The Life of a Foolish Person
She was walking down a side street, the street lamps lit up objects from different angles, showing features unseen in the day, such as a pile of commercial waste concealing the non-commercial waste within, or a urine stain concealing an older urine stain within. Out of the waste soaked shadows jumped a man with their hand in their pocket holding something and a look on their face. He then pulled out a phone from his pocket and screamed that she should take the phone from him. But it was too late, she was already halfway through swinging her leg squarely at his crotch, while she made every effort to decelerate on realising her error, her prejudiced and sociologically problematic momentum continued into his crotch. After full contact was made, the phone flung out of his hands, the phone, still carrying the momentum of prejudice, rammed corner first into the bridge of her nose. They both fall on the floor in semi-consciousness, they lie side by side in an advertisement for the thrilling benefits of misunderstanding.
The Wrong Way
For weeks, she had seen everything around her sucked and drained and dry, and it was all drowning her in its thick and full, and wet tedium, and sometimes she would literally gasp for air as it felt so thin and empty, it would fill her with thick, empty, wet, dry, air, water, liquid, gas. She was slumped on the kitchen floor, pressed against the wall, trying to sink into the earth. A tear came out of her eye and as she wiped it she dislodged a piece of salt, and she realised that this whole time that she was mistaken, she has in fact been very happy and content, and she got up from the ground and washed the dishes chuckling at how silly she was to think she was acutely depressed for 3 months.
She was on a high speed train between Birmingham and Milton Keynes, about half an hour in, after introducing herself to the same revenue protection officer for the 4th time, she noticed that the train was momentarily absolutely terrified, the train realised that it was going really fast and started to panic about whether it would hit a stray cow or ox and then the cow or ox would be thrown clear up onto some power lines, gently cooking the cow or ox with british standard transmission voltage, a combination of wind shear forces start to slice pieces of cooked cow or ox off the power line carcasses, still intermittently mooing, the cow or ox meat cuts would rain gracefully down onto a children's sports day being held on the playing fields below, the children stop their activities and eagerly open up their mouths, allowing the moist and tender cow or ox meat to slide down their throats, the positive PR from the accidental children's meat picnic more or less cancelling out the grief of 245 dead train passengers, she stood up on her chair as she felt the train's horror at the possibility of this, a slight shudder in the wheels, the track straightens up, the train seemed to sigh and relax, she sighed as well, sitting back down in her seat, shouting for a cranberry juice in between guffaws of laughter.
As she slowly processed her way through the hundreds of commuters streaming through the train station, her eye caught a meticulous looking woman wiping her brow with a handkerchief, as she watched this meticulous woman wiping she suddenly mentally flicked through every time in her life in which she snapped a ruler in two. It was the only time she had ever been able to travel through her entire life's memory in such vivid and clear detail. She then said out loud to herself "I guess that's the only true measure of my life", she then smiled in a disgustingly smug way before walking out of the station, the meticulous woman, still in the station, now had rubbed her brow to the point of bleeding abrasions.
She was with an elder friend in a café built out of vintage bathroom catalogues, her elder friend said "I'm not scared of dying, I'm scared of getting old and useless", she then gestured a chopping motion, the elder friend's hand gestures were always lagging exactly 23 seconds behind her words, which made her work as a surgeon somewhat challenging.
On her way home through a country road she enjoyed, a challenging section of road that curved and dipped many times, she liked it because it was the only part of her journey home where she didn't obsess over everything that had happened in the day, she thought this while driving through this section, and every time she then drove through the section she would think this. Until she then only ever spent the time on the country road obsessing over how she doesn't obsess, until she stopped enjoying that section of road. She then proceeded to swerve her car into a ditch on a daily basis in frustration and will have trouble renewing her insurance.
She had been watching sitcoms on the television screen over her shoulder for 2 hours. Knowing that because of her awkward position any movement would now result in painful neck spasms, she noted the fundamental difference between real life and sitcoms. The fundamental difference being the total lack of incidental use of moisturiser, all moisturisers in sitcoms are fundamental to the plot, she laughed at this discovery but didn't laugh because it would result in painful neck spasms.
