old episodes of Magnum and The A-Team and Saturday Night Live and Justine Bieber and failure and there is a murder at a mall and it is another sad day in America but of course guns are not the problem they are never the problem. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. Robert Redford looks tired. Independent film isn’t. His flourescent pen has run out. He watches the end of the world over and over and over again. He showers. He finds words and puts them in a bag. He wonders how many coming of age films need to be made. It seems that there is a never ending desire for everyone to think that their perspective on something that everyone experiences is important. It isn’t. He wonders why it seems that The Commonwealth Games is always taking place in Glasgow. He is not sure if this is true or if it is just his poor memory. More talks about talks occur to think about talking about stopping the pasting and the crushing of human beings for land and power. Today the end of the Mexican American War is celebrated commisserated and somewhere in an alternate universe the map looks very different. Then he watches two old Sean Connery films one called Wrong is Right an interesting and now problematic satire on the news, terrorism and the modern world made in the seventies and full of all the racist stereotypes that you would expect and The Offence about a policeman in Scotland falling into madness as he considers the horrors he has experienced and committed through his long career. Connery is game and applies himself as best he can. Then he walks in the cold and is beaten half to death by the temperature and the brutality of nature assuaged only by cuddles and hugs. People are born and die as he falls asleep.
He wakes up. There is chocolate everywhere. Justin Bieber drinking and drag racing in fast cars. Sizzurp is scaring the parents of America. Everyone is wealthy in Des Moines. Gender lines are still kept hard and fast on morning television. Civil War bubbles in Ukraine. A gang rape is sanctioned as suitable punishment in a small village somewhere in West Bengal in India. Somewhere the sun is rising. Somewhere it is setting. Somewhere apparent and actual reality meet for a cup of coffee and a cup of tea. He watches as story after story is condensed and misrepresented in little chunks of two to three minutes long. Everyone will be injected with cameras and phones one day. One day everyone will be their own reality show. One day the Oscars won’t be predominantly white. One day the moon will be colonized and Mars will be colonized and beards will go out of fashion again and South Sudan is collapsing but it’s okay because George Clooney is trying to buy a satellite so that everyone can watch the implosion in real time until he has a new hobby. Then there is ice and cold and blizzards and death and the embrace of a dreamless sleep.
He wakes up. He reads Malcolm X and a drinks a bottle of wine from a plastic bag. He wanders past the same diaper that has been open on the sidewalk for more than two weeks now ignored and swollen as it displays itself onto the concrete. Batman is an assassin in purgatory a merchant in the hedonistic league. Wet leaves look like squashed mice.
Cold fog rolling in. Blizzard bites and scrapes. News full of violence and death and sex with children along with reports that human beings are getting less violent. The rich sit on their little mountain in Davos and declaim and weep and gnash and claw – begging to be given the chance to fix the problems that they have created. The Biggest Loser causes weeping. The Syrian War causes weeping. The Holocaust causes weeping. No more hot chocolate causes weeping. The mashed up paste of experience and choice trivializes everything. JFK is dead. Jimi Hendrix is dead. The King of Love is dead. Plastic cutlery and wooden chopsticks are destroying the planet. He does his taxes. He registers his car. He eats bread. He drinks coffee. He worries. He stops worrying. Life continues. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He discovers that it is New Year’s Eve. He wonders where the rest of the year went. It went so quickly. He has lots of thoughts. He keeps them all to himself. He ponders the reviews and the reviews and the reviews and then he drinks some red wine and does some chemistry experiments and thinks about those who he won’t be with and those who have already celebrated the new year and the days that he has missed and the thoughts he has had and the experiences he has had and he will save all of that for tomorrow when it will be a new year. He goes to sleep after midnight and wishes everyone a Happy New Year.
He wakes up. Thor 2 Anthony Hopkins seems half asleep but everyone else seems wide awake. The Hunger Games tiny little Peeta Mellark gets beaten up by everyone. Captain America is more nuanced that he thought it would be. The Dark Knight Rises is excellently entertaining but it’s plot is held together more by faith and goodwill than solid writing. Then he goes to a Chinese Tea House and eats lovely food and drinks lovely lime and ginger infusions except the lime looks suspiciously like a badly disguised lemon but it tastes so good and he makes a racist joke which is awful so awful that he cannot repeat it so he doesn’t feel he can ask for a lime instead of a lemon and he didn’t want to make the racist joke but it just came out without thinking and clearly he is still not the enlightened being he likes to pretend he is. Then they have a lovely caramel apple spice and then he is taught about the secret Starbucks menu and his mind is blown and then he double checks with the staff and they smile and nod knowingly at him and he is suddenly in a very special club. Then he reads about the Arab Uprising and it is no longer called the Arab Spring because there have been too many Springs now and one long awful winter and there is no freedom and joy and cafes and employment and meaningful change and then They Syrian Civil War continues and the horror continues and it continues and it continues and then his love makes a glorious winter drink with grand marnier and milk and cinnamon and it tastes like Christmas and there there are cuddles and love and Martin Luther King writes the letter from Birmingham jail and many years later people read it and are inspired by it and then there is ice skating and horses are being used for medical research and then being sold into the food chain but what if the research is for super strength or invisibility and those powers were transferred to civilians surely that would be worth the price of a horse shank to get super powers and then antiobiotics are going to be banned in beef but how is he going to get his medication now and how will he protect himself from mrsa and disease and death if he does not get all the cow and chicke medication through his eating of cow and chicken. He is worried and feels he will have to take more pills for his various imagined ailments. Then there is cranberry flavored ginger ale and cranberry flavored sierra mist cranberry flavored cranberries and everything is wonderful and everything is more and it is late and a boop made frmo bits and data is not a flesh and blood boop but as boops go it is better than no boop at all and then he sleeps.
He wakes up. The world is covered in ice. He falls asleep and misses his shower window and he slides and slips all the way to the bus stop and takes twenty minutes to walk a ten minute journey and watches the bus drive away far away from him and then he get the train and then he gets a seat and it is warm on the train and he falls asleep and nearly misses his stop and then his work day is very busy and then he has some lunch which is old pizza from the night before that he brought in tupperware and heated up in the microwave. Then there are interviews and meetings and then he goes to American University library for a party and then there is a lockdown and everyone is told to shelter in place and this is the first time he has had to do this and it all seems very calm but there is the potential for horror that never goes away but there are secure areas that he checks out as he wanders and there are cookies and there is coffee and water and even as the heat increases and teenagers make out in the shadowy corners of the library life seems to continue and then it turns out that it is a false alarm and the armed man was an off duty police officer but a false alarm is better than a nightmare massacre and as long as this country is drenched in guns and bullets and psychosis the false alarm will always be preferable to the it will probably be okay that’s probably fake gun that person is not to be feared let’s just go on about our lives and not warn anyone that their death is imminent. Then pizza then cuddles then sleep and sweet safety and relief.
He wakes up. It is 4am. He turns the television on and watches the Nelson Mandela memorial service in the stadium in South Africa and he watches as Bill Clinton glad hands and Hillary Clinton hugs and kisses and Barack Obama and Raul Castro shake hands and he thinks he hears nearby in Washington the sound of Republicans exploding and anti-Communists melting and Joe McCarthy clawing at his coffin desperately trying to come to the surface to wreak bloody meat-tearing havoc. Then he sorts out some photographs and then he has a coffee and then he eats some cereal and then he listens to Obama’s resounding speech which is full of wonderful phrases and delightful ideas but unfortunately bears no relation to the real world but what does that matter in this day and age where lofty rhetoric is more important than ground level progress. Then he walks through the snow and takes lots of photographs of the snow and then he misses the bus but he cannot run ineffectually or efectually because of the slush and the slip sliding snow and then he waits for the bus and gets on the bus He learns words in Spanish and words in Mandarin and then he gets on the train and he falls asleep and he wakes up and arrives at work and a friend arrives from Palestine and he talks with him for a while and then he has a coffee and then he eats a cookie and one of his bosses is leaving and another boss will take his place and he eats some food and he eats an avocado and he plans the holidays and he worries about his budget and he talks on a web camera and he laughs and he jokes. Then there is the selfie that rings out throughout the world and Obama is smiling but then everyone is smiling but then one frame captures Michelle Obama not smiling so everyone assumes she is unhappy but it probably just caught a moment when she was giving her face a rest from smiling because the arena seemed to be full of joy and life. Then he feels exhausted and has a little nap his head resting on the table in front of him then he does some more work and then he trudges home which takes a long long time and it is cold and yet the air is incredibly clean and pure and finally he returns home to pizza and love and left over breakfast coffee and then he sleeps.
He wakes up. He drinks coffee. He eats cereal. He eats cookies. This is not a healthy breakfast but he is still alive so it can’t have been too bad. Then he walks to the bus stop and gets on the bus and then gets on the train and there are no seats on the train so he walks through all the carriages past tired looking commuters until he finds a double seat where he can spread himself out and not have to intefere with the personal space of strangers. He watches the inside of his brain as it spreads confines triggering hopes and dreams as the world continues turning. He watches as the magnification of Mandelification on all news networks over bears everything else. His glow extends to all comers and he is repurposed and remolded in whatever shape is seen fit for the moment. Everyone gets a piece of him and is thus cleansed but for a moment of their hideous acts. Everyone uses him passing him around using him for their own purposes but there is real Joy and happiness and what is wrong with that? Wrong when it is used to distract from the horror of powerful men and the system that keeps them in their power. But is that so wrong? That is so wrong he thinks. Then he goes to the National Christmas tree and looks at the tree and the toy trains and the White House with a flag at half mast and he feels love as he walks to Shake Shack and eats a glorious burger and is accosted by an army of drunk Santas and he thinks he may be hallucinating but then he realizes that he isn’t hallucinating and it is men getting drunk dressed as Father Christmas and he hopes that no children see this horror-show. Then there is lots of snow and there is Gingerbread custard which is the best flavour in the world and it would bring world peace if it were given to everyone he is sure and then he thinks that someone would probably try to control the supply of gingerbread custard and tax it and ban certain people from having it and then there would be a gingerbread war so perhaps it wouldn’t bring world peace after all. Then he watches Aziz Ansari and he is very funny but there is some victim shaming which makes him like the jokes less and then there is more walking through a beautiful cold clear Washington DC kept warm by love and then late night talking and idiot students driving a car covered in snow without any care for those who may be hit by the snow as it slides so fast off the bonnet as they drive down the highway. Then Protests banned at The University of London which seems to be something that doesn’t happen in free and democratic countries but then are there any free and democratic countries he thinks probably there are but he is just being polemical. Then the creator of The Wire talks about two Americas and Marx and he wonders if this means that there is a revolution coming but he always thinks there is a revolution coming and he is always wrong. Then he watches Saturday Night Live and he thinks that the new cast are doing a great job and the fact that a large chunk of old guard recently left is actually going to be a very good thing for the show and not a bad thing even though they still don’t manage to do very well with race or gender and there are too many white men who may in fact be one white man with different wigs he isn’t sure. Then he gets into bed after taking photographs in the mist and the cold and he falls asleep wondering if terrorists using World of Warcraft is actually a good thing because they’ll get addicted to the game and then have no desire for terrorizing.
