Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
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- Dreaming Insomnia in North County
Dreaming Insomnia in North County
This is not what I had in mind. This is not how I imagined it. My eyes hurt and I have an enormous headache; it doesn’t have Excedrin written all over it. I feel like I’ve been tricked or at the very least mislead. I really feel like a fool. But then I think, at least I’m a fool with fifty bucks, and I wonder if it was really worth it. But that’s how much I was paid.
I have an enormous headache and it’s got fifty bucks written all over it. On the plus side, at least my hair looks a bit styled; maybe I look a little more hip. Maybe, if you call an eye-twitching migraine hip, just maybe. But these days, it’s possible that one’s level of hip is measured by the throbbing pain of their self-pitying, self-loathing, self-absorbed migraine; one hipster bragging to another about how much pain they are in…
As I squint at my own reflection in the window I can see that my hair is sticking up in an almost I-just-rolled-out-of-bed style. But it is not intentional, rather just the leftover goop in my hair from the where the sensors were stuck to my head. There were five sensors in all. They were part of the experiment and they were connected to several computers that scanned and stored the electro-activity of my brain. This was all part of the experiment.
The two facilitators, both of whom were, for some reason, suspiciously foreign, left me little at ease. Who were they really? Who were they actually working for? What the heck was I doing here? Why did I decide to become a lab-rat? And then it hit me: fifty bucks, that’s why! I really couldn’t have imagined this.
The office building, or labratory, I was in gave me a very strange feeling as well. I couldn’t figure it out. Perhaps it was just me creeping myself out with weird vibes. Perhaps not. But when I was assertively prompted to take my allotted lunch break, in which I got to choose the drugged sandwich of my choice, I began to feel a sense of something gone awry. Again, perhaps I was overly suspicious, but when my gut tells me something is amiss, I tend to listen. Actually, I tend not to and then tell myself that I told myself so. "Yes, I’ll have the lightly-poisoned, um I mean seasoned, turkey with the sun-dried arsenic and basil spread, thank you...that sounds delicious!"
Then, as if the morbid thoughts that were racing through my head weren't enough, they sat, rather ushered, me outside to eat my sandwich at a bench which was directly facing a cemetery. You know, the kind with graves, headstones, and flowers. I always thought my life was going to end short, just not like this; just not from a drugged turkey sandwich… After a paranoid lunch break I went back to the research room for further experimentation. Besides, my hair was beginning to flatten and some more of that goop would sure do the trick.
To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure who was doing the research, or who this information would perhaps benefit. I do know that it did not benefit me. I was told that the research was going to be used by the Army, which made me quite skeptical and even a shade of worried. They even went so far as to infer that the time I would be volunteering was for a noble, even patriotic cause; I was counteracting terrorism. According to what I’ve been told, I am directly helping the war efforts. The time I’ve spent here was for a purpose, necessary and even down-right American.
In fact, if you aren’t doing a study like this, frying your brain, searing your eyes, and giving yourself a mammoth-size migraine, then, damn it, you aren’t American! You hate this country. Or so they would lead you to believe anyway.
This is what it’s come to. Last week it was a sleep deprivation study. I think I overslept. Or it might have been a drug study where I took an unbeknownst purple pill every day for a week. I can’t remember anymore. The pills might have been orange now that I think of it. Anyway, next week I’ve got a good gig doing radiation studies. I’m booked for the rest of the month.
And then I wonder how I got to this point, what led me here in the first place and if I might be dreaming. So I pinch myself, painfully hard, and realize that I am indeed in a so-called reality.
Nothing is real anymore. But here I am in sunny San Diego, Cardiff-by-the-Sea to be exact, sleeping away the divine sun and blue drenched sky, eating pills, narcolepsy and insomnia infused cocktails, committing myself to a mundane existence in the name of science and national defense.
This is not how I imagined it.