She pressed the building intercom buzzer, rubbing her hands in the crisp and cold air. When her friend picked up and asked who it was, she stood there and didn't reply, enjoying the brief moment in which she existed as nothing to no-one, or everything to any-one. As she spent the evening with her friend though, she couldn't get the thought out of her head that of everything she could have been in that brief moment she could have worked at a call centre, she could have worked at a call centre. She kicked her friend's bin over at least 3 times that night.
She got home at 3 am, she stepped into her living room in her boots, her thick heels stabbing loudly at the wood floor, she then realised she didn't want to disturb the neighbour below, so she spent the rest of the time lightly tiptoeing with her shoes off, she had to rearrange some furniture for someone visiting the next morning and she did it delicately and slowly so she wouldn't disturb her neighbour. She realised she had no milk so she stepped out to the shop to get some, on her way back she noticed her neighbour wasn't in that night. However, the presence of the neighbour that she had built up all night still pervaded, she was unsure of what to do with this residual neighbourly presence, she then broke into her neighbour's flat and held the neighbour's presence's head underwater until they drowned.
She saw a baby sitting in a buggy in the park, the sun bright but gentle, the child swinging their legs happily. The baby held a plastic toy of some colour, she watched the baby and she was circling the drain that led to a good emotion, but just as she was on the precipice she saw the child flail their arm in a way that suddenly gave her a dose of all the petty torture humanity has ever inflicted on each other up to and including poor vending machine maintenance. At this point, she had been compelled to thrice spit at a passing duck out of disgust at the child, in despair at humanity and at envy for the duck's quacking ignorance.
She was writing an essay on the history of Canadian railways. As she wrote every sentence she wondered "What if Canada doesn't exist anymore?" Until her text was comprised entirely of question marks.
While browsing new storage cabinets in a department store, she pressed against a cabinet door that had to be clicked inwards in order to open outwards, and as she got lost in the rhythm of the magnetic mechanism she suddenly understood what the meaning of war was, and she was at peace. She only ended up buying a 12 pack of frosted glass tumblers.
She caught a glimpse of a violin resting by a residence’s window, she started to play a violin in her head, it was severely out of tune. She started to tune it and finally managed to get it sounding alright, but then the bow snapped in her head and she couldn't find a replacement. So she reached in the crack in the window and took the bow from the house.
She was beneath the flight path of an airport, and in the dark sky she saw the flashing lights on the underbellies of the planes, seemingly flash brighter than they should be. She thought about people on the other side of the world who may only know things that she doesn't, and she wondered if she should abandon language, culture and all that divides people and devote her entire personality and essence to varying rates of nodding her head.
She walked through a charity shop, the loud radio threw out a 12 minute reading of car insurance advert's terms and conditions. She scanned blankly across the myriad tchotchkes of different colours books stacked at all angles were glasses and vessels scattered around shelves of different materials surrounding a human face which sat on a chair. At first sight, she saw the human face as another product on the shelf and gazed at it in a glazed stupor. The face lay motionless but eventually she realised the human face was that of a man sitting on a chair stiffly amongst the shop shelves, not someone working there, just sitting still, she began to wonder what would drive someone to find solace in sitting silently by a charity shop shelf, but before developing any ideas, she stared at him until she glazed over again and noted he did not have a price tag.
Within a supermarket she flowed through the aisles, bouncing off of other shoppers without stopping. After a while she snapped her sight between the faces of others, which blurred into a single shopping face, she noticed the movement of others all at a single shopping pace. She grew more possibly certain that in the grid of shopping aisles, you could suddenly be someone else's consciousness and someone else's consciousness could be yours and no-one would be aware. When she realised this, everyone shopping seemed to just seize for a second, and suddenly she felt the need to buy enough toilet paper to drown a child.
Her head propped against the legible glowing logo above an ATM, she heard the ticking of the machine as it flipped the paper that would soon authorise her to remove goods from various premises in the eyes of the law. Suddenly she heard a noise from right behind her and quickly threw a glance beneath her armpit, it was only a can rolling in the wind. She followed the isolated squirt of adrenaline as it slowly faded in her abdomen, and tugged the paper out of the machine. When she got to her building, she climbed a drain pipe that led to her balcony, threw all of her razors and toiletries in the bin and growled as she carved bank logos into her furniture.