He wakes up. It is early. It is mild. He is mild. He gets into the shower and he turns all taps to the correct temperature immediately. It is going to be a good day. He has a coffee and he eats a slice of pie and even though his car is now dead again and he still doesn’t have a driving license his life could be a lot worse and he thinks this is probably what love does it probably makes those things that were monstrous and awful that much more manageable at least for a time until love fades unless it grows and enrichens like a fine whiskey or expensive mouldy cheese. Then he reads about the way white people have tried to destroy black people in America and then he reads about someone who is developing a warp drive space ship for NASA. The Alcubierre Drive looks exciting but it may just be a case of NASA again desperately trying to get funding because everyone keeps ignoring them and forgetting how sexy and exciting space travel is so they trawl their memories of childhood science fiction stories for hooks that will snare the goldfish brained media. He learns about alien planets and birth control and listens to Birdland and the myth or reality that Russel Crowe is a fan of knitting the theft of lots of passwords and the chasm dividing girls toys and boys toys and the movies of 2013 none of which he has seen he does not watch them any more even though he used to love them he finds them empty and unsatisfying and they bring him no respite of relief or delight and they are all artifice and all surface and dripping in money. Then he eats his lunch which is chili and corn bread. Then he spends the afternoon planning and then the death of Nelson Mandela is announced and everything changes and he is moved and he has a lump in his throat and tears in his eyes as Jacob Zuma gets to read the announcement and bask in the golden glow and then the newsroom is a hive of activity and pictures are gathered and obituaries are broadcast and thoughts are requested and slowly the internet unfolds itself ever fast like a great tidal tongue licking and slaking it’s thirst on the information and everyone has a personal thought and a connection and then within a very short amount of time it is not about Nelson Mandela it is about politics and it is about famous people who met him and it is about who can post the most profound quote or the most interesting photograph or the most unusual interview and the icon is trundled over until it is time to watch the performance of A Sound of Music live on NBC the first live musical performance on American television for 50 years and it goes very well and everyone gives it a college try and makes a valiant effort and then people start using Mandela for their own purposes, to defame others, to question others, to prop up their own positions and it has not even been but three hours since his death was announced by the compression of time on the internet allows information to have the life cycle of a fly at the speed of a humming bird and there is no time for quiet reflection or meditation or why Russel Crowe was allowed to sing in Les Miserables or why Pierce Brosnan was allowed to sing in Mamma Mia or why Sean Connery was allowed to sing in D’arby O’Gill and The Little People and that Stephen Moyers is not that bad after all and as the hagiographies are corralled on the networks and the genuflections are given no one discusses the CIA involvement in Mandela’s capture or Mandela’s time as a supporter of violent resistance because then he would be in Guantanamo serving out a sentence without trial or hope of release and that would not be a good example for anyone to set. So Mandiba dies and he joins the pantheon of Ghandi of Lennon of Theresa of King of Russell of Sagan of Zinn of Addams of Coldicott and then the sweep of history continues on ever on and new trinkets are glanced at and new diversions and focused on and on the bus a lady hears of the death of Mandela and says who and her friend repeats the name and she says who again and then the name is repeated and the lady says who he he don’t pay my bills and then finally she finds somewhere in her memory the recollection of who Nelson Mandela is and she says a final time I hate to sound cruel but like I say he don’t pay my bills and this is true and he doesn’t pay her bills and whoever does is who is important to her and she leaves the bus now knowing who Nelson Mandela is and that he is dead but his life and his death have had little impact on her life because she has greater concerns the concerns of staying alive and paying her bills and feeding herself and her family and the heaviness of sentimentality for someone she has never met is not something she has the luxury of infusing her body with of considering of musing on as she carries on through the day after day after day living and dreaming and hoping for a better life for herself a life which does not touch the death of a man who don’t pay her bills. He considers this truth as he falls asleep and wonders what he can make of it. No one will dare to say what this woman said in the press or on the television. Everyone will emphasis the historical moment the storied history the game changing event and then they will all play candy crush in the commercial break and congratulate themselves on their book deals. He falls asleep to these conflicted confusing thoughts.
He wakes up. He is happy. A cat proceeds to press his buttocks into his face. He takes a shower. He drinks a coffee. He eats some toast. He is at work. He goes to the bathroom and he stands at the urinal and then he realises that he needs to shit so he manages to get to the toilet in time and he does a shit and he also urinates and he sits and thinks because that it was that little room is for for shitting and pissing and thinking and then he fills in a list of black writers and he has only read two books on a list of 100 and this makes him feel he has a large gap in his knowledge even though he is familiar with most of the books on the list. There will always never be enough time to read all the books he wants to read. Then he watches Glenn Greenwald eviscerate another journalist. Then he prepares for work and then he reads about ancient literature in Timbuktu and then he reads about white privelige written by someone with that thing which is rare and then he watches white people running things or ruining things but probably running things and then he hopes his car will be fixed and then he worries about money and then he thinks about amazing sex and then he worries about money again and he wonders what next year will bring and he hopes that he will get to see the national Christmas tree and he wonders why Joe Biden keeps getting let out to say things but perhaps he’s being let out because he says things and his filter free word soup is what his bigges strength is to obfuscate and misdirect like a political magician. Then he reads about black face in Bolivia and how white people said it wasn’t racist but of course it’s racist he thinks to himself then he eats thanksgiving for lunch again which is amazing and then later on in the evening he wonders how he got here and he really wants to drink wine but he has no wine so instead he writes words and adds the words up together and they are a lot of words but they don’t mean very much but he keeps them together anyway because in a few days time he might look back at them and find that they do mean something. Then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He forgets something terribly important and regrets it horribly as he desperately tries to make amends but cannot make amends because he finds himself balancing between two poles that may never balance themselves. Then he has a coffee and some lean pockets and considers the pain in his chest and the pain in his shoulders and wonders if they are related to his insensitivity or to his diet or to the stress that his car isn’t working again and he has no money to fix his car again or the fact that he ate pie for breakfast and now he feels nauseous. Then he worries about his job and he worries about his salary and he worries about Noam Chomsky and he worries about Glenn Beck and Jeremy Paxman and Russel Brand and Brand Name Cereal and Serial Killers and The Killers. His beard is enormous and it keeps his face warm now that it is cold. He despairs of leaders but does not have the desire or the capacity or the skill to be one himself. He despairs of mainstream news and he despairs of alternative news. He despairs of facts and of analysis and he despairs of opinion and objectivity and power and oppression and then he has some chicken and some salad and then he has a very deep and powerful conversation that highlights his insensitivity and he hopes that he will do better and then he reads and then he falls asleep with The Daily Show bubbling in the background and then he wakes up unable to sleep and makes his tiny little army of men attack another tiny little army of men as, nearby, two bears snuffle in an abandoned campground.
He wakes up. He frees himself from unpleasant dreams that only leave ominous after images in his brain of a relationship gone horribly wrong and overbearing men and unsatisfied desire. Then he eats some more left overs from Thanksgiving and he tries to start his car with a battery starter but it does not work but it does make the radio work so he sits in what is now his four wheeled radio and listens to the adventures from Lake Woebegone for a while and then he takes the batter starter back inside and he wonders where the Thanksgiving weekend has gone and he reads some more Moll Flanders and he plays some more Words with Friends and he reads about Jeff Bezos’ new plan to deliver packages to people via drone and he does not trust Jeff Bezos because he seems more and more like a villain in a Dr. Who episode laying out an incredibly complicated plot by making it so the world ends up being owned entirely by him so he can then impregnate us all with whatever he wants to impregnate us with. Then he eats some more pie and he feels that this Thanks Giving weekend is getting too long and he is getting bored with it and then he has a nap and then he learns that Paul Walker is dead and he died yesterday in a car crash which is very sad and then he sees that The Republican Party are being made fun of because they celebrated the life or Rosa Parks by saying that she ended racism which is amusing for lots of reasons and then he watches an episode of The Simpsons and then an old episode of Family Guy where Brian is still alive and he wonders if Brian is going to come back to life and it will be a complicated Time travel episode and the shock value of a death in the famil will just be an extended punchline and then he plays Age of Empires III and he directs his tiny little avatars to move around the landscape to cut down trees and mine for silver and hunt deer and trade with native americans and no doubt later on down the road sell them pox ridden blankets and worthless legal documents regarding their land and property. Then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He has slept well and long and his alarm has not woken him up and he has nowhere to go and no-one to be so he lies in bed reveling in the sheets and the morning and then he is bored because he wants somewhere to be and someone to be with but this is not possible right now because of various reasons which will resolve them after the weekend and he prepares a bowl of cereal and he prepares a coffee and then he watches a discussion about Israel by the Council on Foreign Relations and he starts watching a film by the film director Oscar Micheaux starring a young Paul Robeson in his first starring role in a silent movie about a compromised priest and he watches Chris Hedges hectoring rhetoric from 2007 about the rise of Christian Fascism in America and he reads some Moll Flanders and he thinks about masturbating not that this is connected to Moll Flanders and then he washes some dishes not that this is connected to Moll Flanders and he brushes his teeth not that this is connected to Moll Flanders and then he eats some more Thanksgiving Food not that this is connected to Moll Flanders and then he reads some more Moll Flanders and this is connected to Moll Flanders. Then he plays a video game which is morally troubling and then he plays a video game which is not morally troubling. Then he takes a photograph of a pie that he made and then he eats some of the pie. Then he plays words with friends and loses and loses and loses and almost wins but loses again. Then he goes to the bathroom and does the things that one does in a bathroom and then he reads about the trial of the two alleged murderers of the soldier on the streets of London earlier in the year and he is surprised that they are pleading not guilty to the murder of the soldier and then he talks with his lover and that is wonderful and glorious and then he watches the blank wall for a while as he thinks about his life and wonders why it is and then he turns off the light and then he goes to sleep after listening to his landlord snoring through the wall in the other room for a while it is gentle and relaxed and soothing.
He wakes up. He has made no plans for Thanks giving he has no plans for The Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony but he is not in San Francisco today so he cannot travel by boat to Alcatraz to mourn the genocide of tribes he has no direct connection to. He sits in bed and ponders whether to invite himself to various dinners but Boston is now too far away and North Carolina is too far away and his car won’t start again so he walks to the store and he is going to buy a turkey sandwich but then he sees all the families buying food and wine and cheese and he decides to make himself a thanks giving dinner so he buys potatoes and he buys spinach and cream and butternut squash and turkey balls and gravy and stuffing and beetroot and potato salad and wine and cider and he remembers with delight the spare banoffie pie in his fridge that he spent hours making and he remembers with delight the sweet potato fries that are left in his freezer from earlier in the week and he buys some macaroni and cheese and then he walks home and strangers wish him a Happy Thanksgiving with real joy and happiness in their eyes and he responds with similar joy and smiles and he is happy as he enters his house from the cold outside and he drinks cider and he watches the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie are a delight and Al Roker is a delight and the celebrities are more excited to see him than he is to see them because he is an institution – the Nation’s Weatherman which is no small title. Then he enjoys the floats and the balloons and there is a Hello Kitty and a Finn and Jake and a Santa and a Smurf and a Sonic the Hedgehog and with each comes the sales patter massaging everyone for Christmas and there are Zhu Zhu pets and muppets and dancers and singers and it looks cold but they keep on going in a relentless beautifully choreographed marketing pitch for the toys of the season and the gifts of the season and then there was the Oneida Indian Nation and then there was the Native Pride Dancers and then there was and the Cherokee Youth Choir and there was no talk of revenge or anger but only of sales and dancing and singing whilst the simmering beneath the surface rage was kept there and acceptance was demanded even if on terms of the kyriarchy. Then he read some stuff about race theory and then he played a video game called Deponia which was entertaining but who had a male character who was an idiot but he was supposed to be lovable but in actual fact just kept the same tropes of unreconstructed buffoonish sexist deceitful maleness that seems to sell a budget Guybrush Threepwood he thinks to himself and then is sad that this is a reference that lots of people will get because he used to enjoy the fact that video games weren’t mainstream because he is a snob. Then he drinks some cider and then he watches a documentary about Jung and then he watches an interview with Jung and the he watches a Ted Talk given by a man who deconstructs the worst of Ted talks and his name is Sam Hyde and the performance is quite brilliant and subversive and will probably do no good at all because nothing ever does and then he tries to learn how to replace his laptop screen and he watches a video and then he feels qualified but it also terrifies him because he knows that the moment he starts he is going to destroy his computer and it is never going to work properly again but he does not have the money to fix it professionaly and as each day passes more and more lines appear on his monitor screen creeping down from the top like vines covering up the screen and one day he will have to guess what he is doing by the sound effects that emanate from the speakers until the speakers break too and then he will fix them but they will not be fixed so he will be typing and clicking at a computer that is to all intents and purposes fully functioning but will have no video or audio clues as to whether he is writing a classic novel, surfing for porn or hacking into the NSA. In all these scenarios the middle option is the most likely. Then he makes his Thanksgiving feast and it is very tasty and he eats food and he drinks wine and he listens to a talk given by Aldous Huxley which he enjoys and he listens to Glenn Greenwald Eviscerating some journalists and then he drinks some more wine and then he worries that the NSA have been following his porn habits for the last few years and hopes that he will not be shamed in public but then he remembers he is not an activist of any kind and not important in any way so they probably do not care about his porn habits so that relieves him so just to be sure he goes to check the porn he has been looking at in the past and it still all seems to be there so he is satisfied that the internet is still okay and then he reads some more and he eats some banoffie pie and has a coffee and he has some more wine and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is energized. He is fully of energy. He watches the dust motes dance in the beams of light and he is filled with joy at their random dance and then he spend twenty minutes trying to balance the hot and cold taps in the shower in the bath and it kills his mood a touch. Then he drives safely and then he eats some breakfast and he does not feel well after he eats that breakfast but not not well enough to vomit everywhere. Then he counts light bulbs and counts gels and cleans things and does productive things and then he makes things and does art and design and his back screams with pain so he cannot sit down he thinks he really must see a professional about that and then he realizes he has to make pies for Thanksgiving so he goes to buy the ingredients and he does not have enough money and the automated teller shames him when he swipes his cards as it says very loudly in a suprised tone of voice oh I’m sorry it seems that your card has been declined as if it feels bad for him but he is judging and the bright red face that beams out of the beard and the hat and the hood shines and draws attention to it and he has to ask for human help and the human kindly helps and removes some items from his cart and this fixes the problem but as he walks home in the rain his back in pain he wonders why the screaming surprise of the automated machine refusing his card why it has to be so loud and why the light has to flash and why he has to be shamed in public and then he makes a sandwich and then he makes four pies and then he reads and he writes and he changes clothes for pyjamas and then he has a hot chocolate and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He has been ill. He has been sick. He has evacuated everything of himself into and out of and through and over and above and beyond and his bent double staggering round the toilet bowl agony in his beard and dripping from his mouth and from other places wretching stomach spasm illness and bed ridden for days riding the bed for days and no water passes his lips at first and no food can pass his lips at first and then only tiny sips and then only the smallest of nibbles of toast and crackers and the days pass and the agony remains and the sheen of sweat thickens and oils up through the pores as he feels his death and then he is alive once again and cured and pushed through the viral wall that brought him low and he is on his way to work and he skirts a large puddle of vomit on the ground and he staggers back at the volume of a stranger’s sneeze and he feels a storm is coming because a storm is coming because he heard them talk about it on the radio this morning and it has killed people and it is not a metaphor it is a real storm. Then he reads about a Breaking Bad themed wedding and he thinks only in America and then he thinks no that could happen anywhere where Breaking Bad is a popular television show because people are pretty similar when you get right down to it. Then he remembers the anxiety dream he had about work where nothing was plugged in and he was directed to the wrong studio and he was only told that nothing worked when they were live on air but luckily that was a dream and then he remember his other dream where he was in a vast expanse of blackness being drugged and seduced by a naked white woman with a bobbed crimson pixie cut but then he rejected her advances and she melted into the darkness leaving him alone in the bright light and then later on it is analyzed as a dream about him dealing with his feelings about race theory and his desire to break free of his whiteness and deny it but of course he cannot deny it because he is it but that makes him feel self-loathing but it is something that he has to come to terms with as an individual and as a member of society and then he listens to horrendous monsters sounds and then he does lots of dish washing and glass washing and then he learns that there will be ice rain tomorrow and that irritates him and then he watches Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s new video and it is not as ridiculous as he has been led to believe and then he watches the James Franco Seth Rogen spoof and it isn’t as funny as he was expecting but actually rather sincere and moving and he feels that whether the intention was to spoof and lampoon the original it hasn’t worked at all and the joke one is actually somewhat profound and moving and he is not sad that either of these videos exist and that they express in a direct way feelings of love and that is not a bad thing and then he is asked by his landlord to talk a little more quietly on the phone because it was keeping him up last night and then he feels a little embarassed because he was talking about graphic sexual things and other things that were not graphic sexual things but very loudly but he didn’t think it was loudly so now everyone in the house who is older and wiser knows all the things he likes to do and that is not necessarily information that he wanted to share but it is done now and he smiles and he brushes his teeth and he goes to sleep glad that these entries are opaque and almost unreadable.
