Four things. A few short weeks ago my wife went out of town for a weekend, and before she left gave me a list of things she’d like me to accomplish around the house (oh yeah, I bought a house…) while she was gone. That list was composed of four things. One was to hit some buttons on the thermostat so that I knew how to set a “heating schedule.” Another was to literally replace a single light bulb. The other two tasks were probably more difficult. I’m not sure. I don’t remember what they are. Either way, this list appeared imminently achievable when it was presented to me. My wife, being the super understanding and patient person that she is (don’t at me), even told me to pace myself. She was going out of town the weekend after this one as well, and said she didn’t expect me to get all four of the enumerated items on her list done before she came back from her first trip. She just wanted me to make some progress. She just wanted me to like, you know, start.
At this moment, I technically had the entire day in front of me. I have plenty of time my brain says, but even in this state I am aware enough to know that is a lie. Because I am hungover and my wife is out of town. And that, dear readers, is the gist of this story. What you will read below is indicative of the kind of life I live when no one is there to hold me accountable. What you will read below is what happens when I subconsciously try my absolute hardest not to move...
24 Hours On The Couch (Or More Accurately, 2 Chairs I Had Pushed Together)
Saturday, February 2nd & Sunday, February 3rd
7:48 A.M.-Awake and supposedly alive, I stand up for the first time today and, clutching to nothing but the memory of the stirring rendition of Big Pimpin’ I gave at a karaoke bar the night before and my internal organs’ known ability to digest chicken bones for hope, began a desperate search for Advil. Turns out it’s all the way upstairs in the “master bedroom.” Thanks a lot to my parents and my wife. Because of your hard work, “I” can now afford a house (BTW, I bought a house...) with two stories and am occasionally forced to walk up and down the stairs. Jerks.
8-10:47 A.M.-I return to my makeshift chair-couch, and fall down on my back before tilting the Advil bottle upside-down over my mouth and pouring an unknown amount of tablets down my gullet. From there, I am constantly dozing off, only to wake up again every 5-10 minutes in a very cold sweat. Speaking of dozing, do you guys ever have that dream where you have apparently fallen off of some super high building or something, and as your body is hurtling towards the ground your life flashes before your eyes, only said flash is very short because you don’t have all that much to reflect on and are therefore able to snap out of it before impact and realize that you haven’t done or accomplished all that much with your 31-years on Earth just in time to die? Yeah. Me neither.
11:02 A.M.-Semi-conscious, I pull out my phone and see the reminder to check the list Kristin has shared with me digitally. I shrug it off. It’s still morningish. What I need to do first is get some food in my belly, but being too weak and ineffectual to do things such as put on pants or go outside, I also need someone else to bring it to me. I open up my Postmates app, and see that the Kolache Factory is open. Needing to spend $15 in order to get free delivery with my postmates unlimited, I order 2 breakfast kolaches, 1 buffalo chicken, 1 philly cheese steak, and 1 polish sausage. As it turns out, if you digitally walk into the Kolache Factory with $15, you are literally a king.
11:28 A.M.-My Postmate Jennifer arrives in near record time, and I immediately grab the bag of dough wrapped deliciousness from her and return to my couch/chair, where I slam both breakfast kolaches with shocking velocity, stopping only to slightly to choke on a piece of sausage that I am eventually able to stuff down my throat without further issue before wondering, rather morbidly, if I did choke right now, who would be here to save me? I google “how to give yourself the heimlich,” but the answers provided seem complicated, so I opt to just stop paying attention and keep eating. Sitting in a dark room alone and choking to death on a piece of breakfast sausage. I wish I could say I didn't know it was going to end that way, but I gotta tell you that I always knew it would. This is how I drew it up...
11:31 A.M.-My stomach now full of Czech inspired delightfulness, I again start scanning the tasks lists Kristin shared for me on my phone. I finish in about 2.4 seconds. Turns out it doesn’t take you a long time to read a list with only four things on it. Next I contemplate completing one of the items, maybe replacing a light bulb all the way back up in the master bedroom. But that would require me not only to walk up the stairs, but to get on a ladder, given that the burnt out lightbulb was for some reason installed in the ceiling. At this moment I remember I am afraid of heights. So pass.
12:39 P.M.-My hangover is setting in... BIG TIME, so I start to think about potential remedies. Suicide? Nah. If that happens Kristin won’t get to collect on our life insurance policy, which will hopefully be big enough to keep her from seeking out another stronger, still alive male partner who will complete all of the tasks she wants done around the house the moment she asks for at least several months once I eventually do die.
1:19 P.M.-My pal the #1 Dboy comes over to my new house (did I mention to you guys that I I bought a house?) and we wind up walking to Lona’s Lil' Eats for lunch, where I order a brisket wrap and proceed to spill 2/3rds of its contents onto the tray on which it came. Next I pick up said contents, and by “contents” I mean the meat and rice only, leaving the lettuce aside for obvious reasons (i.e. Kristin not being here), with my bare hands and force them into my mouth. It feels so good knowing that someone will be there to save me when, not if, I choke, while all the other, non-heroic restaurant patrons feel very badly for judging an almost dead man for his admittedly poor table manners and/or the noticeable sauce stains he's sporting on his Fulton Reed jer-tee.
