Aw, thanks, Crispy.
I shall keep up the writing. And I’ve already gone insane, miss! Did you not know?
It has been called a disease, but it seems a malapropos choice of comparison. It has been the downfall of empires, the weakness of great leaders, and Mother Nature’s clamp that ensnares all who think themselves too bright to get caught. It is love, the chemical reaction in our bodies that makes us commit some of the most outright senseless moves on the chessboard of life. I say that calling it a disease is too vague a term, given how many vile illnesses plague our world. To call it a disease is no more correct than saying to your lover, “I feel an emotion for you.”
I would go so far as to call it a cancer, and, although that comparison will surely infuriate those that cannot make the connection, I stand by it. Everyone has a chance at contracting it, some are stuck with it for life, others see it fade and return again, and others still think that they can find a cure, but from all we have studied it, there seems to be none in sight. Whether you see your fellow human beings merely as rabbits that multiply, puppies that experience the myth that is ‘love at first sight,’ or fools that scour the world for their destined soul mates, you cannot deny that we all experience the symptoms of love. We extinguish large amounts of our time, empty our wallets till in futile attempts to impress the targets of our affection, and embarrass ourselves to no end, and even after all that, we are not guaranteed to be loved in return. Before the needle of love even pierces our vulnerable skin, we fall victim to psychological experience known as attraction that still to this day, baffles the mind.
How the genders handle attraction is an aggravating thing indeed, because attraction seems to diminish your intelligence. It must. Why else would people act so beautifully ignorant? Men are attracted in two ways; the brain between their ears and the brain between their legs. The latter is what gives the male population their bad reputation that stems from stereotypes, and in those stereotypes lie a great irony, which I will explore in a bit, but for now, understand that men will make complete and utter fools of themselves in order to impress others, and this comes as a result of shutting off their actual brain. Other signs of an attracted male include but are not limited to: nose bleeds, stuttering, unintelligible speech, sweating in cool climates, and loud declarations of unneeded information (i.e. their birth marks and locations thereof).
Females are a bit different in the sense that their stereotype dictates they generally use their upper brains, but still believe arguments that are completely devoid of logic. If you have ever had this conversation with a girl, you know about the obvious things that they seek in a potential partner for their life… like good hair. Really? Good hair? “Screw the stable job and the drive to better themselves, they better have some damn-good hair!” A tight ass, good hair, firm hands; and those are the normal ‘jewels’ that women look for. Need I even mention the never-ending search for a man with big ears, big feet, and big hands in the hopes that somehow these completely irrelevant mutations of the flesh are signs of a well-endowed man?
Now, as you may have noticed, I have not mentioned my friends attracted to the same sex, and that is because the stereotypes of men and women know no boundaries. The false beliefs that all men are shallow about the appearance of their partner and that all women are looking solely for someone that they are compatible with, are not limited to the straight. Now, stereotypes are derived from somewhere, and I took it upon my completely and in no way biased selfless self to examine them. A stereotype among several (but not all) men is that women are incapable of intelligent thought. This is a very simple to disassemble argument.
This arrogant group of men hates being told that they are wrong with a passion and have a tendency to date simply for looks. Given those two simple facts, you do the math, because they sure as hell cannot. As we cross genders over into the land of women, we find a very select group of certain women that follow their stereotype that states that all men are only interested in sex and are dumb as rocks. Once again, the argument falls apart like an asbestos bra. The perpetuated belief is first triggered during childhood when little girls watch every single movie with a princess within the story that gets rescued and marries a prince.
I know that it may sound cynical to be lunging at Disney with fangs bared and claws flying, but it does, in truth, lead to the mental belief that the only way for you to escape your supposedly meager existence is to have a tall, strong, and handsome man come along and ride you away on his white stallion, or a Mercedes as it were. Irony, being the cruel mistress that it is, delivers to the women that believe this a curve-ball. A large portion of the men that fit is grotesque description are indeed large, brave, and muscle-ridden, but the trade off in that are the brains that dictate what to say and do. So, they are more human meat shields with sex drives than charming princes, but that is what many of these women have chosen. Truth be told, neither gender is actually more mature when it comes to their choice of partners, but rather, it is the individuals that should be judged.