He wakes up. His landlord is ill. He gives his landlord $750 in cash which makes his landlord a little better and he apologises to his landlord for the check that bounced because it shouldn’t have bounced because he had money in his account so there was no reason for it to bounce and then he makes a paper flower which was beautiful and elegant and then he learns that Daniel Day-Lewis’ son has a rap video and he watches it and it is terrible and thick with whining self-deceiving pity and awful posturing cultural appropriation and he can’t watch the whole thing because it makes him feel physically sick and even more disturbed for the hope of humanity but then he puts things in perspective because the crime of a young white man rapping is indicative of bigger problems that will go unsolved if all the time of the day is spent focusing on a young millionaire who has never suffered in any way that merits his concern. Then he watches some W. Kamau Bell and feels happier and then he has a coffee and eats a sandwich and wonders how long the day will last and thinks about writing. Then he watches Hari Kondabolu and he feels happier. Then he reads that some ancient spear tips have been found which might push back the age of modern man to 85000 years ago or it could be that the artefacts were collected poorly and given he was a student of archaeology and did that very thing once it is very likely or there was another branch of humanity that made spear tipped like artefacts or maybe they aren’t spear tips but actually tiddlywinks and the ancient peoples spent all day playing various games of skill to while away the long temperate days. Then he remembers the racists at the African American History section of the Museum of American History who talked abuot blacking up in middle school to dress as Martin Luther King and how it was acceptable to do that then but it probably wouldn’t be acceptable now and that they are illustrating their lack of racism to their friends by being at this museum and walking around this museum and laughing about blacking up as children and unashamed and with justification not finding that this is a problem that runs far deeper than the ignorance of their teachers or their peers or the world they lived in then because black face has never been acceptable to do and walking round a museum dedicated to The Struggle and loudly declaiming that your heart was in the right place and your intentions were good does not let you off the hook as you nervously laugh because you know in your heart that you were party to oppressive racist lampoonery of the worst kind and one might argue that your ignorance as a middle school male was not your fault but your lack of education as a middle aged man is certainly all your fault and you have no excuse for your heinous views and your nervous giggling he thinks to himself. But he does nothing except for to look in irritation at the two people who are oblivious to his rage and then he goes for lunch and then on the National Mall he declares his love and it is romantic and then he goes home and watches Saturday Night Live and falls asleep in happiness.
He wakes up. The Fiery Brook runs past the front door. He is at a bus stop and a drunk man asks to use his cell phone. He has a protective boot on one foot and staggers leering at women on his crutches as he begs for a cell phone so that he can call his family his son his daughter to come and pick him up no one is going to come and pick him up no one is going to give him a cell phone. He has forgotten Bahrain like everyone else has forgotten Bahrain where the Spring was crushed the petals of the eager young flower was pressed into the dirt by a big British made boot where all the other springs are broken and twisted and rusting already through the sodden mattress that is the lie of revolution then he has a coffee and he feels better about his failures and then he reads about white supremacy and feels ashamed but his shame is not the point of reading about white supremacy but there it is and then he gets his computer fixed which he is very excited about because he was sad that it wasn’t working and couldn’t get online to read about things and to write about things and then he wonders at the way that the BBC seems to be above criticism and he wonders if the new Dr. Who will be any good and wonders if David Tennant feels he has failed because he is back being the Doctor again without a new success to his name and he wonders if Matt Smith fears that the same fate will now befall him and then he wonders why he is wondering about the lives of millionaire actors when he should be wondering why activists are always subject to criticism and marginalised and business leaders are venerated and lifted up on pedestals and the flames of revolution are simmering the pancake of freedom in the saucepan of hope and it is time to flip that emancipatory pancake so that there can be a better day for everyone. Then he become disillusioned by The Daily Show and The Colbert Report as they act as release valves for the system and then he wonders if anything is worth anything and then he considers that it probably is but he doesn’t know how to activate that for a better world. He eats some burnt toast with lemon curd. It is one of his favourite things. Then he thinks about all the different ways he can say I love you and then he wonders at the fact that PR companies are employed by terrorists and governments as important arms of their own particular war efforts and realizes there is no longer any need for satire because Life has jumped the shark and jumped the sofa and wagged the dog and screwed the pooch and dropped the ball and been run out and fumbled the catch and squandered a valuable opportunity to be deemed worthwhile. Then he brushes his teeth, humming happily to himself. Then he sleeps.
He wakes up. He passes his driving test. Then there is some confusion so he cannot pay for the test or get proof that he has taken the test or that he exists and he is told that he has to go to another department but after the weekend so he remains hopeful but he knows that deep down he is going to have to go through the whole process again from the very beginning as if he had never applied for it and his car will combust and all that will remain will be a smouldering tire and a melted radio. Then he makes a terrible faux pas which he will not write about. Then he inhales more of the tragedy from The Philippines and from Afghanistan and from the prisons of America and from the forgotten sections of the Estates of the cities of the world and he has a coffee and he gets paid and then loses all of his money on living expenses and staying alive and then he is saddened as liberal commentators suggest crushing sanctions on Iran and then he watches hairs gray on his beard and then he watches a commercial about hair loss and then he is saddened about the entrenched bigotry and homophobia that he feels bonded to the fibers of his being and then he tries to be less so of that and more so enlightened and he watches a video about the division of blue eyed children and brown eyed children in a classroom exercise and it seems that everyone should experience that lesson and then he lies down and then he sleeps.
You must be born. You must have opinions. You must have no opinions. You must love literature. You must hate literature. You must have been lied to by your family. You must have lied to your family. You must have gone through many terrible experiences. You must have been through many wonderful experiences. You must know a language. You must be able to commmunicate. You must be shy. You must be verbose. You must love words. You must hate words. You must enjoy simplicity. You must embrace complexity. You must have deceived a lover. You must have been broken by a lover. You need to be male. You need to be female. You need to belong identify with no gender. You need to understand that gender is a fiction. You need to be ignorant of gender studies. You need to be differently abled. You need to use racial epithets for everyone of your colleagues. You must campaign against racism. You must live an enlightened life. You must be a hobo. You must be on the Forbes rich list. You must be an advocate. You must be a coward. You must have a mental illness. You must be financially stable. You must think outside the box. You must live in a box. You must be a box. You must hate everyone. You must hate yourself. You must dabble in the occult. You must be a practising Christian. You must be a professional Muslim. You must be a casual observer. You must be a constant complainer. You must eat food. You must drink liquid. You must be an alcoholic. You must be a drug dealer. You must be able to cook. You must be able to cook meth. You must enjoy baking. You must enjoy being baked. You must be prepared to die for what you believe in. You must love Maeve Binchy. You must love Ernest Hemingway. You must be earnest about Herring. You must hear. You must be hard of hearing. You must be deaf. You must be able to speak. You must be able to remain quiet. You must be prejudiced against everyone. You must be open minded enough to love anyone. You must love spelling things correctly. You must not care about how things are speld or care about grammar or syntax because it doesnt matter. You must be a stickler for details and you must make sure that you are aware of the bigger picture and just let the centre take care of itself whilst looking after the edges of a sentence that has lost it’s full stop. You must hate life. You must love life. You must take lots of drugs both legal and illegal. You must take no drugs. You must be straight edge. You must be a sports fan. You must enjoy the company of others. You must hate everyone. You must hate everything. You must love the world. You must love all of humanity. You must love yourself. You must have a clear plan. You must make it up as you go along. You must have an ending. You must have a beginning. You must have a middle. You must reverse all of these. You must stick to them on pain of death. Don’t listen to advice. Listen to all advice. Learn to write. Learn to read. Listen. Don’t listen. Have a nap. Don’t sleep. Eat cake. Hate yourself. Love yourself. Ignore this advice.
He wakes up. He sits on a bus and watches as an old woman realises that she has passed her stop to senior center. This is at least the second time that this has happened with this particular woman. He hopes that she remembers where she is supposed to go next time. He is walking home at some point and a car stops beside him. Inside there is a German family and they are lost and they ask him for directions but he does not know where they are trying to get to so he gets out his cell phone and he searches for their location of choice on his smart map and then he gives them directions and they smile and say thank you and then they are on their way and he is happy that he could help this nice German family go to visit their friends. He watches the trees bronze into umber and the leaves fall gently to the ground. Later on his is walking into CVS and a man with sad eyes is at the door and he asks for some money because he needs baby formula and he does not look suspicious just scared so he has no money but he can help with his credit card and he goes into the shop and he buys the baby formula for the desperate father and he feels that he has done good and he hopes that baby formula is not the new base ingredient in some terrible street high but he imagines that it is not really and that he has helped a small family get by even if for a couple of days. Then he has sex and he weeps and sometimes he does both of those things at the same time and sometimes he does one after the other then he watches Ron Burgundy and then he watches a man do an impression of Ron Burgundy and he laughs at bloopers and at the word bloopers. Then there is laundry and cooking and beards are trimmed and grey hair is appreciated and he watches out of the window of his imagination as people move gracefully through life like dancers to an invisible symphony. Then he remembers the joy of Nights of Cabiria and the joy of Sweet Charity and of Les Miserables and of Cabaret and of the darkness of authentic musical and the failure of resolution in the phrasing of Andrew Lloyd Webber and he ponders on the flawed complex lives of the philosophers and that he never wants to meet his heroes and that no one should meet their heroes because in real life heroes are human and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. Not enough sleep. No shower. Same pants same underpants same pants same trousers same jumper same sweater same jumper same shirt as he pulls them all on thinking messily in two different languages that are the same language as he throws bread and meat and cheese into his bag and hopes that on the run to the bus stop they will like an aeroplane forming from a wind blowing through a scrap yard so will a perfect aerodynamic sandwich be formed in the recesses of his bag as carbohydrate combines with protein slides in comfortably with fat. When he reaches the bus just in time and looks in the bag he does not see a perfect aerodynamic sandwich. He memorises words in Spanish with his new cell phone game. He is addicted to learning new words and the messy knowledge that he has no understanding of the grammar or the tenses or the context is pushed to the back of his mind as he greedily gobbles up each one. He eats some cake he finds in the kitchen and he does not have an allergic reaction which is a good thing. Then he worries about the coming wine shortage and things that if anything will spark the revolution in the West then it will be a shortage of wine for insipid dinner parties. Then he reads about books written beyond the grave by ghosts and Mark Twain who seemed to have been as prolific after death as he was before or some people had overactive imaginations and couldn’t get published alone. Then he eats some lovely potato soup and he runs for the bus just as Highway To The Danger Zone blasts out from the speaker system of a restaurant he is running past and it becomes the uplifting movie moment he has always dreamed of having as his tired old legs pump his body towards the bus stop where he reaches the bus just in time and then he walks through the suburbs in the dark and the fog and he is all alone except for some dank looking workmen who should be safe at home not out on a dark and terrifying night like this unless they aren’t workmen at all but soul eating spirits shaped like workmen who devour the unsuspecting late night commuters divesting them of their beings. Then he makes it safely into his house and he drinks some hot chocolate and he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. Hell. He showers. Anti-Hell. He watches with terror as a technology guru descibes the outline of the future world run by technologists and distanced even further than now from the ideas of direct democracy and freedom of individuals. What of these dreams other than that they are dreams, he wonders. He has no answers. He eats some toast with marmite on it and some toast with blueberry jam on it. He walks as in a dream towards the bus and the dead deer has been cleared away. Perhaps it was scooped up and even now is being chewed on by the hungry or it decayed in the night or it was just a flesh wound and the entrails were tucked back in and the deer awoke and went on it’s way. His sneakers stick to the sticky floor of the bus. He wonders what was spilt. Some sweet tea perhaps or a cheap soda. He wonders at this years popularity of black face and wonders if he is just more observant this year or if there really is an upswing in the popularity from ignorant white people. Everyone of them more defensive than the last to protect their right to be insensitive and racist and bigoted and wrapped in the warm blanket of a privelige they do not understand. Then he looks at the smiling guitar owner on the bus and wonders if he can play the guitar. He thinks about Ron Swanson and wants to do some woodworking. He has no woodworking skills. He will learn but not now and not here on the bus. A small child compares her punishment for misdemeanours with the civil rights struggle of Martin Luther King. It is a fine comparison but not one that stands up to facts as they are but at least she is learning some history. Then he eats a lovely strata breakfast for dinner and then he travels far and is tired and collapses into his bed and ignores the mess and the detritus of his life that is still spread for more than a month now over every surface of his bedroom. There is no guilt. He sleeps.