2:14 P.M.-Back at my house, where I am sprawled out on one of the chairs which previously constituted my makeshift couch, as the #1 Dboy sits comfortably on the other. What are we talking about? Who the hell knows. My wife is gone for the weekend. #1 Dboy’s girlfriend lives in another city. And right now we are clinging to each other in a desperate attempt to use nothing more than our shared physical presence in the same room to rally against the inherent loneliness embedded in the human condition. Looking back on it, this is pretty much how we spent every weekend 5 or 6 years ago, when we were both single. Man. Good fucking times.
6:07 P.M.-I wake up in a dark room (at some point the #1 Dboy left apparently) and instinctively check my phone. “Household Tasks Reminder” is the first notification displayed on my home screen. Rubbing my eyes, I stand up for like, what, maybe the fifth time today and flip on the lights. It’s now dark outside, meaning that it will be dark in any room without working light bulbs. Like the master bedroom. And how am I supposed to change a lightbulb in the dark? Confounded by this riddle I open Postmates and decide to think about it over some Chinese food. Potstickers always help my brain crank just a little bit more efficiently. All two of the Physics tests I didn’t fail in high school happened during afternoons after I had snuck off campus and hit the Asian buffet for lunch.
7:26 P.M.-Potstickers digested, I fire up Netflix and turn on the Fyre Festival documentary that everyone seems to be chatting so much about. And, given the state I am in, I must admit that I have some level of empathy for this Billy fella. I mean is he a scumbag liar who defrauded several thousand overly intense Blink-182 fans and, more likely, their parents who inexplicably support their 27-year-old child’s overly intense love of Blink-182 to a potentially more overly overly intense financial degree? Sure. Can’t deny that. But sometimes, lies came out you out of nowhere, mushrooming and ballooning to uncontrollable degrees, until they reach a point of no return. Sometimes, you don’t mean to lie, but you somehow end up doing it anyway. Maybe, in his heart of hearts, Billy Boy really did believe he could throw the concert festival event of this, or any, millenia. After all the dude did have someone called Major Lazer signed up and enough cheese sandies to feed an army. That’s not the worst start in the world.
What I am trying to say is that maybe, just maybe, Billy did intend to deliver the goods here. He just, through nothing else but his own shortcomings and disconnectedness from reality, committed a wide variety of felonies (Quick aside: I think that Ja Rule needs to take more heat for this fiasco honestly). Either way, it is possible that Billy treated the Fyre Festival like I am treating this list of household tasks I have yet to start after approximately 12 hours of inactivity and equivocation. I want to change the lightbulb. Billy wanted to make the Fyre Festival legit. Remember that the next time you judge someone for the small crime of being an unrepentant liar. Because if lying, to you, means totally going back on your word by not doing what you say you will do, then in some small and yet indescribable way I am ironically describing to you right now, I guess I am a liar too. In a way, I guess that simple things like not replacing light bulbs (or having musical acts at a concert) after promising that you would, is capable of making liars out of us all.
7:48 A.M.-I open my eyes, still on the makeshift couch made of chairs, the sun sneaking through the slats in the blinds before me. I rub my corneas. I reach for my phone. I simultaneously grab the remote and queue up The Office. I skip out on the Advil, now sitting on the ottoman to my right. I don’t stand. I still, after all this time and inactivity, fight to keep my body horizontal.
Outside my door I can hear the ringing of church bells, the rustling of birds. Cars roar as they pass, stopping at the intersection against which my house is situated, before gunning the engine and zooming by in this direction or that. There is life outside, and the world is filled with sunlight and laughter and hope and, soon enough, the bounce of a basketball as a cadre of neighborhood kids congregate for their own form of worship on this Sunday morning, pounding a ball against the blacktop court across the street from where I live. My phone tells me that the day is cold, but according to my eardrums no one seems to mind. I pull the blanket up towards my chin and flip my body around on its side. I can still hear it all. Soon enough it will be time for me to get my ass up and join them, to function as a real-life member of society once again. But right now, at this moment, I am not ready. It’s not time. Not yet.
1:37 P.M.-I pick Kristin up at the airport, where I make the supposedly inconsiderate mistake of forgetting to get out of the car and help her with her bags. A little winded, my wife enters the car, where I begin to drive as we exchange pleasantries. “What’d you do this weekend,” she asks, the moment I steer her Toyota Rav4 onto the highway.
“Nothing really,” I say, looking at the ground. Kristin stares at me with an obvious and genuine curiosity in her face, wondering if “nothing” really means not a single thing, and how she should react if it does. I say no more words, pushing my foot on the gas pedal and dramatically increasing our speed. We need to get home ASAP so I can sneak upstairs and open the blinds without her noticing. I am the only one that knows for sure that in order to unpack, she is going to need the assistance of natural light.