If you somehow manage to find someone that you can tolerate for the rest of your life (again I am a very jaded prick when it comes to love), you stay with them, cherish them, help them along, comfort them, and support them, but still some want to partake in a strange ritual known as marriage. I have never quite understood marriage, because it seems like such an obsolete performance in this day and age to have to get in formal writing that you will be with someone forever. Apparently, your word is no longer a strong bond, because now, we have marriage which is an ever-lasting and unbreakable seal of two human souls… well, at least until the divorce papers go through. Through the sewn seeds of religion and government, two things that I have always remained wary of, names are changed and you and your partner become officially recognized by two states now that you are lovers. Why is it, I wonder, that when anyone and their grandmother (a frowned upon marriage except in Alabama), divorce is always an option, and we selfishly decide what couples are allowed to be married, are we still using marriage as the test of love?
Only in the past century alone, was marriage for love seen as a norm. Before then, and still to this day, people are getting married because their families planned for them to or coaxed them to, for economic reasons, or just to have some sort of celestial get-out-of-jail-free card to let them “repopulate after the flood.” Many religions frown upon outside religions marrying into theirs, it took the longest time to allow interracial marriage, and we still have not legalized same-sex marriage. Taking a step back to examine this bizarre, ritualistic practice, I just cannot say that I would ever care to take part. But still, whether you wait for this marriage ritual or have a slightly jaded view of what is sacred, such as myself, you will sooner or later find yourself naked on a bed, hands tied to the posts, while a frightening woman with devilishly red eyes lays beside you. That is right; we have made it to sex.
Sex: that most enjoyable activity shared around the world, among other things that come later, whether they are the next time you use the bathroom or nine months away. Some of us follow a belief system in which we wait for marriage, others just wait for their first love, and then, there is a few of us that just say, “Screw this! I want to tear that bed up like the track at the Indianapolis Speedway.” Never before has such a ballet been created that leads from scene to scene all in the exact same room while its dancers sway to and fro in a majestic dance of the ages, reach the climax, and then follow the revelation, or we commonly call it, a cigarette. We claim that sex, much like marriage, is supposed to be sacred, especially that first time in which we lose our virginity, but if everyone has their first time and everyone can have sex, how the hell is this thing sacred? Some believe it to be so sacred, that they actually named one variation of it the ‘missionary’ position, but that gets old, so we create new ways of accomplishing it, generally by having dirty thoughts while playing a game of Twister in the living room with your friends.
Not only do we just have average, everyday sex in different ways, but some of our species (and please keep in mind that this is only a small percentage of the entire human population) enjoy alternative routes such as to have fun with our furry four legged friends, late friends, and some ways that I cannot even think about without starting to gag. Point being: these are all things that occur in nature because of what someone’s brain says, and as sick, depraved, and disturbed as these people are, it seems a tad hard to call sex sacred after all this. Still, there are those of us that claim that sex is the test of true love, and that if you are willing to sleep with someone, then you must love them. I will be the representative on behalf of the reasonable side of humanity for a brief moment to call B.S. on this illusion. Sex is a natural release whether it be stress, frustration, or boredom, and every school, prison, and office building is filled with people that can attest to this.
Of course, when you declare your love for someone else, your sex life gains an anchor. You are limited to that person, and it is understandable. It is like doing business with your bank; there are penalties for early withdrawal and depositing in another account. There are certain trade-offs that you are willing to accept when you are in love, but not all sex is love-driven, and definitely all love is not sex-driven.
As much as our human population loves to try and persuade us so, love, marriage, and sex have actually very little in common other than the people who wish to make that very connection. Up until now, the three have been used in various ways and combinations, but I still am unaffected by the countless conclusions people draw about love and how it is shown, but alas, I stand alone. I will continue to search for love, but when I find it, I will not try to restrain love with a diamond ring, or say that the most that it means to me is a night in the sack. I shall let love know that I will always be there, and unlike most businessmen, my word is a lifelong bond between me and my lover.