He wakes up. He is refreshed. He showers. He eats toast with honey on it and he eats toast with jam on it and he walks to the bus and on the way he sees the carcass of a deer that he walked past the night before but now it’s belly is open and exposed it’s guts glistening with every passing car rigid with it’s eyes open. He walked past it last night and it’s eyes this morning are as glazed as they were the night before and as glazed as they were when it was alive no doubt and being slashed open by the front of a large car. He plays with blocks and he walks to the train station and he eats a sandwich and he feels the muscles of his bones sharp and tight and bunching in happiness in knots around his body as he stretches and remembers the joy of the weekend. He sees that Russel Brand is still being critiqued in ways that are unsurprising. Chris Hedges is still angry and impassioned. Each little echo chamber takes the information that funnels into it and listens to the pretty sounds as it bounces around inside off the shiny walls just like this little echo chamber. Then he reads about the rising popularity of blackface this halloween and wonders if it is more popular this year or if he is just noticeing it more this year. So much ignorance – the global hobby. One he practises with regularity and, when it is exposed as it always is, embarassment redress and enlightenment – until the next time. He eats a sandwich. He watches the television and the decadence sickens him not only because he is thinking of the poor who are sacrificed on it’s altar but also because he has tasted that decadence and he is jealous and that sickens him too. He discovers his werewolf name is Rogue Warrior through an online game and thinks this is a shit name. He passes uninterrupted through the rest of the day and then he goes to bed.
He wakes up. He is weightless with happiness and even the rain does not dampen him and even the cold does not bother him and the bus driver is singing and the world is clean and hopeful and perfect and then his shoes get wet but it’s still not a disaster. Then he eats a sandwich and then he feels great feelings of joy and the hair grows slowly in his ears and in his nostrils and as he walks his legs rub against his trousers and imperceptibly they erode fiber by fiber so that in months to come he will need to buy a new pair of trousers or walk the world wearing trousers with holes in them as he did in his youth without thinking that it was a problem even though looking back he sees that it was a problem and deeper than that a problem that he didn’t think it was a problem. Then he eats some rice and his brother warns him that reheating rice can incubate the botulinim toxin and he is not sure if that is true but his brother is generally a trustworthy source for science but he has already eaten the reheated rice so he just hopes that he has not been infected with botulism and he jokes about mashing the rice into his face and hoping that it works like a botox injection. He imagines Hollywood stars believing this and people who want to be Hollywood stars believing this as they go to special rice boutiques where white gown clad experts mash old wet rice into their glazed mushroom skin faces. Then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. It is early. He gets a wonderful email and so it goes from there for the rest of the day. He gets a bus and a bus and makes coffee and a bus and a train and no one cares about the Commonwealth Games and it seems that the Commonwealth should be disbanded because it seems to be a final desperate attempt to hold onto the British Empire and no one in power likes self-determination of the powerless because they know that it means they will have to address the oppression of their power and at the same time lose their power and become equal with everyone else and the powerful hate that thought and will do anything to stop having that thought so they ignore it and meet in secret and in public and suggest and plot and decide and cajole and threaten and posit and try and maintain the kyriarchy which is his new favourite word which he will not give the definition of here then he eats some brunch which is a sandwich with ham and cheese and mayonnaise and then he has a coffee with vanilla creamer and then he draws some pictures and makes some notes because those seem like important things to do and they make him feel important. Then the Taleban want to talk but they have conditions so all the journalists say that talking is pointless because the conditions are ridiculous but at least they are conditions and a place to start talking and negotiating our conditions are never ridiculous they are always proper and appropriate and suitable and Libya two years after the war is a disaster and Ghadaffi was proved right it is tearing itself apart and tomorrow the Prime Minister will be kidnapped and hubris writ large as Cameron and Sarkozy raise aloft the hands of Mustafa Abdul-Jalil who is now noteably absent from any of the mainstream discourse but it doesn’t matter because the cheering crowds were there and the photo opportunity was sealed and no one cares about the nuance because in the nuance hides the messy truth. Then he goes to a mussel bar that he initially mishears as a muscle bar to meet a friend and his wife and they eat mussels and drink beer and talk about Human Terrain Systems and the appropriation of academia to fight the fight for Empire and then he goes home and he bathes in the warm glow of happiness he has only but recently discovered and he watches Parks and Recreation and he wonders when everything will go wrong. He hopes that they will not go wrong. He sleeps.
He wakes up. He is standing at a bus stop. As he stands he watches as a man drives past driving somewhere. What is most noticeable is that the gentleman is daintily holding a pop tart between his fingers as he drives. He has eaten a corner of it and crumbs are visible on his cheeks. This image lasts but a second as the car zips past. The woman who was shot it seems was suffering from post partum depression. He writes this into his phone and smart text fails and writes pussy possum depression. There is no such thing as pussy possum depression. The mistake of the phone adds an absurdity to the horrible tragedy and no one talks about the fact that the only response that the police seem to have is violence and escalation and there are now stories that the woman was outside the car when she was shot but whether this is true or not he doesn’t know but her child was in the car her child was in the car her child was in the car and she thought Obama was stalking her. This is not so unreasonable as Obama is, in a way stalking everyone – even if not directly – the surveillance state is stalking everybody. He pays for part of his car but not all of his car because all of a sudden his car has a thousand things wrong with it but at least now it is fixed but unfortunately now he cannot take his car because he cannot afford all the costs which are now three times as much as the car cost to buy but then the car did cost only $900 so what did he expect he expected not to have to pay three times as much for the car for repairs that’s what he expected. Then he finds that all day he has to go to the toilet a lot and he experiences consistencies all along the spectrum from gruel to playdoh. Then he comes up with a strategy to fight the panopticon it is here to stay and it is not leaving so the the only way is to carry on as if the panopticon didn’t exist and rebel against its ubiquity by ignoring it and heightening the behaviors it deems unacceptable until such time as it breaks you on the wheel of its unflinching authority and power. Fight it even in the face of certain defeat – that is what it is to be human. This is his solution so he writes some poetry and he reads a beautiful zine and thinks about making his own and he wonders as he stands behind a man on the elevator who has a large behind that looks so inviting because he is so tired he just wants to lean forward and snuggle on it like a lovely pillow. It seems so inviting. He does not lean forward and snuggle on the stranger’s behind because he understands how one is supposed to behave in public and he will do the same with his real pillow when he gets home. Then he hears about a man who sets himself on fire on the National Mall but it merits little more than a footnote in the day and the man saluted the capitol before setting the gas he doused himself in alight and he was called John Constantino and he was 64 and he was from Mount Laurel in New Jersey and some people said that he may have done it because of the shut down but no witnesses who were there heard him say anything so no one is really any the wiser as to why he did what he did but he is dead now and the roller coaster of his life is as much a mystery as the end of his life. He drinks horkheimer red wine and enjoys flirting and goes home and thinks and imagines the glorious future where that flirting will become the seeds and the foundations of something beautiful and flowering and burgeoning and exciting and wonderful. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. Silence. He dresses. The rustle of clothing. He takes the egg fried rice that he made the night before and puts it in his bag. The bus is empty except for the driver. The bus stop fills up with the usual tired people. The sun rises. Coffee is prepared. Breakfast is prepared. The day commences. It is calm at work. Then there is a warning of shots fired at the Capitol and everything goes crazy as facts are verified and discarded and the morphing of fiction into facts and back again dances around the city as comment is sought and truth is ground into paste. There are shots fired a woman on a rampage then video footage of a car driving erratically and the sight of a baby being brought out of the car and the White House is under attack and then Capitol Hill and then no attack and then the death of a woman and then she didn’t have a gun and so wasn’t firing because how could you fire without a gun but she was a threat but not a terrorist threat but she was attempting to invade the White House or maybe she just got lost and stressed and panicked when she was threatened with guns and a bad day became the worst day or maybe she thought that the President was the father of her child and she as insane and was trying to get child support or maybe there is another reason but whatever is the case watching the news would not have got you any closer to the truth of what happened only to the truth that news should not be broadcast 24 hours a day with the idea that facts are being reported in any way but that in actual fact what we are watching is storytelling in real time no facts no truth just a roller coaster ride with all the peaks and troughs that we expect from Hollywood. He eats his egg fried rice and drinks a coffee and ponders on the list of recommended reading that David Bowie has produced and is all over the internet and he wonders if Americans have any idea what Viz, Beano or Private Eye are and when they discover what they are whether they will be perplexed. They may be perplexed because they will find no explanation here they will have to go and look those periodicals up themselves and analyze the importance of why David Bowie put them on his list of 100 greatest books. Then he talks and enjoys the talking. Then he reads Team of Rivals and then he goes to sleep. Being alive is tiring.
He wakes up. He has a shower. He drinks some carrot juice. He brushes his teeth. He drinks some more carrot juice. The taste lingers as he walks to the bus. He is the only person except for the driver on the bus. He waits in the cold at the second bus stop. Everyone looks tired. He feels tired. He arrives and drinks a coffee and makes some oatmeal and ignores the cat and runs around with a child and talks to another child and watches the school bus leave and goes to the bathroom and walks to the auto shop and balks at the cost of repairs which are the same as the cost of the car which is a lesson to him not to buy a cheap car. Then he gets into work and discovers that he has, by proxy, an Emmy, but he has not really won an Emmy but someone more deserving at his job has won an Emmy but he can pretend that he has won it even though he did nothing to win it. Then he ponders the shut down and wonders if it is a right wing coup and then he wonders about Julian Assange and wonders if he is watching the trailer of The Fifth Estate on loop a thick erection piercing the air in front of him pushing through the open fly of his pyjamas as he wanders around the Ecuadorian Embassy in a cloud of his own ego leaving half eaten bowls of cereal snaffled from the work fridge as disgruntled employees of the building get more and more annoyed with his presence as he scratches and sings his way through the days but then he thinks that this is a terrible imagined view of this Lancelot of Truth and he is no doubt beavering away clean cut and washed on some kind of large tome which will show everyone how to live a better more private life. The government is still shut down and the right wing coup still continues apace. There were ancient volcanoes on Mars which doesn’t seem to be news but is made into news. He makes some egg fried rice which is tasty and unhealthy. He talks to a friend. He worries that his car is a money pit. He plays a video game. He ignores Newt Gingrich. That was all. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is proactive about his car. He calls the mechanic who is very polite. He organises for a tow. This was all too easy far too easy this was not the difficult task that he has been stressing about and putting off for months there must be something missing he must have forgotten something. He has a coffee. He manages to be not allergic to a cat. He has a shave. He has a shower. He watches in horror as red welts burst on his forehead. He is relieved when the calm down. He meets his new housemate. He is clean cut and fresh and young and toned and bright eyed and optimistic and all things that he is not. He forgets his name. His friend picks him up from wedding. He gets to the wedding. His friend drives without his hands on wheel for a while. It is scary. He meets new people. The ceremony is short and beautiful. The noise of leaves being pulled along by bridal train is loud. It is very loud. Can’t everyone hear the sliding rubbing dry skin roar of the leaves? The children are quiet. The children are too quiet. Are they children? Are they androids? He does not know the answer to this question. Siri says loudly I DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT at a comically perfect moment. There is wine. There is awkward conversation. Then there is unawkward conversation. Then there is laughter and food and political speechifying, then home and watching Breaking Bad and some light stalking from his stalker then Breaking Bad and Attack on Titan and reading and sleep.