She crept further and further forward into her desk until it was leaving a rectangular imprint on her ribs, as she bumped against the desk a pen near the edge suddenly rolled off, yet she caught it almost immediately. She sat impressed at her reflexes, considering the percentile of the population that would catch it as fast, wondering if other people could possibly smell her fast reflexes in her pheromones and react accordingly. As she sniffed herself, the chair and then table collapsed in tragic syncopation, forcing her to fold around the desk as it fell, she sat on the floor folded around the desk to a degree that only 0.06% of the population had ever managed.
She would vacate her body, and allow their younger child self to inhabit it for a few moments, the child would look at where she was, the view outside their window, comforted by familiar things like the trees swaying under street lights, the smell of rain in the air, a cat hurrying along a wall. The child leaves her body feeling nostalgia for the future, she feels that linger when she returns to her adult body. However she also momentarily loses the ability to control her bowels and shits herself. Childhood is a double-edged sword I suppose.
She sat at a train platform staring directly at the raw concrete walls across the tracks and saw it as concrete as the word and its meaning. But her enjoyment of the day had seeped into the concrete and now she saw the concrete as the word beauty and its meaning, she was struggling to understand the world around her in anything but the meanings of words, she saw 'Stratford International' as the word meaning and it's beauty and its meaning as beauty as the meaning of as and it's adjacency to major shopping destinations, until she punched a nearby fire alarm and opened her arms to reprimands from station staff and security. She stared at the slightly untucked part of a shirt of a member of station staff and was unable to understand it using words, she sighed in relief and slowly walked away from the staff, aware that any physical intervention from the staff could be considered assault.
She had trouble sleeping, too many thoughts and voices and images running through her head, so she decided to sit at her desk and put her fingers on her keyboard and try and write. She had total writers block, and her head was finally perfectly clear. She slept for 17 hours after that.
She drifted in the pool, feeling her body tugged by the stretching and squeezing of the water, she cast her mind back to her first swimming lessons where she would thrash her legs wildly yet not move at all. She tried to kick her legs as she did as a child, and shot across the surface of the pool at well over 20 miles an hour, skidded across the transition ledge and across the marble floor of the hotel lobby, before collecting 3 tables in the lobby restaurant. As she lay entangled in the tired looking restaurant furniture she cast her mind back to her first stay in a hotel and her first buffet meal in the restaurant. She remembered how she used to try and pack as much food as possible on her plate, often stacking food one fist high, but always ending up spilling it and getting told off by their dad (and secretly being congratulated by their thrifty mum right after), she pushed the broken tables off of her and went to the buffet and managed to stack about half a metre tall column of food on her plate without any of it falling off. That night, while planning a mini-golf tour of the city, she had a horribly upset stomach and had to rush to her hotel toilet, reminiscing the day's buffet through her bowels, she remembered her time as a university student, constantly constipated due to her diet of noodles on garlic bread, causing her to always take ages in the bathroom. As she remembered back to those days, she proceeded to expel herself in about 3 seconds, and the thrust of it all caused her to hover up and hit her head on the low 2 star hotel ceiling. She felt mildly dizzy and decided to lie down to rest, in her concussed dreams, she remembered her concussion dreams from her childhood, after she would often smack her head on things attempting wheelies on her scooter, she would go lie down and sleep, and dream of simple shapes and colours. Her concussion dream wasn't like her childhood though, her dream was even simpler, a single white line on black, and a whining binary tone. She woke up 3 days later, having to check out from the hotel, her holiday finished. Her mind was so jolted it took her 2 hours to find the exit to the hotel.
She walked past a motorbike dealership, her thighs tensing as she imagined riding a blur between traffic. She went in and looked at the leather suits, deciding which one would look best on her corpse, which colours and shapes work best with inverted limbs and rubbed off flesh. She ended up buying the leathers and not the bike, because she thought the best looking corpse is one that isn't dead.
She missed a deadline, and wondered if her life had a deadline, she would probably miss that as well.