The Third Third

My Mind's Miasma


This is a confession.

The thoughts run constantly, as if a rocky stream of consciousness were absolutely normal 24 hours a day.  Sleep provides respite, and perhaps, I hope, a re-booting of the brain, but I’m not sure, because sleep must be induced by nocturnal habits and a pill.  And even then, the voice is talking – brush your teeth, yes, first, you always brush your teeth first, and then wash your face, where’s the headband there it is, and are you wearing moisturizer tonight, of course, but should you use, should you have bought the high priced skin rejuvenator or whatever, and do you use it every night or day and night and how long do you think it will last and would you ever buy it again would they call it economizing to use it only at night, would it work, say every other day, what kind of woman buys so expensive a cream when you know, ultimately, you cannot keep the vestiges of age at bay and it only “reduces the appearance of” whatever it is you’re hiding, and in fact, you’re not hiding anything, though you did think the skin looked smoother, the pores somewhat invisible, and why are you washing your face before you take off the boot on your leg, it’s easier somehow and OK to do it whenever, best when you’re not going to feel so bad about the foot and its future which is fragile, grim, uncertain, gross, maddening, but maybe, once the sprained ankle heals there will be something more, are you going to try yet another doctor? we can do for it because, obviously we haven’t accepted what that one doc called the deformity and, more damning, or is it damnable? the limitations the foot now imposes.  No you shouldn’t have tried cross-country skiing, but you really wanted to be able to and thus willed it to be so and then lost your nerve and fell and, well, so you don’t mind being clumsy but you do mind very much being crippled and having your life and activities crippled by such a relatively small but insistent thing. Don’t dwell on it, in the scheme of things, it’s very small and you are very fortunate, now get to bed, relax, start on your right side, then switch to the left, get your arms just right, punch the pillow up under your head and hope sleep comes, but should you interrupt the process to write down that thought you just had, the one about all these thoughts, both that perhaps if you wrote them down they would stop circling through your head driving you crazy which is, actually, what you fear most, and envisioning the you that is you and not all this chatter, as if having raced to a train station, late as usual, looking out the huge, grimy windows you associate with grand old train stations, over the yard through which all the trains pass, some faster, some slow, some stopped and wondering which is yours, which you should jump on and ride, not sure where, but away from all the noise that is the other trains, the other trains of thought, nice metaphor you think, and you should write it down because you might forget by morning, but if you rewind it, think through the visual again, you will remember, you will, one more time, OK, you will, and if you don’t, no biggie, unless, of course, that image is a key to understanding what is going on with you, moreso, perhaps than understanding that your thoughts are constantly interrupted such that, when you go into the laundry room for something, by the time you get there, a mere dozen or so steps away, you cannot remember what it is you’re there for, because your mind has moved on to other things, erasing, it seems, the initial thought, not erasing, just burying it so that you have to stop, and  think intentionally to dig it out, oh yes, it was the meat for dinner tonight that you need from the freezer, and flooded with relief and no small sense of accomplishment, you return to the kitchen, frozen packet in hand, place it out of the reach of the dog who prowls the countertops, Irwin calls it “surfing,” but you couldn’t think of the word right then or until now, and curse the dog, silently, again, for living in your well-ordered house and bringing disorder, and dis-odor, to it, tho you wish you were a person, and you are clearly trying to be that person who loves dogs or who can, at least accommodate them without being hateful and you are doing that tho it extracts a toll and sometimes you resent it, both the toll it takes and the dog’s place on your turf and the fact that she smells again and can’t be stopped from smelling your crotch and the crotches of everyone who enters your house. Your house. Ha.  There comes from the distance, the long, low whistle of a new train, and you look up expectantly: perhaps this is the one, but it doesn’t even stop to give you the chance to step on, it’s not part of your journey, which, as Rabbi Stern said in his TED talk, is too,too,too much an overused cliché, and you shrug, there will be others, but in the meantime there is this miasma, these relentless thoughts, far too many of them negative and critical, which crowd out joy and creativity, and why, that’s what you’d like to know, why?

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