He wakes up. It is very early. He makes his way to the mva again with all of his documents but when he gets there he has no bill of sale so he cannot prove that he has bought the car and the old owner is now in Guatemala so that is a problem because his car is going to be towed if he does not move it but he can’t move it because the battery is dead and later on in the evening he will discover when he changes the batter for another battery that it was not the battery that was the problem but some other unknown issue with the old $900 car but for now all is can do is worry that he wasted a two hour bus journey to the mva and he will have to do the same journey tomorrow but he did eat some wonderful fresh tacos from the taco truck that is just next to the mva and he bought two and it only cost $4 and they were lovely and he left a tip of $1 which was probably enough. Then later on at work he makes some pictures and he finds a shop where he might be able to buy a battery for his car and finds a shop near to his house which is lucky as he imagines these batteries are pretty heavy. Then President Rouhani is everyone’s new best friend and the Western media don’t really know what to do with this information but this will probably be a passing phase and he will become a slavering demon in no time. He drinks some carrot juice and plots secret plots. He remembers conversations that he overheard on public transport and he is glad that he wrote them all down in his notebook for use at some later date. He buys the battery. It is very heavy. He staggers with it to the bus. He gets home. He eats breakfast for supper. He has a conversation about white privilege. He changes the battery in the dark. It takes a long time but finally he manages. Then he starts the car. It does not start. He turns the key again. Nothing happens except for a breathless whisper of a car not starting. The car has bigger problems. He does not know what they are. He leaves it for tomorrow as there is nothing more he can do. He watches the television. He reads about modern day slavery. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is energized. He reads about the relationship between India and China. He missed his window for having a shower because his housemate wakes up unusually early and takes a shower so he has to leave the house without having taken a shower. This doesn’t bode well. Then he sees that his car is about to be towed. He realises that this is entirely his fault but now the battery of the car is dead and he has to get a new battery but he does not know how to install the battery in fact he knows very little about cars but he is hoping that he can jump start the car later on tonight move it somewhere secret and then get temporary tags the next day and then attach the tags and then forget about fixing the problem until the very last minute again and go through this whole cycle of irresponsibility again. He eats some brown bananas. He has a coffee. He meets a new work colleague. He collects some images. He listens to a man trying to argue that yachting is not a rich man’s sport. The man does not succeed. He reads about Corporate Social Responsibility. It seems like an oxymoron. He is probably just being cynical. He gives a tour of the tiny little studio. Then he eats some fish and some broccoli and then he reads Paradise Made in Hell by Rebecca Solnitt which is marvellous and uplifting and the he goes to hire a violin and gets to the store just before it closes and it is dark and public transport is not his friend because he leaves Paradise Made in Hell by Rebecca Solnitt on the train and he is sad that he has done this and he manages to stave off the impounding of his car which is a good thing and he delivers the violin which is a good thing and he will get very little sleep which is not a good thing but the day has not been a total failure and that is a good thing. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is nervous about drones. He is nervous about drinking too much coffee. He is nervous about his white patriarchal privilege. He is nervous about the folded in unconscious racism that is his legacy. Likewise sexism. Likewise homophobia. He is nervous about the too hot shower and then the too cold shower. He is nervous that the shower has not cleaned him and that even with the deodorant the stink of his body is emanating from every pore – a visible cloud following him to the bus. He is nervous about the looks he gives other people. He is nervous for not giving a man a quarter when he did not happen to have a quarter. He is nervous about misrepresenting Miley Cyrus as a racist to a small child. He is nervous about the surveillance state. He is nervous about Nuclear War. He is nervous about President Rouhani. He is nervous about President Obama. He is nervous about Brazil. He is nervous about President Rousseff. He is nervous during his therapy. He is nervous about not doing enough work. He is nervous about doing too much work. He is nervous that he is being surveilled. He is nervous that he is being ignored. He is nervous that he is getting old. He is nervous that he is making prisons for himself. He is nervous that he isn’t important to warrant a back ground check. He is nervous that he is an imposter and his real self has been renditioned to a black site somewhere in a nameless country a bag on his head and his wrists in manacles. He is nervous that he is about to lose his job. He is nervous that he has no savings. He is nervous. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. All is well with the world. He spent a weekend disconnected from social media and from the news and from virtual interaction but embraced elements of real interaction with real humans with all of there flaws and their strengths. Then he listens to the radio as he drinks his coffee and he hears about the third day of the siege at The Westlake Mall and he nearly spits out his coffee as he listens but he doesn’t really spit out his coffee but he is shocked and stunned because The Westlake Mall is just five minutes from his house and he knew nothing of the siege or maybe it is the one that is ten minutes away. There are after all a lot of Westlake Malls in the area and then he listens to the story a little more and he realises that the Westlake Mall they are talking about is in Nairobi and he breathes slightly easier because it is not in driving distance but then he learns about the horror and the stampeding and the murders and the professional terrorists of Al Shabab and he thinks back to a conversation he was having last week with a colleague about the Navy Yard shooter and how easy it would be for a small group of dedicated warriors to enter a mall or enter a public space just as they did in Mumbai and just as it now seems they have done in Nairobi and cause chaos and murder and death and here they are doing the thing that he was talking about with a colleague and it was bound to happen eventually and talking about it doesn’t make it so but it’s an interesting synchronicity that he ponders as he makes his way into work wondering at the fear and the horror of the civilians and as he scours the photographs taken so that he can use suitable photographs he tries not to cry but it is very hard to cry and he cannot talk and his throat is lumped and his eyes wet as he looks at the pictures of the children and the pictures of the adults and the fear on the faces and the confusion and the pain and the suffering and even despite this he is glad that he still feels empathy even as he has to keep looking through these horrific images for suitable images he does not find that he is deadened to the horror and that is a good thing but it is a painful thing but it at least means that is at least for today and for now at the preferable end of the continuum that is defined as human. Then he learns about terrified adults trampling children and then he learns about heroic adults protecting children and then he learns about the large number of Americans in the group of terrorists and then he learns about the London base of operations that the terrorists PR seemed to be using so he wonders if America will be attacked and if the UK will be attacked because it seems that both of these countries are harboring terrorists or breeding terrorists or creating terrorists so it is time to act to be strong to show no quarter to strike at the very heart of the scourge but then of course that is silly but it does make him realize that this terrorist threat is a little bit more complex than one would like, One would like good guys and bad guys us and them we and they. Are they murdering women and children because their women and children were murdered because they feel aggrieved at some real or perceived slight. He does not know the answer but he does know that they have done monstrous things and this monstrous things will be held up and they will be judged for them just as other monstrous things are done by other groups are accidents or unfortunate or terrible mistakes so it seems that intention is important and intention is important but sometimes it is not enough. Then he has some mixed nuts and fruit and a very large coffee and he watches as a climate science denier is given space in what is otherwise a balanced and reasonable report on global warming which seems ludicrous but the he isn’t in charge of editorial content and will never be as long as he believes what he believes about the world the world that is it seems made up of infinite quantum jewels that seem to disprove that space or time exist or gravity or sense or logic or reason but if there are none of these things then what is this thing life what is it? He does not know. He storms past the young couple he accidentally stalked all the way home the other day. He is in no mood to do this a second time. Then he makes some fried rice which is quite tasty and then he watches some Breaking Bad. He is only on Season 2 and he is with desperation and futility attempting to watch all of them so he can watch the final episode this coming Sunday without having it ruined for him by everyone on the internet who will talk about it and analyze it and then move onto the next show. Then he reads some of The United State of Paranoia which is probably a false flag operation to make it seem like there are no conspiracies, he jokes. Which could also be a joke. It is a very good book that he is enjoying. Then he feels glad that he has paid off an old debt and tries to forget all of the other debts he had financial and otherwise. Then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He eats some cookies. He has some coffee. He watches a documentary about Jung. He does his laundry. He finds a bill that he owes and another bill that he owes and another bill that he owes and he puts them in a pile of bills. He wonders if he will be able to take his driving test this week. It has only been three months after all since he filled in all the paper work. Perhaps he will have the courage to organize himself this week. Then he reads some books and then he cooks some fish and broccoli with soy sauce and chili which is tasty and then he ignores more calls from someone who is certainly by all definitions a stalker and he worries that this might get worse but he puts that worry in the same pile as the bills and the organizing the driving test and the plans for his future and his hopes and his dreams. Then he transfers some money and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up.
[INSERT LIFE HERE]
He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. Did the night happen he wonders. He thinks it probably did but he was asleep when it happened. Then he runs for the bus and he makes it because of the red light. He thanks the red light. It is cold this morning. He should have come out in a coat but it is too late to get a coat because he is on the bus and he cannot just steal a coat from a stranger. He wants to be able to inject books directly into his brain. The sun comes up and it is still cold. Then he is at work and he orders some chairs. Then he wonders if the chairs will be okay. Then he makes some pictures. They are all magical. Then he wonders whether he should have spoken to Eric Schlosser yesterday but he looked like he was in a bad mood so it’s probably best he didn’t speak to him because it would just have been to tell him how much he enjoyed Fast Food Nation. Eric Schlosser has probably heard this too many times and is now bored with people telling him how much they enjoyed Fast Food Nation. Now he has a book about Nuclear Weapons and he probably wants people to read that and tell him how wonderful they think that book is. He looks annoyed and tired but well dressed which is probably compulsory after talking to lots of people that you don’t know about a book that none of them have read but are all pretending to have read. Then he has a coffee and then all of a sudden he is on the bus again and work happened and there was a flood in Mexico and the shooting in DC is almost forgotten and the flood in Colorado is almost forgotten and the flood and Hurrican in Manila was never mentioned by anyone in the mainstream media because of the usual reasons and a new drug which is really a combination of old drugs is being used by the poor in South Africa and the Federal Reserve is still printing free money and the random number got bigger and bigger like the bloodied swelling of an erection as they all realised that Ben Bernanke sacerdotes in chief displayed the entrails and intoned that the economy was not yet strong enough to not piss free money into the mouths of the rich so that then it could funnel through their alimentary canals to be shit into the mouths of the poor. Then he watches Rouhani says categorically that Iran does not want Nuclear Weapons and he watches it and realizes that this will make no difference to those in America who want to invade Iran which is a shame. Then his books by radical thinkers arrives and he is happy about that and he eats a bagel and he reads his books and gets coffee all over his sweater and he tweets idiocy into the night and tries to forget that it is all being archived in The Library of Congress and he goes back to reading and researching his massive never ending projects and he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. It is early. Chatter on the radio. Before sunrise it is cool. Then it rains. He showers. He has no deodorant. He does not look forward to later in the day when all of his pheromones will be filling the work environment, driving his colleagues wild. He will not be driving his colleagues wild. He has an egg sandwich and a coffee for breakfast. He looks down at his belly. It is distended and hairy. He needs to do even the most basic exercise. He knows that masturbation does not count as exercise. Even if he breaks a sweat doing it. Then there is a shooting in DC and there is a lock down and then the rest of the day is rumours and speculation and then the name of the shooter is revealed but even this may not be true and then his ex-wife asks him when he went all black power and he replies he has always, in some way, been black power. Then he misses his stop on the way home because he is reading a book about Europe then he thinks he probably has a stalker and that will teach him not to try and meet people online and then provide every piece of personal information including where he lives and where he works and all of his contact details and then when the interactions go sour there will be no let up no let up at all and every public tragedy and event is used as an excuse to contact him but still he ignores in the hope that it will stop but he rather fears it will not stop even as he is told that she is coming to the East Coast soon all too soon that will teach him to contact anyone on the internet for sordid things. He will probably not learn his lesson but he eats a bagel and reads a bit more about the depthless depravity of Europe and then he goes to sleep less worried than he might be.
He wakes up. He drinks coffee with peppermint creamer. He eats a bagel with an egg and some turkey bacon. He has a shower. He draws a picture. He watches a discussion between Foucault and Badiou. He has a nap. He goes to a party. He meets lots of new people. He tries to initiate a conversation by saying that books are good. This is not what he was trying to say and the reaction was not as he hoped but as he expected a frozen polite smile. He eats some Swedish meatballs. He meets new and interesting people. He feels the overwhelming panic that he has kept at way start to take control so he makes his excuses and leaves. He believes he has managed to fool everyone he meets that he is a normal and functioning member of society. On the way home he does impressions of the Reverend Ian Paisley on the bus. He thinks he is doing them in his head but as he is drunk he doesn’t realise at first that he is not. He realises that he is doing them out loud when he notices the various nervous side-eyes his fellow commuters are giving him. He tries to turn the impression into a cough and a yawn and then goes to staring out of the window. He is too drunk to be embarrassed. He watches Attack on Titan which gets more confusing the further the season progresses. He reads more about World War II. He reads more about the Slave Trade. He feels the requisite amount of guilt for being a white male but realises that it will never be enough and then realises it is infinitely better than experiencing racism and then feels guilty for feeling that. He reads an essay by Montesquieu and discovers a great new web show called Ask A Slave which is satirical and perfect and hilarious. He plans all sorts of things for the next day and then he sleeps.
