The Return

June 21, 2010.  It seems like a date that never should have happened.  Some science fiction land where the aliens have landed to meet with the robot overlords on the nuclear-charred wastes that once were home to the human race.  While our current dystopia is wildly different than those imagined by Arthur C. Heinlein K. Dick, et al, it seems as good a time as ever, even at this late hour, to write once more.

The story of my world, this corner of planet Earth, just outside Washington D.C. continues to be one of absolute insanity.  The populace seems to be barely holding back their personal Deepwater Horizons of madness, rage, and sadness.  In fairness, that could be me projecting.  I continue to live in a truly ironic fashion, penniless yet owning no end of treasures.  Lonely but less physically alone I as a sapient being have ever been.  So it should come as no surprise that I was watching stand-up comedy when the panic struck.

Allow me to rewind the clocks to earlier in the day.  My life of quiet contemplation mixed with brief interruptions of gunfire from video games continued this day much as it had the prior.  I was playing a game, (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic if you must know) for the umpteenth time, having just created a character,  I saddled him with a horribly offensive name as that is the only way I can be evil in a video game, to create something so obviously not myself that I have no problem acting like the violent, impulsive cockend that defines the bad guy end of the Manichean morality systems that have been in vogue for oh so long.

Then the phone rang.  Rather, it buzzed with an odd sort of swooping sound, denoting receipt of a text message.  I was glad to receive it, as it had been sent by one of my very favorite people in the world.  I never got text messages often; I don’t know why I do now.  It strikes me as positive momentum, though.  Perhaps soon I’ll be a real boy.  The message was short and sweet, and I do emphasize sweet.  I was oddly touched by it, enough for the sudden uptick in my opinion of humanity to cause Double Hitler (my intrepid dark Jedi) to be nice to approximately three people before the force-choking of adorable animals began anew.  June 21, 2010 continued its unremarkable trajectory.

Several hours later, possibly, time gets fuzzy when you’re building a megalomaniac, I receive another message.  My great friend would be visiting!  Visiting soon no less!  In a week or two, they would be here! In my world!  Not their world, which to me always strikes me as far more appealing, and indeed I am far more appealing when I exit the orbit of this one to visit the other.  The reality didn’t sink in at first.  In fact I’m reasonably certain I committed at least ten more digital atrocities before it struck me.

I am not only uncomfortable in my world, I am embarrassed by it.

I sit, typing this in a room that has, over the course of twelve years, been engineered specifically to distract me from the fact that I have spent the majority of my life in the same room.  A room, which I must add, that is roughly 100 meters from the previous room I occupied, for the prior five years.  And an equal distance from the room that I first occupied, when I burst screaming into the world on August 24, 1987.

Spend twelve years in any one place and it will begin to reflect certain details of one’s life that you would rather leave behind you.  There is an inconceivable amount of garbage that has accrued in the dresser drawers, spaces behind and under objects, and closet space over the course of the occupation.  To remove it all would be impossible under present circumstances.  Indeed, objects exist in these areas that predate my own existence.  There are marks on the ceiling telling the tales of when I discovered that a pool cue for an overpriced games table I once owned could quite easily make small craters in the drywall.  Uneven paint shows where a large NASA sticker once covered a portion of the door for far too long, being possessed of some hell-adhesive that anchored it long past the point of novelty’s failure.  Most embarrassingly, a carpet stained with substances ranging from the bright pink remnants of spilled strawberry milk as a much younger creature, the not-quite-erased spot where 32 oz. of vodka and bourbon were jettisoned by my body.  Bits of snot that I concluded belonged on the walls, floor, or carpet for preservation through the aeons of the world.

Twelve years has shown a clear portrait of a messy tornado of a human who is obsessed with shiny things, and not terribly worried about being an unhygienic mess.  The results of my anthropological study prove stunningly accurate.

Yet twelve years is a long time by anyone’s count.  Has my carefully constructed world become a prison of my own design?  What will my friend think when they leave the fresh, polished world of the promised land behind to visit the wasteland?  She is far too nice to cast her judgment publicly.  Still, what sort of adult would continue to exist in this place?  Can I even allow her to see it?  Just how much can I clean this hellhole up before she arrives?  Will the strawberry milk stains finally come out?  Have I finally turned pro?

At 11:30 PM, on June 21, 2010, I turned over in my bed as I attempted sleep, tormented by the questions that now flooded my mind.

“Fuck.” I muttered aloud.

And then I wrote it down.  Welcome back Andrew.  This is the story of your life.

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