I am what you would call a night owl, a denizen of the night, a nocturnal walker, but whatever you call me, it all adds up to one thing: I cannot sleep. With so much pent up energy, frustration, aspiration, and only twenty-four hours in the day, I feel unfulfilled. Why am I awake while others drift off in mere minutes? Oh, how I dream of being one of them many who slumber the night away, and dreaming would not be half bad either. I like awake in my bed, rolling around continuously, but my quest to drift off to that land of incredible momentary feats is futile at best, and so I ride the midnight train again.
My eyes cry out for release, but my body has matters other than rest on its mind. It yearns, cries out for a midnight stroll, perhaps along the quiet streets where I, and I alone, will be free to take in that uncontaminated air, free of smog, propane, chimney ashes, and noise. As I think to myself at this late hour, I am overcome by visions of that quaint stroll and realize that I am alone, free to gaze up at the stars and reflect on the utter insignificance of an individual in the black vastness that is space. Alright, so it may sound like I have been spending some time with the lovely Mary Jane, but no. That is my mind at work on any given night.
The realization that you are at last free of all duties opens your mind for business, and like any graveyard shift, the weirdos start to come in. And although I have not smoked anything, I do develop a serious case of the munchies, so off to the kitchen I go. Now, when alone at night, paranoia overwhelms the best of us; we start to think that every little creak or petty squeak in the floorboard is the indication of certain doom. Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ, a burglar has broken into my house to rob me blind and slit my throat, leaving me to die in the hallway. Keep in mind that throughout all of this we forget that aside from the doors and windows being locked, there has been no shattering noises to indicate any mode of entry, but we still know that our imaginary thief is out there, hiding in plain sight.
Having safely made it to the kitchen, it is time to salvage what remnants of meals past are viable sources to quench my ever-growing hunger. What mysterious and bizarre wonders does my refrigerator withhold from me this time? A cup of ice water that no one will finish, that Chinese food that I brought home by some bewildering notion that I would eat it later, and something purple that I can swear is moving all seem like inadequate choices, so I move on to the pantry. Chex Mix… fig newtons… and a half-eaten bag of Lay’s. I have yourself the makings of a grand feast; grand being relative to whatever crap you could get at 1am.So, I eat, and I eat, and I eat. And after having gorged myself on half of my weight in junk food, it is time for bed, but what is the use? I am still so very awake, and the food did not help at all.
Maybe some television will help; after all, what better to make you drowsy than the ramblings of others? But, there before you on the television screen are conspiracy theorists on Fox, made-for-TV porn on Cinemax, re-runs of I Dream of Jeanie on TV Land, and every ten minutes the Emergency Alert System comes on screen following a clip of some school choir singing, which I never understand at all. Well, my mind may not be at ease after all that, but it certainly is numb. Now, to make the trek back upstairs, keeping my eyes peeled for that mass-murderer that is surely following me upstairs, and I fall face-first into my bed. A gaze around the room offers me little solace as I read a book, get a sip of water, eat a piece of chocolate, and after all that, only ten minutes have passed.
I hear the train off in the distance delivering its precious cargo to a far off town while the rain drips outside my window, and I look up. There in the sky is my only companion: the moon. A plane will pass periodically to let me know that others are awake like I at this wee hour, and unlike when you are a child, the planes do not all look like UFOs anymore. As I listen to the pitter-patter of the rain on my window, I find it a catharsis of all that day’s annoyances as though each drop carries one small problem away until they are gone, and my eyes begin to feel heavy. I rest my weary head upon that soft pillow, and it envelopes my face like a shell protecting a pearl. My eyes closed, this night’s adventure ends on a sour note as the though passes by that the next day begins in only a few meager hours.
Infinite darkness; that is what I see. The ever-expanding nothingness lies stretched out before me, and how nothingness expands outward is already too great a mystery, but still I venture deeper within this abyss that surrounds me on all sides in the hopes of finding where I belong. No spark, no fanfare, no grand prologue; from nothingness, all is born. A grand explosion comes from what was once peaceful, and then, it starts like a grand orchestra. A trillion flickering lights like a the light tingling of a chorus of chimes.