War makes monsters of us all and there were, no doubt, many instances where the Allies committed what would today be defined as war crimes. However, it seems to me that, given the horror that the Nazis perpetrated, we tend, in the West to overlook any evidence of our own terrible butchery.
Having just completed a reading of World War II by Martin Gilbert, a generally well written and factual account of the conflict, I have only managed to find one instance of allied action that could be counted as a war crime. Here is the very short passage in a very large book:
On the day of the Deptford rocket bomb, a British submarine, HMS Sturdy, on its way from Australia to Indonesian waters, stopped a Japanese cargo ship by surface shellfire. The Japanese crew having abandoned their ship, the only people left on board were fifty women and children, all of them Indonesians. In order to deny the Japanese any use of the ship’s cargo, the submarine commander ordered the ship to be sunk, despite a protest from the officer who had to lay the explosive charges. ‘Get on with it’, was the commander’s response. The cargo ship and its passengers were then blown up, together with the ship’s war supplies.
The Second World War – A Complete History, Martin Gilbert. p. 614
So a ship full of unarmed women and children were blown up. It is interesting to note how the author furnishes the commander with suitable justification for, what seems to be a heinous act. It was entirely okay for him to murder women and children because there were war supplies on the ship.
The date of this war crime, for war crime it surely appears, was November 25 1944.
There are few other examples in the book but given the size and scope of the war it seems unlikely that this is the only war crime on the allies side that went unpunished. In a fair and just world those who commit crimes would be prosecuted regardless on what side of the battle line there found themselves.
If the world was a just one then the author of this book might assign the same revulsion to this awful murder as he does, rightfully so, to the awful things that the Nazis did in the name of their Reich.
I think that these civilians were dismissed, by the commander and by the author, because they were Indonesian. I find it almost impossible to believe that had these civilians been upstanding members of the British Empire who understood the rules of cricket, had their tea at 4pm every day and had pale anglo-saxon skin that they would have suffered the same fate.
Maybe I am being terribly cynical though and I am unaware of many important facts concerning the fifth column nature of these Indonesian woman and children.
One day we will live in a world where we can acknowledge our own war crimes. That day does not seem to be today.
addendum: in my stupidity I overlooked the firebombing of Dresden, firebombing of Tokyo, the two nuclear bombs and any number of other “revenge” killings of German soldiers. However my aim with the small quote above was to highlight what seems like the slaughter of innocent women and children without the “luxury” of dropping bombs from a great height. The soldiers who committed this atrocity were actually on the boat laying the explosives. Whether they looked into the eyes of their victims or forced them, at gunpoint to stay on the boat, is not mentioned in the book.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
UPDATE: I found this link here – which says that apparently we won’t know for sure what happened until 2019 when the UK documents are unsealed. I can only assume that Mr. Gilbert had special access when he wrote his book.
He wakes up. He cannot remember how long he slept because he was asleep but it seemed like a long time. He dreamt that he was in New York after waking up with coffee and a blind assassin in his bed before getting on a bus and buying a coffee and a sandwich from a woman who is opening her shop for the first time and is eager and full of energy that energizes him for the day ahead. He is later than he wanted to be but as late as he expected to be. He is worried about money. He watches a pigeon fighting with a piece of dry piece of bread and losing. He empathises with the pigeon. He takes photographs. He feels like candle smoke just like candle smoke. He want to be not alive like candle smoke. Existing but not alive like clouds. He really needs to pee. He is now in New York walking into the wrong hotel and then backing out after nearly arguing with the front desk and then walking into the correct hotel and not having a room available and three hours ago desperate for the bathroom and finally he finds a bathroom and the pressure is relieved like the opening sequence of Buffalo ’66 which is the greatest movie of all. Then he gets his room and an angel has prepared his room and he sees her wafting down the corridor her wings disappearing last around the corner and then he meets his friend and talks of revolution and history and poetry and walking and food and talking and a dog and they go to the bar that Dylan Thomas got drunk in which could be any bar in New York but this one has a plaque and an oil painting for extra authenticity and they try to remember lines from Under Milkwood and recite them and it is fun then the train takes forever and he is drunk and then it is day again and he cannot remember if he has slept but he remember he was having an awkward conversation with a man as they stood next to one another in a very cosy bathroom their shoulders almost touching as they hold themselves and he says that Maryland is a state and the other man replies that he knows and then he is informed that jousting is the National Sport of Maryland and he is not sure if this is a joke or not so he laughs in case it is a joke and then he is on a platform and there are no trains because they have been cancelled except the sign telling everyone this is a tiny sign that is written on a piece of paper that is hidden on the shadowed side of a column which he eventually finds but cannot remember why he started looking for it and finally he is in hotel and he thinks he lies in his bed but then Sir David Frost is dead and then CNN pumps out a slurried informercial with a Call to War and then Lawrence Samuel talks about his book The American Middle Class – a cultural history and then he tries to make coffee but instead he floods the room with tepid brown water and all this time the media want an intervention and Richard Woolfe seems to be an idiot and then Heather Hurlburt says next to him says there is no level of evidence that civilized Americans would be happy with she is an expert and implies that evidence should not be presented for this reason but surely actual evidence would be accepted but then perhaps not and perhaps Heather Hurlburt is correct but even if she is correct and the civilized Americans and even uncivilized Americans would not accept the evidence then perhaps they should be allowed to decide on that evidence but of course that is not the point of International Relations of the most Freedom Loving Country in the world democracy is okay in theory but it’s unacceptable when the powerful want to make a decision that benefits them that is when it becomes problem. Then he notices that one of John Kerry’s eyes is drooping. It is his right eye. He has had this experience when he is very tired when muscles go to sleep and it always looks like he is having a mini-storke perhaps John Kerry is having a mini stroke. Then sarin gas and lies are measured against nonsense and power will do that to you as he talks about a mild fierece directed forceful gentle punishment followed by a diplomatic track whatever that means. It does seem to matter what people want but Hillary Mann Leverett seems to be the only voice of reason but she no doubt has her own company and own interests that go outside of ethics and altruism for backing the views that she has and yet she remains the only voice of reason and there is still talk of US War weariness which doesn’t really make any sense because less than 1% of Americans are actually fighting in any wars now what it actually means is War Boredom we’re bored of hearing about war war is boring stop telling us about the wars we’re fighting that you’re fighting our poor are fighting for our rich i just want my kids to go to a good college and get a great cubicle job and to be able to die slightly older than I do they are probably all thinking then Peter King appears on the television but all he hears are pant hoots and the percussive noises of the wilderness. Then he is in MOMA and suffers from art weariness, art boredom there is so much art and it is all good art and then there are video games there for reasons which aren’t really explained and then there is watermelon to eat because 6th avenue is closed off for some kind of Brazilian Festival and there is lots of food and there are lots of Brazilian Flags and people dancing and eating and singing and he is not sure if he is dreaming or not and there is team and humidity and then Spongebob Squarepants and a boyband that look like middle aged men and David Kock is sponsoring an extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and so patronage is alive and well but it is never called that it is called sponsporship in order to hide the intricate relations of the powerful with the arty so that they can maintain their aloof psuedo-left snobbery and then the literary walk through Central Park is strange because it is begun by a statue of Shakespeare and a Statue of Columbus and a Statue of Rabbie Burns and a Statue of Sir Walter Scott. he is not sure whether Columbus is literary he was certainly an amazing liar and whether anyone outside of Scotland reads rabbie burns and if anyone anywhere reads Sir Walter Scott any more. Then he has a plate of onion rings that are fried and tasty and he eats them and eats a burger. He is melancholy He is in Hells Kitchen and he takes photographs and he sees purses everywhere spread out like gifts for lazy thieves by drunken women and he passes a young man who has a tshirt that has PARTY WITH SLUTS written on it and this makes him sad and yet impressed with the font and the neon colour scheme and he notices a credit card ruse in the machine he has just put his card into so he tells the lady of the subway and then he cancels his card and then there is more alcohol and maudlin feelings and walks home and hotel and then again he is at breakfast and Apocalyptic dreams and reality collide and he saw the end of the world but then there is breakfast in the middle of the scarred ruined that was once New York the blasted field with a table in the center and on the table there are eggs and sausages and bagels and orange juice and yoghurt and there are roiling unfaced masses masturbating around him on hills of bones and he is running down the street and having shameful thoughts about every single human being he passes including the man who he gives $2 to and then he sprays the road with his unwanted baste and then he meets his friend for second breakfast and Armageddon melts away and everything is normal again and he gets on the bus and he sleeps and shakes and his mouth lolls open and he shudders his way back to his home and his bed and the safety of his room. He is not sure if he was ever in New York. He sleeps.
He wakes up. It is early. He has a driving test. He is ready for his driving test. He gets on a bus. He gets off that bus and gets on another bus. His friend is driving there to the mva to meet him but when he gets there his friend tells him it is closed for the Labor Day but it is not Labor Day but it is a government workers holiday anyway so it is a wasted journey and his friend seems fine with it and they have breakfast at Silver Diner and then he learns that his friends car has a cracked windscreen so it would not have been useable for the test anyway but then they drive into town and they say goodbye and he meets with another friend who is leaving the city forever and they talk and drink coffee and eat donuts and fried chicken and it is heavenly and then he travels home but first he does some baby sitting and some talking about Syria and he tries to ignore the news but it is difficult to ignore the enws when he is addicted to knowing all about the news. Then he goes home and he reads and he eats and he doesn’t pack his bags for the next day and he falls asleep after booking an expensive last minute hotel.
He wakes up. Miley Cyrus and her parlous attempt at twerking is still major news but for all the wrong reasons as she is now the inventor, empress, queen of the twerk regardless of the minstrel like nature of her performance regardless of the objectification of the african american dancers with her on stage regardless of the cultural theft regardless of the 20 year history of twerking regardless of the white supremacy of culture that absorbs all other cultures like the amorphous alien blob of so many b-movies starring only white people regardless of New Orleans and the missing from any pages anniversary of Katrina and the destruction of the poor of a vibrant city. Then he is waiting at the station and through the window he sees Mr. Levenson and he is so over joyed that he is alive and wasn’t taken off by the taxi driver somewhere awful to be eaten or whatever worst case scenario he could think of so he gets on the train and after many stops he manages to get Mr. Levenson’s attention which is hard to do because he is reading a book and is many seats away but finally with a wave he gets Mr. Levenson’s attention and Mr. Levenson waves back but doesn’t recognise him immediately then his eyes lighten and he smiles and give a little seated hand clasped bow and mouths thank you and exchanges thumbs up and Mr. Levenson signs something that he doesn’t understand so he gives a thumbs up sign and raises his eye brows in a questioning manner and then Mr. Levenson responds with three repeated movements which he doesn’t understand then he get the second one and the third one and then minutes later he works out the first one and Mr. Levenson was saying over and over again thanks to you thanks to you and he feels happy as he leaves the train and glows that he helped another human being get home and that perhaps if we all helped people then the world would be a better place because helping people feels so good and he is full of the joy of the human spirit. Then he is in the grocery store and a teenager accidentally steps on the back of his foot and he is full of rage and anger and hates everyone again especially the oblivous teenage boy who he wants to go over and scold but then he realises how ridiculous this is and he buys some carrrot juice and some sushi and he goes home and he reads and he worries and he sleeps.
He wakes up. He is not hungover. It feels like something is missing. He listens to Car Talk. He buys some orange juice and some soda and some blueberries. He plays cards. He goes to Target and buys some school supplies and some shoes. A ten year old tells him that he is getting fat. The ten year old is correct. He eats some Chinese Food. He watches an episode of Keeping up With The Kardashians. He buys some more blueberries. He sets his alarm for the early morning. He reads some more about Malcolm X. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He watches the anniversary of the March on Washington on MSNBC which he wants to be at but he is hungover and he likes his bed and he can watch it from more angles on the television and there are moving moments with the family of Emmett Till and the family of Trayvon Martin and while it isn’t as big a crowd as the original one it is still an important March and there are still many things to be done before The Promised Land is reached. Then he reads the autobiography of Malcolm X and then he reads Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. Then he falls asleep and then he wakes up in the afternoon and realises that he has not eaten so he eats an apple and looks round his room at all the rotting fruit and the decaying meat and the empty bottles of alcohol so he turns his head the other way so he cannot see those things and watches the pilot of Breaking Bad because he has never seen it before and it is pretty good and he will probably watch some more episodes. The he watches Attack on Titan which ends on a wonderful cliff hanger and then he watches a version of Waiting for Godot directed by Samuel Beckett which is exactly like all of the other versions of Waiting for Godot that he has ever seen which is not a bad thing and then he watches a conversation between Glenn Greenwald and Noam Chomsky from 2011 and he thinks that Glenn Greenwald isn’t going to be able to do that for a while unless Professor Chomsky travels to another country but probably not Britain because he will be in no mans land for 9 hours and will be under the jurisdiction of whatever rules the men in uniforms deem are appropriate for someone who talks about freedom and terror. Then he reads about the cases for and against Scottish Indepence and is no closer to understanding which side is better. Then he eats a big bowl of tuna mayonnaise because this is the only food he has the energy to make that is in the house. Then he goes to sleep.
