Monday, May 07, 2007

Life and death as a Sitcom.

Life and death as a Sitcom.
Molecat Jumaway

“Do you watch…?” I heard the words as I drifted off, or was I asleep already and hearing the words, interpreting them into my dreams? I woke up feeling odd, as though something had happened the previous night, though nothing did. I read for a while, closed the book with a sigh, took my glasses off and put them on top of the book by my bed, turned off the light and went to sleep. That was it nadda else, not a zip of a thought, nothing. Just sleep.
The day went by; probably much the same as everyone else’s day. Everyone’s job means a lot to someone else from anywhere between five seconds and two hours. Fixing a light, someone has light, answering a call, someone can ask a question. Selling a bike, someone has a bike. Roadwork, someone can drive unhindered. Anywhere from five seconds onwards you’re appreciated at one time during the day. You don’t know it, you don’t really care, you’re doing it for the money, because you have to.
Television, small dinner, more television and then to bed and read. We work to make money so that we can live. We can’t wait to get the work part over so we can continue living. We then fill those moments that we slave and toil for with fleeting events that mean nothing. It’s boring, it is as though we have faked life, made an existence for existence itself.
My eyes fluttered closed for the journey into the eight hour hibernation. The room was dark and I was slowly ending my boring day by doing more nothing only not being conscious of it.
“Did you see….?” Was that a whisper, a voice? What the hell was that? I was asleep though and the moment flickered by without even a second glance.
I woke up with the crisp morning sun of a winters day shining through my window. I bundled myself off to the shower, dressed, ate toast, drank coffee, checked that I had not forgotten anything, wallet, keys, blah, blah, blah. Off to work I went. As automatic as it comes, I wondered whether I could get someone to trail me for a few days with a stopwatch. Time each motion and compare it to before, would there be a second’s difference? I won’t explain my work in much detail, ring, ring, hello? Ring, ring, hello? Just imagine your job and add more phones. It doesn’t matter, it is only an income. It takes up a third of my day but means nothing else but a way to keep myself nourished so I can do nothing the rest of the time. If aliens watched Earth from space would they observe all the intricate rushing parts and wonder in a little alien voice. ”But what does it do?”
Television, dinner, television, bed, book, lights off. I’m not even aware of it. It’s like I’ve manufactured some kind of clever mundane prison for myself. I was not even prepared to take notice when the lights were off and the voice came again just before I dropped off to sleep. I would wake up with the knowledge that the only thing that was remarkable about my life was that I’d started to dream about television shows. That is not an ounce of bloody remarkable. It’s not even an odd occurrence. Of course I bloody dream of television shows, it’s what I fill all my free time with. I’m saying this now, mind you. At the time I just shrugged and thought it odd.
You don’t really need to know the rest of it. Shower, blah, blah, blah, work, blah, blah. I would get home from work and not even remember what I did for those eight hours. You’d think that something would make a difference; you’d think that one thing in the day would stick out of place. Nothing, dull and dull, so much so that one-day can not be determined from another. Television, dinner, television, bed and book. I could not even tell you what I had for dinner, what I watched on television. You’d think I would be able to say what I was reading. Why read words if you’re not going to remember them?
I put the book down, my eyes were getting heavy, I took my glasses off and put them on top of the book. This was no different to any other night and I wonder now whether my eyes grew heavy at the exact same time? Did I turn off the light at the exact same time?
“Did you watch…?”
“What the fuck was that?” I exclaimed. It had caught me a moment before I was going to sleep and I was very conscious of it this time. Before it was something that happened as a slipped off. Was it a second earlier or was I going to sleep this time a second later. It did not really matter, what mattered was that I was completely conscious of it. I had the light back on, I was sitting up in my bed and looking around my room. Nothing was there, not a skerrick. Maybe I was imaging it? I had not realised but this was the first moment out of synchronisation with my other days for a very, very long time.
I finally went to sleep, woke up the same, it felt like my dreams were television shows, reruns of television shows. The only difference to this day was that I actually could recall the day. I was not on auto pilot. I was doing the same thing as I had done each and every other day but I had to make a conscious effort of it. I came home and remembered my whole day. I came home and did not turn on the television. I could not be bothered cooking, too much was on my mind so I went to a small café around the corner and ate. When I say too much was on my mind, nothing really was on my mind, the difference was that I was thinking, pondering. It was like waking up a sleeping engine and I don’t think I was handling it very well. I came home from the café and just sat on my couch, thinking. The television remained silent. Just me with my thoughts.
I went to bed, I did not pick up a book, I went to bed later than any other day previously. I went to bed and what had happened the night before suddenly occurred to me. I turned off the light and lay there, staring at the opposite wall. Was anything going to happen?
“Did you see East…?” I switched on the light, nothing.
My life was still rather of the clockwork type. The difference is that I was slowly becoming aware of this. It sat out like a sore thumb. “Wow, is this my life? How can my life be like this and I not notice?”
Though I still followed the same procedures. This day though I was quite sure something happened the night before, I heard something in my room and it buzzed around my head.
I lay there in bed with my glasses off and the light off. I would not go for the light switch this time and I would try to wake myself if I heard anything. My eyes flickered closed. It looked like I would be disappointed but then out of nowhere came the voice. I did not reach for the light, I made no sudden moves, I just made sure that I was going to stay awake.