The growing applause from the crowd of gases that swirl around this great darkness encourage the act to proceed. With no conductor at the podium, the grand assembly of instruments play freely, yet wildly and loosely across the universe’s great music hall. Asteroid bangs and explosive clangs disturb the once peaceful darkness and a few of the doors start to fly open as people rush for the exits, but exit to where we do not know. After interchanging periods of abrasive clatter, the orchestra has come together as one, and the immense theatre is filled with the soothing sounds of a now peaceful interlude.
Thousands of seats fill this theatre, but mine is there. I see it vividly. Resting just off of the center of the room, not too far from the action, but not out in the dark, back-most rows, my seat is just off center, and that is where I want to stay. Closing down upon my seat, I see it for what it is: a world, my world, Earth. Earth is where I am. This vast landscape stretches around and around a warmhearted core.
For millions and billions of years this cozy little spheroid has been a womb to the most diverse life force in our solar system. Sprang from the depths of the deepest oceans to the peaks of the tallest mountains, each little creature, no matter how small, has been able to pass through an existence unlike any other. From the single-celled organisms that started this enchanting chain reaction, to the ancients that dwell down in the sea, to the dinosaurs that are now buried in the dust of time, to the magnificent acrobats that soar across the sky, life has progressed. Now, we have come to humanity: a species of contradictions, calamity, curiosity, controversy, creativity, cruelty, kindness, craft, and a clever one at that. From the flicker of a flame to marvelous creations capable of traversing the darkness from whence all creation was carved, this upright species has crawl out from the caves of the wildest forests into a new jungle forged from their own hands.
They are a species both amazing and aggravating; for every innovation on how to save life, another is made on how to take it. When one step is taken to preserve their planet of which they profess their adoration, another step is taken back as they find new ways to destroy it. While the Earth that they love spins onward, humans spin on their own a web of lies, deceit, greed, gluttony, and undeserving pride piggybacked from the great achievements of those long since past. Where is this humanity’s great hope, their grand master plan, their contribution to the rest of their species? We can only hope to find it in the future, make it the near future as the planet struggles to fight back. It is now up to humanity to prove that it can save its place in this ever-expanding existence, to prove that it is not just a failed genetic experiment in the lab of the universe.
Others have cut out early to hope and avoid seeing the planet’s supposed inevitable fate, but I refuse to leave. I refuse to move out of this life until I see that my job has been done to do what I can to help this species succeed. Others have long since joined this movement to see this glorious blue marble across the dark twilight sky, and many more will join as we move along in the never-ending expanse that is the universe, perhaps even those that have not even seen this world as of yet. After all, if it is one thing we have learned from our time upon this old seat as the orchestra plays its divine tune, it is this… We are not alone.
When someone asks you at a table to try a bite of what they have ordered, take them up on that offer. We are lucky to be able to use that sense that makes us realize what can be accomplished with tools from ones own kitchen and the hands we were born with. Food has been around for generations, and although the tops fashion designs would lead you to believe otherwise, it is necessary. From the subtle and gentle peck of a pear, to the intense and exhilarating pleasure pain of having bitten into a ghost chili, there is an infinite world of tastes that await us in each corner of the globe. That is the surprise that is hidden in plain sight; that every spot on the planet has unique flavors.
In the bitter cold arctic or on a blistering hot safari, even if you do not immediately see the cuisine laid out before you, you can find it. You can find it under the sea, and underground, and it the sky, and in the darkest corner of the deepest caverns. Now, people can claim to have experienced true sauteed satisfaction from a microwavable dinner, but those people are wrong and should be ignored. To truly get a taste of a culture, one must immerse themselves in that culture. Now, I understand that not everyone has 80 or 100 dollars to spend on a single meal.
Hell, I do not either. But, do not make the mistake of calling french toast French cuisine or a California roll created in the heart of Japan. Do understand that a place that serves Chinese food or Mexican food or Thai food, may not serve Chinese cuisine, Mexican cuisine, or Thai cuisine. Other cultures do not normally bother with the overwhelming lists of preservatives that we as Americans feast upon while questioning what they are or even how you pronounce them. Taco Bell is Mexican-“inspired” grub, while Nuevo Mexico or Casa Grande is Mexican food, while a place called the Maya might be the closest to real Mexican cuisine without you actually preparing your passport to eat lunch across the border.