That’s right. They’ve both appeared in Bollywood movies. Go Bollywood.
Alas not the same movie but as cultural connections go it’s a pretty wonderful one.
Lord Russell is wearing amazing red slippers.
Also a stark reflection on how men are portrayed and how women are portrayed in film. Not just in Bollywood movies of course but clearly
Men = subject
Women = object.
Not even sure why I’m writing that as it’s so obvious and would that things were better today but alas, as we all know, they’re not really are they?
No, no they’re not.
He wakes up. He is still drunk the third day in a row he is drunk from the night before, It is a comforting blanket. It nuzzles him. It reassures him. It is love. He dresses and cannot find his house keys he searches in many places many times and then remembers that he has at other times left the house keys in the front door so he goes down to the front door but they are not in the front door but when he turns to go back upstairs he sees that someone has placed them on the table in the hallway and he is greatful for this and he leaves the house although he is late again then he learns that Mubarak has been released and he hears the Darth Vadar march music in his head and he thinks how terrible this is for the imagined democracy of Egypt and how the thugs of the army have taken over again and they are freeing their leader but then he learns that this is normal practice because, after all Mubarak has not been convicted of anything no matter how awful you may think he is and there is a time limit in Egypt on keeping someone in a prison without a conviction so it ends up being a little more reasonable than at first it was reported although he still feels at the back of his mind that there is being special treatment handed out to Mubarak but that is because of all of the prejudices he keeps in a bag that he straps to his belt every day. Then he learns that a young man was found hanging in a US prison cell and rather than cut him down police officers went to get cameras so that they could take pictures while he was still alive. This seems like an inhuman and terrible thing because it is an inhuman and terrible thing. Then there is an odd story in the news that BAE systems are using technologies to help professional athletes to become better at their chosen sports but the story doesn’t have any of the technology that BAE systems claims will help the athletes all it does have is a handsome British tae kwon do olympian flying in a military flight simulator and then a after effects heavy fight between two faceless martial artists and then some people being interviewed who hope to see the technology available one day so the story itself seems a little mysterious are BAE systems who make weapons that kill people trying to show a softer more civilian side to their operation because some awful story is about to come out or are they about to lose all of their military contracts so they are looking for peaceful uses of their human shredding technology or are they going to use the athletes in some kind of experiments in which they are turned into autonomous super soldiers who will be unstoppable on any field of battle? He does not know the answer to this but when one employee at BAE talks about how accurate simulations of martial arts fights will be able to be created so that athletes will be able to practice against their opponent the awesome enlarged part of his brain that loves conspiracy theories thinks that this would also be a perfect way to train soldiers by putting them in a vr environment and programming their virtual enemy with all the strategies of their real enemy whether this would be China or Luxembourg or Scotland because you can never tell who your future enemy is going to be. He spends his time online on forums not having to worry about rape threats or in the real world worrying about the unblinking eye of the male gaze and he is thankful for that and sickened by that and then watches a story about Rita Moreno and listens to his favourite song from West Side Story which perfectly captures the complexity of America and perfectly captures the White Patriarchal systematised racism of the and now. I want to live in America Things will be great in America If you are white in America and so it is better but it is not better and a pew poll out today tells him that things aren’t that better but white people still think things are better just like the white people in the 60s who thought everyone had an equal opportunity in America just as a majority of white people think that everyone has an equal opportunity in America today and money has nothing to do with it and ethnicity has nothing to do with it but it is easy to see with the looking and the eyes that this is not the case. He has an orange slushy and bread drenched in spray cheese and baconnaise. Spray cheese is proof of the End of Days. Baconnaise is proof of The End of Days. He watches footage of people dying in Syria and pupils dilating and shivering feverish bodies jerking and spasming and now that the red line has been crossed surely something will be done but all he can think about is the smurf t-shirt on one young boy one distraught young boy wearing a smurf tshirt and it reminds him of the safety of his childhood in Scotland watching The smurfs on Saturday morning with his brother in the safety of their bedroom with their snacks and their laughter and this screaming child who has probably lost his family with his smurf t-shirt scrabbling around with neighbours in the dead of night terrified is not the world that should be but the world that is and even if this huge massacre by chemical weapons were shown to be a fraud and a theater and an act of propaganda the UN says that over 100,000 people have died and this is men and women and children and mostly non-combatants mostly people like the child with the smurf tshirt and the mother of the child with the smurf tshirt and the father of the child with the smurf tshirt and the sister of the child with the smurf tshirt and maybe even the gay uncle but he’s accepted by his family because he is family and everyone loves him in the smurf tshirt and why is the red line chemical weapons when over 100000 people have died that is a lot of people and when a majority of them are civilians and they are massacred without any means of defending themselves that seems even more awful and even if you hate your own government and they way they manipulate international events for their own self-interested purposes as they always do he thinks you get to a point when you become complicit in this horror by not at least speaking out about it and he doesn’t have a solution but something is deeply wrong with an international system that allows this to happen to allow a country to do this to it’s people and for other countries to stand by and watch it happen and wring their hands but do nothing so maybe he is advocating for a collapse of all states and a return to an agrarian Eden but this is of course nonsense but even though he is a fan of passive resistance it seems that in this context passive resistance against a tank doesn’t seem to work and the desire to advocate for a violent response because at least that is something even if it is not the right thing seems like a compelling thing to do when men and women and children with smurf tshirts are being massacred. Then at the bus stop a deaf gentleman comes up to him and he has left his car lights on all day so now his car is dead and he asks if it would be possible to make a phone call to a Pastor Heinreich so a call is made to Pastor Heinreich but he only gets a receptionist and leaves a message so Mr. Levenson, who is the polite deaf gentleman is nervous and worried because his car was his only means of getting home and he has never taken a bus before and he does not know how to order a taxi so after waiting he offers to take the deaf gentleman to the taxi rank and he walks him over and he explains to one taxi driver who will not take him because his credit card machine is broken which is probably a lie because it generally means that there is extra paper work but even so they go to the next taxi driver and he is willing to take Mr. Levenson so he explains to the driver that Mr. Levenson is deaf and he needs to be taken home and he shakes the hand of Mr. Levenson who is nearly in tears and what he perceives as some glorious generosity but it is a nice thing to do a nice thing especially when he very rarely does any nice things and he ushers Mr. Levenson into the car and then walks away hoping that the taxi driver takes Mr. Levenson home. He worries about this a great deal but believing in the essential goodness of people he believes that it all worked out okay. Then he has a cup caked and a mango flavoured ice tea then he buys the autobiography of Malcom X and Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King Jr because he feels it is important to buy them from a bookshop and not from Amazon and not download them for free from some torrent website and he buys a copy of The United States of Paranoia by Jesse Walker which he also bought for a friend the other day and posted because he was drunk and thought it would be nice to buy a book for a friend who also shares a love of conspiracy theories but he did buy it on Amazon and feels bad or that because their employee practices are so heinous but he was drunk so he uses that as an excuse as he uses it as an excuse for so many of the awful things he has done in his life. Then he drinks some red wine and then he watches some Chris Hayes who is less irritating than normal and then he plays some video games because he has been thinking too much all day and they help fry the neurons and redirect them into other less contentious places that will calm him for a while because it is tiring to be angry all the time and then he is going to go to a party but he has an anxiety attack about being in a house full of people that he won’t know very well and he won’t be able to talk and converse and why would they want to talk and converse with him anyway so he takes deep breaths and contacts the friend and explains his anxiety attack and she is understanding and that makes him feel better but also feel guilty because it is a leaving party but he will see her individually next week and he really should go and talk to someone about these anxiety attacks that he keeps having as they are affecting his life quite a lot and then he drinks some more red wine and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He reads The Statement of Bradley Manning which looks like this:
The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.
Then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is glad that he drank alcohol last night because it calmed him and took away his anxiety. This may be a problem but he doesn’t dwell on it for now and he makes a coffee which kills the buzz but doesn’t bring back the anxiety. Later he is on the bus and a nice man keeps the door open for him. Then he is at work and Egypt is confusing and Japan is leaking nuclear waste and a psychotic American soldier is being treated with sympathy even though he shot children and shot grandmothers and smashed old women to death in the face and set them on fire and then returned to his base to reload and then went on to another village and did the same thing and laid waste to families of women and children and set them alight and then Yemen is being strafed by drones and crushed and oppressed and then the lover of a journalist is being held under a very specific terrorist law for non-terroristic things and he wonders when will the good guys start realising that they are not the good guys and have never been the good guys but are just guys and in this instance have very likely been the bad guys for quite some time now and it turns out that Nietzche was right with his He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee because maybe it’s a different kind of monster but it’s still a monster and the abyss has a million eyes and they are all staring and strafing and judging. Then he eats too much processed meat but he still seems to be alive and then he goes and buys a fish tank and the Petsmart that he goes to seems to employ only children and he wonders for a while if he has arrived in some kind of secret Disney show but it turns out not to be a Disney show and all the children are very professional and attentive but there seems to be no adult supervising and the only adult in the store is him and a wiry old woman who is buying bulk sacks of food for her cat. He drops off the fish tank and returns home and feels less anxious than the day before but this may be because he is looking forward to drinking alcohol and masturbating and after he has done both of these things he realises that this was exactly the reason for his anxiety staying at a distance because drinking alcohol and masturbating has calmed him greatly and he talks with friends and then he watches Chris Hayes who talks too much but seems to mean well and then he reads some very clever people on Quora and then he draws a horror lion and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up . He watches hours and hours of commercials hawking legal narcotics of alcohol and pain killers and sex aids and cell phones and cars and more pain killers and more cars and more drugs and more sex aids and religious dating and cars and alcohol and alcohol and alcohol and technology and business and look at the lovely shiny things that you can spend your credit cards on. Then he has a coffee and then he buys some bread and some processed meat and some processed cheese and some mayonnaise and he knows from his close reading of all the scary literature that all of these things will give him cancer and will make him die which is not the best thing for food to do but he has no choice but to eat food in order to live and so he thinks that he will eat fruit and vegetables but then he has done close reading of all the texts and fruit and vegetables are soaked and thick with chemicals and poisons and carcinogens and will kill him so he thinks that he will be a vegan but then he has done close reading of all the texts and he has heard that soy is carcinogenic so does he stop eating and die or does he just eat and accept that he’s going to get cancer that he’s going to get cancer and he’s going to die of cancer of not eating or of eating too much? Then Glen Greenwald’s boyfriend is stopped under section 7 of some Terror law and everyone is up in arms because everyone should be up in arms because it is a thing to be up in arms about because it seems like intimidation but then Glen Greenwald is angry and you won’t like it when Glen Greenwald is angry because Glen Greenwald will smash your intelligence hegemony with secret documents that have been given to him by Edward Snowden but then he thinks about the stopping of Glen Greenwald’s boyfriend and realises that this happens every day in America to black men and black women and every day in America to brown men and brown women and every day in America to minorities and every hour and it is not commented upon but approved of and told that it makes the black men and black women and the brown men and brown women safe and it makes their communities safe so you don’t need to worry about it and the false equivalence is making him tired so he has a drink of Jack Daniels and coke and he reads about the scientific contribution of Africa to the world and he is pleased that the document has been written and he is sad that the document will probably be ignored. Then he wonders at the lunacy of Atlas Shrugged and wonders even more at the fact that it now seems to be a manual for the leaders of America and he drifts off into sleep.
