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Thursday, June 24, 2004

I don't need no mirror

The dream shook me awake like a bad friend on a bad morning. I thought I should be hungover, or at the very least, bleeding from an extremity. I felt like I should cry or, again, at the very least, be sweating a little bit.

Someone intimated to me recently that listening to other people's dreams is like watching a vacation slideshow. You'll usually humor a person up until you see the third or fourth shot of the kids playing in the sand or kicking the bell boy in the nuts. After that, somebody better be naked or it's goodnight, Irene.

With that, I won't go into the dream. It was a little personal, anyway, so, go screw yourself.

I opened my eyes and had no idea where I was. It reminded me a little of the morning I woke up in an empty room on a bare mattress. That time I was hungover. That time I was sweating a few ounces an hour. That time I was as alone as alone could be. I'd been out the night before with a group of people I barely knew. I didn't remember making it back to my buddy's house. I didn't remember crashing on the mattress. That was ten years ago this week. I know this because the O.J. Simpson story was in the news at the time. I was 20 years old, going on 18.

This time, I was 30, sober, alone, and scared. I was in the presidential suite of a semi-swanky hotel. I'd only recently noted the difference between the presidential suite and a regular room: It was on the top floor and cost $65 more per night. Bah. I certainly didn't feel presidential and the only suite I knew was Judy Blue Eyes. It is certainly getting to the point, you know?

I threw my hand in the direction of the place I knew I plugged in my phone. The phone would tell me where I was. It would tell me what time it was.

If only it would tell me who the hell I was.

A randier man would be in that four-post bed with a woman. The fridge in the next room would have a variety of alcoholic drinks. There might be some drugs in the bedside table. There would certainly be cigarettes.

That wasn't me and I didn't have to wake up to know that.

I dialed without looking at the phone's keypad. The sleepy voice on the other end was immistakable.

"Hello?" My wife wasn't awake yet. Or, at least, it didn't seem like it.

"Hey, baby. You okay?"

"Of course."

Of course, she was. Why wouldn't she be? I'd only been gone for a day or so. If only a single day couldn't change so much about life. This past year has taught me the power of 24 hours.

"I just wanted to be sure. Bad dreams last night."

I didn't fill her in right then. No reason to share the psychoses right then and there, you know?

So, I hung up and hid under the covers. I had nowhere to be for quite a while. I couldn't really go anywhere. So, I hid. I punched random digits into the alarm clock and pretended not to hear the Hispanic guy trying to start the leaf blower seven floors below.

Fuck that guy.

The mirror in the bathroom freaked me out the night before. Not the big one, but the shaving and makeup mirror that really accentuates the positives and negatives on your face. I ran into one of those mirrors last summer in New York and got jiggy with it. That was a good time. This time, the mirror seemed distorted. Not in any metaphorical way. It really did seem messed up. I didn't even find any fun angling it downward and checking out the old yanger in the relfection. Nope. No fun there.

The TV had sucked the night before. I could've read a little bit, but I was too tired to concentrate. Every other activity was either off limits or out of reach. My old buddy, Tubey, was the best bet. And he sucked eggs. When you fall alseep listening to re-runs of news (yep, re-runs of NEWS), you know you're stuck in a perfectly Groundhog-esque cycle of leaf blowers, funky shaving mirrors, and yangers that look distorted (if the reflection is distorted, I guess my yanger was, too).

Later, I crawled out of the bed and made my way into the big bathroom. The staff had left some fizzy bath salts on the edge of the big jacuzzi tub. I gave some thought to running a bath, fizzing it up, and dropping my happy, confused ass right into the testosterone-less bath. Looking once more at my yanger, I decided I couldn't risk it and settled for a shower.

Eventually I checked out, after waiting for an air conditioner repairman to explain the physics of 1970s central air vs. 2004 central air to the day manager. None of us cared at all.

It was about that time, or a few minutes later when I was pawing at a plate of uneaten french fries, that I realized that I don't mind sleeping in hotels. I just don't like waking up alone. Going to sleep alone is one thing. Waking up alone is up there on the egg-suck meter.

I ate the club sandwich, left the fries, and filled the rest of the hole in my stomach with ice water and diet coke. I asked myself if I could've fixed the mirror to truly reflect me, and by extension, my yanger. I decided it was impossible. The mirror didn't know diddly. None of them really do.

The only real reflection you get of me is right here. That's why I call it Rapid Eye Reality.

Recently, I haven't written much for fear of giving you a bunch of content you don't want. But I need to write.

So, do me a favor. In the comments section below, write one question about me that you'd like an answer to. I don't care what it is. I'll answer it best I can. It'll give me something to write about. I need that right now.

In retrospect, I sort of wish I'd ordered something other than the club sandwich. I wish I'd just driven the two hours home the night before and not woken up alone. I wished I tried to read instead of watching TV. But I didn't.

So, while I'm on a mental and emotional roadtrip of sorts, do me a favor and give me something to wake up with. Hopefully, I'll deliver with some good answers.


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