Even in our own American backyards, we have a wealth of wildlife that lurks in the brush, and that brush alone may contain hidden treasures from cranberries to crocodiles and from sea cucumber to saffron, it is all used in our foods and is coveted by those that find it. Through cleansing rituals both bizarre and horrifying our daily consumption goes from perspiration to preparation and from refrigeration to regurgitation. The kitchen alone is a dance is a house of horrors filled with sorrow, agony, frustration, and anger, and now, remember that it is filled with sharp objects that could be classified as light weaponry. Remember that the next time you send your eggs and bacon back because it “looked weird.” Through all the sweat and tears, the kitchen is more a place of majesty that endures more than its share of drama and steaming, hot romances over the food that is prepared by the passionate chefs that inhabit these cramped sweat-boxes.
Once it is all over with, the clumsy journey from behind the kitchen door begins, scooting along past crying children, demented parents and their parents, inconsiderate couples, nagging aunts, and troublesome toddlers. The dish arrives safe and sound at your table just as a tray of empty plates shatter in the background against the slippery floor below, and you dig in. Each bite is a sizzling sensation to your taste buds as each receptor in your tongue sends back messages to your brain to brag to the rest of your body of this magnificence. A spoonful here, a handful there, a slurp and a sip and a dab and a bit and a bite and a taste and a tad and a suck and a smidgen and you are though. You lay back as the waitress takes away your plate and you converse about your day, not once even having pondered about the thousands of millions of steps that were involved before that food made it to your mouth.
Was it cooked right? Was it lying frozen for ages in a freezer in Detroit? Did that cow have a mad disease? Dear God Almighty, did the chef wash his hands after using the washroom? Who know? Who cares? Certainly not you. You are a busy adult, and after paying, out the door you go, never once questioning the before. All that matters is now.
Imagination: a mythical space, infinitely expanding within our minds, where creation is the norm and destruction an impossibility. Where one’s deepest emotions and experiences are relived in deeper hues and brighter shades, dreams are born like stars from nothingness, and where each path in life is shown like a theatre where each spacious room contains a different tale of adventure and romance. It is estimated that imagination was invented around 10,000 B.C. when the hunter-gatherer craze was starting to die down and the strange Homo sapien species needed to discover the next big fad, lest they allow what was going to be civilization fall. Nowadays, human society is strongly positioned against any form of thought and will do all that it can to avoid engaging in that “oh so painful” process. I am one of the few who still like to spend those free moments of each day thinking up images of the impossible, whether it be Teddy Roosevelt boxing a tree, a sack of money robbing a bank of all its people, or even something as simple as a delicious meal of gold eggs and ruby and topaz encrusted bacon.
Though, between the thoughts of sights both bizarre and baffling, I cannot help but think of how some children will never use their imaginations, due to a sheltered life torn betwixt a television screen and a computer screen. To be deprived of your very own world of magic for a god-like figure’s fear of their creations being called dreamers is a fate worse than that of being held prisoner, fore at least in jail you have your mind to keep you busy, but when your mind is the prisoner, what do you have? Sure, reading a book, you are reading the exploits of one other human in their own imagination, but you require yours to see the images. With television and video games, all you need are your thumbs, thus, dogs are among those spared from the fate of vegetation sprouting up from their seat cushions. Fortunately, not all of humanity is victim to this debilitating disease, and thankfully, I have one of the golden tickets.
I cannot guarantee that the total sum of our species can experience a day in a paradise dream and feel that same enjoyment that the rest of us do from visiting it or even cruising along its coasts, but I can only offer instructions, as homework would sound like it defies the purpose: brew up a cup of herbal tea without caffeine, sugar, or any other pick-me-ups, lay in a hammock, and close your eyes. Do not chase the world with your wandering pupils, but instead, let it come to you. Let it coil up around you like a snake; slowly taking you over until you cannot escape, and then, let yourself become immersed within it. You will thank yourself later. Just… pick a day when it is not scheduled to rain.