He wakes up. He goes to buy lemons and sugar and cups and then makes lemonade and then helps with a lemonade stand and lemonade is sold and a great American tradition is continued of lemons and lemonade stands and exchanging small amounts of money for a child’s home made lemonade. It is a great success and then he drinks alcohol and then he plays an online video game and then life doesn’t seem so bad except all of the moments when he is in public and he wants to tear of all his clothes and run screaming at strangers but he has, up to this point, refrained from doing this. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He watches as Fox News crushes poor people and facts into a glorious paste of lies. Then he watches as Egypt collapses a little more and then he has a coffee. Then he drinks some wine and then he goes to the bathroom a lot and then he has a coffee and a sandwich and then he plays a video game and then he becomes obsessed with gay rights and gets enraged at Russia and the Rambo cartoon from the 80s. Then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. Love is complicated and painful and full of apologies and distrust and like a recovering addict he sits shaking in the corner trying to get over the last low quality batch that he injected. He will not do that again he promises himself he will not make that mistake love is not necessary it is not pleasant he has had no good experiences with it it has brought him not happiness no joy only bad poetry and disaster. Egypt collapses in horrible violence and the West looks on as if it has no complicity in any of these things as if everything isn’t interconnected in a fine webbed matrix that goes back to a refused IMF loan earlier in the year because the design of the loan would have reduced even more fuel and food subsidies. There are no goodies and there are no baddies there are just human beings murdering one another and distant patricians looking on with false empathy shaking their heads because in their heads they think they did what they could but those poor Egyptians just weren’t ready for democracy – the democracy of the bovine, the docile, the crushed. Then he drinks some wine and he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He is drunk. He doesn’t care. He wears underwear that he should have thrown away years ago but is clean and he marks that as a triumph. He draws pictures of monsters in his notebook on the way to work and wonders why he is hiding his notebook from people on the bus and on the train because in reality no one cares what he is doing in his notebook. There is more talk of Middle East Peace and sadly there will probably be no Middle East Peace because of intractable things and power structures and lunatics on both sides and oppression and retaliation and revenge and anger so much anger and tiredness and everyone must surely want peace but no one can agree on how to get it so he has an ice cream and is glad that he does not have to make any decisions regarding any of it unless he does and no one has told him in which case he is late for the meeting and he hopes that him not being there won’t mean that the talks will fail. Then he forgets to post an acceptance to a wedding again for the twentieth straight day in a row but he is sure that he will send it tomorrow. Then he eats some fish which tastes funny and then he drinks some wine and the wine makes him feel much better although his body is becoming a shapeless mass of flesh and wine held together by memories and clothes so he thinks he should probably not drink any more wine and live a more active life but perhaps he will do that tomorrow when he has finished this wine. Then he learns about Sundown Towns which are terrible things all white enclaves that were in America that had signs at the edge of town that had things on them like “Nigger, Don’t Let The Sun Set On YOU In Hawthorne” and this was in 1930s America but he can still feel the hate in America and he is sure that lots of towns would still love to have these signs if they could but they can’t because it is awful and white people seem terrified of something but he can’t think of quite what it is but perhaps it’s because they feel that their lives are hard and if their privilege was taken away from them their lives would be harder and equality would drive them insane and their heads would explode and they would have to face up to what their ancestors did and what they do even passively and without thinking because they don’t need to think because they are white and can go through life enjoying life without worrying about being stopped and frisked or being denied service or being denied work or being paid less or being oppressed because they enjoy without realizing it a pedestal upon which they can live an easier life but their life doesn’t seem easier so imagine how harder it would be for them if they were equal that would drive them insane and they wouldn’t be able to cope maybe it is that or maybe it is something else entirely. He does not have any of the answers but if it were that answer no one would want to listen anyway so he goes to sleep in a bath of red wine.
He wakes up. He cannot decide whether he should go to work or not but then he realises that there is no one else to do his job so he gets out of his sweating bed and showers and brushes his teeth and walks to the bus and misses the bus and gets on another bus and gets to work and draws some pictures and eats a lean pocket and a bag of chips and some mint m&ms and then learns that they are an aphrodisiac but they do not give him an erection and then he drinks a milkshake and then the day is almost over and he downloads some video games which make him think deeply about the reality of the world and then he downloads some music which makes him think deeply about the reality of the world and then he has a conversation which makes him think deeply about the reality of the world and then he watches the Rambo cartoon which makes him think deeply about the reality of the world and then he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. The sky is grey and his brain is gray. He learns about a school in Florida where it seems that runaways were sent and then abused and beaten and died. Once again human beings are monstrous. The town where the school sits also enjoys the reputation of having one of the most horrific lynchings in the history of America and given that the history of lynchings is utterly monstrous this fact in itself is an accolade that the people of this town are probably not overly proud of or maybe they are human beings can be proud of the strangest things. When monstrous things happen in America they always go large. Then he has a coffee and then he writes an email and then he sits on the bus and then he watches people lie to Congress and then he wonders whether China will be better stewards of the planet than America and he doubts it very much and then he wonders if an outlier will become the Policeman of the world like Luxembourg or Bhutan or Scotland if it gains independence and he thinks that this is not likely. He goes to sleep discontent.
He wakes up. He feels happy. Then things go awry very quickly. Something is concerning his lover. Then he learns that her name is not real and he has been looking at pictures of her cousin. He was not expecting this but it manages to make everything else he thought he knew crumble and brings to mind the other enormous lies he has enjoyed in other moments of his life. So he is wounded, confused and bemused. He should have learned his lesson the first time, the second time, the third time, the fourth time, the fifth time, the sixth time, the seventh time, the eighth time – maybe he will learn the next time maybe this is salvageable but not if he is a sane person he is not sure he is a sane person. There are so many lies in the world – so many that are ignored and embraced and overlooked and hidden and he watches Obama lie about spying to Jay Leno and the lying he has experienced does not seem too bad after all but the lying he has experienced gives him physical pain whereas the lying he sees Obama commits just makes him sad. Sleep is all there is. He goes to it.
He wakes up. He is refreshed. He does not know why. He talks to his lover and then goes to work. He notices that the differences between the book The Butler and the movie Lee Daniel’s The Butler include the name of the butler and also the omission of Truman and Carter from the pantheon of Presidents. He wonders if he will have to get a Scottish Passport if the vote for independence is succesful in his homeland next year. Will he be a man without a nation or will he be a man with a nation he is slightly embarassed by and unwelcome in? He does not know. He has an argument which he doesn’t like and then he resolves the issue which he finds more pleasant. He wonders why the locked down city of Boston during the Bostom bombings is not seen by some as proof that the city was terrorized and consequently terrorism worked just perfectly and that it will act as an example to other terrorists and that it makes look America look terrified. Then he wonders why the military court on a military base of the most powerful military in the world has been defended with even more defense to protect it against anyone who might try to attack Major Hassan. Again it does not look like the action of a group who are powerful and in control. It looks like a group who are terrified. That is what it looks like although it probably isn’t like that at all it is probably just justifiable defence against an as yet unseen foe. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He does not remember how he got to work but there he is, sitting at his desk, his computer on, a coffee next to the mouse but with no memory of waking up, dressing, travelling. He must have done all of these things because he is awake, dressed and traveled. Jeff Bezos has bought The Washington Post with his own personal money. He must have need of a new hobby. All of the Washington media seem excited and terrified at the same time. There is a pointless semi-hatchet job of Luke Russert in The New Republic. He seems like an affable smile in a suit who will no doubt become the most important man in Washington DC. If that kind of thing matters to anyone. He has an ice-cream. He is getting fat. The Global Terror Threat Against the American People Continues. Everyone is skeptical except for the breathless reporters. They may be skeptical too but it is more exciting to focus on the drama. So they focus on the drama. Today was not bad. It was not bad at all. He puts some money into an indigogo campaign and feels good about himself. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He has a coffee. He has a bagel. He reads about the overuse of oil and how it relates to energy consumption and food. He reads about the genocide in Rwanda in an article by Samantha Power who is the new UN Ambassador for the USA and he wonders if this means that she will be intervening everywhere she can because she definitely makes a case in favor of intervention where and when it is possible in the same way using a similar system to the rules of intervention that goodies in Hollywood movies use when they intervene in a country that they know little about – like when the Three Amigos save the Mexican village or the way that Bruce Willis saves the African village in Tears of the Sun or the way in which James Cameron saves the large blue aliens (secret native Americans) in Ferngully; the last rain forest. Then he eats a lot of cookies and cream ice cream and the he buys a roast chicken and then he eats some of the roast chicken and then he reads the details of the general global terror threat against America and Americans and wonders whether the war on terror is really doing so well if the new threat is coming from anywhere and could be anyone. It doesn’t, to him, seem like the best result from over a decade of war against a tactic, to now warn Americans from travelling anywhere except, it seems to Australia or parts of America, and say that there are both credible and non-specific threats that have been discovered because of the secret NSA spying and that also remember that we arrested all of those paedophiles with the same methods earlier in the week so you had better keep letting us sift through all of your information because David Gregory thinks it’s a good idea and you have nothing to hide do you and you aren’t a terrorist are you or a paedophile so you should have nothing to worry about so we’re going to keep vacuuming up your emails and pictures and conversations and come round to the clinic on Monday so we can inject this chip into your neck. Then he has a nap and then he watches a Rambo cartoon that was made in the eighties which is as racist and violent and sexist as he expected it to be and then he watches some RT which is Infowars lite but entertaining nonetheless and then he reads a book about exxon mobil and then he reads a book about Goldman Sachs and then he weeps a little because he feels powerless but then he has a drink of water and he talks to his nurturing lover and he manages to overlook the horror of the world and he promises himself that he will change it tomorrow. Then he learns that the new Dr. Who is Peter Capaldi and that also Neil Gaiman is being lambasted for saying that it shouldn’t have been a woman but Peter Capaldi isn’t a woman so why is he complaining and then he realises Neil Gaiman isn’t complaining but making a point but it’s a silly point because it could easily have been a woman this time and now the internet hates Neil Gaiman. This has probably never happened to Neil Gaiman before because he is the internet so he is probably a little disoriented and confused and he will probably passivelly and aggressively lash out and maybe his lovely wife Amanda Palmer will write a satirical song in his defence calling all of his detractors cunts that might happen and then some other thing will irritate everyone. Then he watches a video of Donald Trump sniffing Rudy Giuliani’s neck and he feels he has had enough of the day so he goes to sleep.
He wakes up. How many things will go wrong today, he wonders. He finds out during the day. It is a number of things. He thinks that he is witty in most of his exchanges but as he falls asleep having sent a picture of his genitals to someone via his cell phone, an act which he is already starting to regret, all he can remember is the glazed look that most of his witty exchanges were met with.
He wakes up. He feels guilty because last night he ate between 12 and 14 battered cheese fingers that he heated up in the microwave. He is not sure of the number because he stopped counting after five but he knows that it was between 12 and 14 because that is the number given on the box. They were tasty but he feels shame. He showers. He still feels shame. He gets on the bus. Shame follows him. Then he takes a nap on the bus and when he wakes up shame has gone somewhere else – perhaps to the woman who is dozing in front of him. Nothing happens at work so he eats some sushi. Then he goes home. A monstrous human being is sent to prison for a long time. He smells an orange. He does not feel like eating it. He wants to drink some wine but he doesn’t have any. He records his experimental podcast and then leaves it sitting on his hard drive not sure what to do with it. He sneezes and then falls asleep. As he drifts of he can feel shame returning.
He wakes up after significant terrible dreams that involved terrible unnameable acts. Then he goes downstairs to get some breakfast but the fridge is empty. This is surreal. It was full when he went to bed. He has some coffee granules and makes some coffee. He is confused about the empty fridge. He watches some anime. Attack on Titan is still insane. He goes on the internet and watches various people masturbate which seems to be his new hobby. He pretends it is for research for some novel or other that he is yet to write and it makes him feel less guilty. He gets into work in the afternoon and no one cares. He talks to colleagues and they all complain to one another about things they dislike about their particular part of their particular job in this particular organisation. It is like everywhere else in this regard. He wishes for a pay rise. He writes a rough script for a podcast which is a combination of Welcome to Night Vale and Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America. It is a mediocre version of either. It is a mediocre version of both. It is not very good. He plays cards. He gets caught in the rain. His clothes are soaked but his camera remains dry. He has a glass of wine and he reads and he talks to his girlfriend and then he drifts off into a worried sleep.
He wakes up. He watches a show called Attack on Titan which he can only describe as insane. He wonders where Egypt’s former President is. He realises he cannot do anything about this even if he knew where the former President of Egypt is. In fact he wonders, is he still the President of Egypt even though he has been disappeared? He does not know the answer to this. He wonders how many years Bradley Manning will be locked away for and if he will be allowed to wear any clothes and if any of the people he revealed in the document release that he committed who seem to have been committing crime be investigated for any crimes as well. This is probably unlikely, he concludes, because no one seems interested in prosecuting a helicopter gunship crew for massacring journalists and children in a street because they may have, in the future, committed some kind of crime and the law is for the powerful and the weak have to do the best they can to ingratiate themselves or hide underneath things. Then he writes a thing and then he eats some lunch and then he doesn’t feel very well and is sure that he is about to vomit on the bus but he manages to not vomit on the bus. He tries to read to distract himself but this only makes him feel worse. Then he gets home and slides into his bed and lies in his bed feeling sick and not knowing why he is sick but feeling very sorry for himself either way. He falls asleep and his dreams will be very unpleasant.
He wakes up. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. He actually wakes up. Commute. Work. Commute. Sleep.
He wakes up. coffee. bagel. book. television. laundry. bed. vacuum cleaner. internet. shower. toothbrush. toothpaste. turkey bacon. vanilla flavoured almond milk. cell phone. podcast. welcome to nightvale. ice cream. carrot cake. more coffee. more television. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He was dreaming of fighting off a zombie Winston Churchill. He won but also, in many ways, he lost. It is never an enjoyable experience to crush the skull of a zombie Winston Churchill with a baseball bat especially as the zombification process occurs. He shaves. His beard almost immediately grows back like Tim Allen in The Santa Clause. He watches Chris Hedges talk eloquently and is depressed by it. He spends the whole day doing nothing and then is saddened by a train crash in Spain and then confused by what is going on in Egypt and then he buys a bottle of wine and then he buys some sushi and then he goes home and he drinks the wine and he eats the sushi and he watches Gore Vidal being witty in 2002 and then he sleeps.