“Did you see Eastenders tonight?” Came the voice, rather croaky and solemn. A guys voice, well rounded but also a little gruff. Find the harshest miner that you can, grab his son and put him through Oxford, you’ll have a close comparison.
“That Margery, she is a lark ain’t she. I don’t trust her husband though, I think he’s heading for a bad end….”
I called in sick the next day. I think it was the first time in ten years that I actually called in sick. Even with a cold I usually get up, shower, breakfast and go to work. It usually never occurs to me that I even have that special power. Full time job, call in sick. You can do it, so I did.
I’d been up all night, well I was laying flat but awake so up is more appropriate than down. I’d been awake all night listening to this voice prattle on endlessly about various sitcoms. I dared not say anything or move suddenly because I did not want to scare him away. I could not believe it, I would have thought I were dreaming if it was not for the complete lack of sleep. Maybe I was dreaming that I was awake though. It is a rare occurrence that you dream of being asleep. Oh, wouldn’t Jesus or Buddha love that, last night I dreamt of being a man like me, asleep and dreaming of a man like me who dreamt of a dream of simular proportions, a man who was dreaming of being a butterfly. Get fucked, doesn’t happen.
I could have been dreaming though, if I had been it was one exhausting dream. You would think an exhausting dream would be of bikini clad girls who doubled as milking machines and not some boring guy talking about Sitcoms. It wasn’t even homoerotic, it was just some shadowy figure talking about sitcoms. If that was a dream then I should ring the Guinness book of records because I am truly the most boring guy on the planet. If it wasn’t a dream then I just met the most boring guy on the planet.
So I rung in sick, first time for years. Must have been bad, I’m never sick. Yeah, so bad I don’t think I’m going to the doctor, just stay in bed. I was to my word though, stayed in bed all day wondering whether I could replicate the instance. I fell asleep many a time, nothing. Did not dream it, did not happen, nothing about Sitcoms. On the plus side those bikini clad girls were there.
Night crawled over and as the room darkened I found that this was probably my best opportunity. I felt my eyes flutter closed a bit. When you are in bed all day as some of you lazy bastards know, you slip in and out of sleep..
“Did you see Neighbours today?” It was happening. The shadowy figure in the corner, perched on my little chest of draws about to prattle on endlessly about television shows. I did not expect myself to do what I did but he asked a question so I answered.
“No, I was waiting all day for you.” Was my answer and I was half expecting him to flee.
“I can only come out at night.” Was what he said, “Your eyes flutter and we appear. You would not believe what happened to Harold though. The poor man, hasn’t he been through enough. He is a wonderful actor, has his own fan club don’t you know. Is the longest running member of the show, don’t you know…?” And on and on went the ghost, not even a pause. I watched him from my bed, even slowly sat up and watched him rattle on. He did not disappear, he did not flinch. He moved through all the shows one by one and talked endlessly.
“You know you are the most boring person I have come across.” I finally said to the thing perched in the shadows of the corner of my room.
“I am not a person which makes me not as boring as you.” He replied. He did not seem muffed by my condescension at all.
“If you are not a person then what are you?”
“I was a person, not anymore.”
“A ghost?”
“You could call me a ghost.”
“Why do you sit in my corner and talk about T.V?”
“What else is there?”
“Plenty of things I guess?” I said. “You’re a ghost, you could do anything.”
“It’s all boring.” Said the ghost in reply.
“What? Can’t you walk through walls, can’t you see things that no other person can see?”
“Yeap and it’s all excruciatingly lame. Being dead is not fun, hell would be funner than this.”
“Why?” I asked. I was seriously interested, I’ve never met anyone in the afterlife before this. It was a great opportunity to learn and broaden my horizons.
“When you’re dead you know all, you see all. Everything is expected, everything is known, it’s drab, plain, it means nothing, nothing at all.”
“Surely there are other things, things that you could explore?”
“Nope, nothing at all. It’s a fucking tiresome shit of a thing. If I were not dead I’d bloody well kill myself. If I killed myself I’d at least get a chance.”
“How would you get a chance?”
“Well I’d be damned, you kill yourself, your damned, it’s simple.” The thing shrugged.
“Why is that better, I thought that would be worse?”
“Damnation is unexpected. Whoa hey, ouch and Whoa hey, did not expect that. Nothing is more than hell than not going to hell. Take it from me, do yourself a favour and kill yourself.” Then the thing was determined to talk about the proceedings of Summer Bay for the rest of the night.
Well I can tell you that I took the next day as a sicky. I was not going to get any sleep except during the daylight hours. The night came and the ghost was right, the afterlife was as boring as all anything could be. By this stage I knew I was a pretty boring guy. I had realised that I had gone through most of my life with the autopilot button left on. This thing in front of me though was tedious, boring to the extreme. I paid attention, too much attention but as I said before, what an opportunity. Problem is that you get an opportunity to find out what life is like after death and you find the upside is bloody awful, it can be a little disheartening. I took a few more sick days off. Work was really worried about me at this stage. They sent someone to my little apartment to check in on me. They found me hanging from the rafters with a rope around my neck.
The thing was right, kill yourself and you are damned forever, die and you know everything. One thing I found out when I knew everything is that there are no ghosts. Now I’m in fucking hell!
Jason, three blocks from where I lived went to bed, put his book down and turned off the light, as his eyes fluttered closed he heard a voice.
“Did you see Eastenders tonight?”
Fucking Arsehole!