Tornadoes, Fatigue, and Self-Reflection


The feeling is such of the heart as a fractured battery, as if I were some toy robot imbued with sentience, and then even more cruelly, sapience, just as he’d been dropped, jarring a fracture across his lithium power source.  My chest feels thick, feels filled.  This is not the normal sense of being only somewhat aware of having insides inside, but being acutely aware of them and of how warm they are.  This is the third time in two weeks I’ve given myself heat exhaustion.

The heat won’t last.  Some gallons of water, juice, milk, fruit, and greens later, my feverishness has subsided.  Likewise, the sky has greyed.  It seems a notable number of afternoons I’ve spent writing in cafes this summer has been under the auspice of a tornado watch.  I don’t mind.  Potential apocalypses don’t diminish my sense of peace.  Call me an optimist.

Tonight, Mary is dragging me to see someone called Shine Delphi at a local art/food/alcohol place.  I’ve never heard of him before.  Maybe he won’t be terrible.  I think I lost most of my taste for live music when I stopped getting in for free, since I stopped being included backstage.  Growing up as the son of a music manager I got a great deal of exposure to the performance side of things. Now that I’m relegated to the audience side, the partition feels artificial and unnecessary.  I also have to drink near my weight in alcohol to make crowds tolerable and that gets expensive.  At least they’re good drinks.

Everything feels heavy.  My heart, my insides, this not in a metaphorical sense.  I don’t mean to say I’m sad.  It is more that I’ve become an octogenarian overnight or awoken on another planet, one with higher gravity, greater mass.  I’ve lost that sense that I’m surrounded by fragile things.  I didn’t think I’d miss it, the sense of being indelicate, the worry of breaking everything I touch, but the alternative is to be impotent, to be incapable of affecting any change at all.

The sense will pass.  Buried in thought, in text, the physical will be forgotten like an itch and it will heal while out of thought and when I think on it again, either tomorrow after sleep or tonight after drink, that physical arrogance will return and I will no longer be afraid of impermanence.  That life could exist without me will return to maudlin fantasy and I’ll go back to my satisfied solipsistic viewpoint.

* I had a very similar model of robot to the one in the picture when I was a child.  My father's uncle, noticing my attention fixed on the cardboard crate of boxes and the clear, painted figures depicted in repetition across the stack of decades old toy boxes, had given me two from the crate in one of his warehouses, the contianers holding them mildewed and dry rotted to suggestions of cubes, the contents held together through intermixing of ink and groundwater, melted adhesive, and gravity. Opening one of the boxes seemed like exhuming a coffin.  The tissue paper that had surrounded the robot had turned red with rust and smelled of sulfur from the exploded batteries inside.  I carefully dissected the layers of film to get to the robot itself, wincing each time a piece of paint came off with the wrapping.  After a time I had the robot out, but his chest wouldn't open, the betters had made an acrid sludge which stuck the shutters containing the batteries and the forty year old light works.  Prying and prying, eventually the right door snapped, the chest cavity popping open and the batteries, themselves wrapped in bloody tissue paper and yellowed acetate lobbed out onto my foot.  I tried to put the door back in place, assuring myself that if I lined it up the way it had been the robot wouldn't be broken.  The door wouldn't stay on, it wouldn't even sit in place if I titled the robot back to lean against a wall.
I kept it, door held in place with sticky tac, battery-less, next to the other which I left in the box, afraid to open, until it leaked a red stain onto my table and my mother made me throw both away.