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12:01 p.m. - January 08, 2003
At school, I think and at home I scrub tubs
Didn't sleep last night and instead cleaned the bathrooms, scrubbing the tubs with Ajax and a brush and could rest in the sound and motion and a poor substitute for a bed, yes, but it worked and I did not think at all. Went to school early and parked by the hospital so I would have a long walk and the incongruity of it all made me smile, how calm and self-assured I am in my khakis and solid-color button-down Eddie Bauer shirt, with my bag and its books and papers, strolling slowly under the trees listening to the birds and cars and the whir of bicycle wheels, this after a night dreading sleep and scrubbing tubs and reading and feeling utterly out of control, seizing on the notion to repaint the living room and going into the garage and finding I have no more rollers or brushes and so sat against the wall reading until the sunshine came through the windows and I was hurt by the beauty of the light angling against my face and the play of light and shadow against the floor. And like there is nothing wrong, I read the paper, shower, shave, pack my bag and drive to school, smiling to other drivers and I think Come now, everybody has their shit and how likely it is you, me, the neighboring driver in the car each play our roles with gusto and I simply must be a fan of drama and turmoil, an aesthete observing a scene on stage.

Here in my office overlooking the courtyard it is lunch time and the tables occupied with my peers, my professors, fine minds collected from around the world and I look at them and think Are they just like me, am I just like them? Maybe they've chanced upon the secret to moving past things and simply getting over it, or perhaps their demons and bogey-men assume different shapes than my own but still, how do they remember their lines? I'm the actor stumbling in front of an audience and I need new lessons to remember what I knew before.

How does this work, each of us as hurt as we are, nursing our slights and cowering from discovery yet carrying on and laughing, talking to people, going out to eat and flirting with the wait staff, winking and commenting on those in the vicinity? The role seems heavy though I too must carry it off, talking politics with one and how deoxygenated hemoglobin is paramagnetic whereas oxygenated hemoglobin is not and how this affects fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and beware of this when testing neural activity with another and making people laugh and I laugh too, taking pleasure in discoursing with another person, relishing the security of being admired, thinking all I really want to do is be loud and not think, yet thinking is what I do best and what others expect and like any good actor, you give the audience what it wants.

Isn't that right?


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