Ode to a Rotten Morning

Ode to a Rotten Morning


Dragoon Babic

Shiver-me-limber. It’s morning again and I’m cold. This blanket is tucked around me like the skin they wrap around sausage meat. My arms are clenched tight to my chest and I am all of a sudden conscious of the lack of warmth in my right ear. It’s cold. It’s dark-winter-morning cold. My exposed extremities are desperate for the warming embrace of a sympathetic soul. A parent or a lover who might provide a less traumatic transition from dreams into reality. Someone who could rub my blood warm. Instead I wake up to the morning felicitations of this dank and dreary room; coughing with a suffocation brought on by the primordial patches of damp that have enveloped the walls. The smell of it fills my nostrils and leaves a dry itchy sensation at the back of my throat. This is a familiar feeling. It worries me to think how used I have gotten to swallowing and ingesting vast quantities of these tiny fungal particles in my sleep. These spores breathe more air than I do. Perhaps THEY should be paying the rent?

As usual I have woken up long before I intended to. This is partly due to my preoccupation with punctuality but mostly it is a result of the Baltic condition of my room. My feet are now stupidly pushing and writhing past one another in a retarded attempt to generate a little warmth. But any success in this venture is immediately lost when the motion stops. So I decide to quit from this tedious task and begin to focus all my will on reluctantly surrendering this modicum of insulated warmth and getting out of bed.

This process is always a difficult one; this is because I find it nigh-on-impossible to rouse myself from this surrogate womb (side-thought: does the Gaelic word “leaba” have an etymological relation to the female “labia”?) without at least half an hours scrutiny on the quality of such an idea or tangential ruminations on other unrelated matters.

Forcefully ejecting myself from this cocoon, this sanctuary, this protective filter from the outside world has become, for me, a task of Herculean proportions. Curled like a foetus in this island of safety and comfort I am yet unbridled by the monotony and futile implications of another pitiful day.

It was once suggested to me that birth is the most traumatic experience of a person’s life. Being violently pulled from the solitary warmth and comfort of the womb, where all the food and nutrition you could possibly crave is delivered at regular intervals, seems to me a gross assault on the autonomy of another human being. As that old curmudgeon Sam Beckett once quipped; birth was the death of me. It seems I relive this death every morning when I get out of bed.

I baulk and choke with scorn at the people who say they wake up every morning with a smile; in eager anticipation of the day and all the potential that it holds. That’s all clap-trap, pish-posh and poppy-cock. I would need to be awake all day before I mustered the strength to get out of bed. Waking up is a gruelling, torturous sort of a thing. Proof:

Only fifteen minutes ago I was ignorantly plumbing the depths of my infinite and mysterious subconscious through a diaspora of surreal and personal scenes, sets and images. Whilst lost in the eye of this cerebral storm I was completely oblivious to all worldly concerns and unshackled from the cumbersome and irrational anxieties which go hand-in-hand with the modern world.

Now, in contrast, I am facing the prospect of another day scuttling indeterminately on the hamster-wheel of life. A day which will begin with struggle and continue in tedium. A day that will be sandwiched by bouts on public transport, where I will flaunt my brotherly union with the rest of humanity by trying my best to pretend that it does not exist, and consisting of a stale meat filling of drudgery and boredom.

People say that dreams reveal secrets which are connected to issues which you might have in your personal or professional life. But I think they have it the wrong way round; I think our lives merely exist to fuel our dreams, and it is during our sleeping hours that we are most alive.

Compared to the anxieties experienced in the real world—the torments of your dreams are only ever a secondary abstraction. Nothing compared to the real thing.

The dreamer is, most of the time, unconscious of his dreams. He is caught in an ever shifting digression of the same ideas. The same carnal ideas. Be they good, bad or indifferent—because there is such a thing as a mundane dream—they usually fail to assert on the mind any sort of genuine fear or anxiety.

Not like the anxiety of your waking hours, no-siree-bob. Those periods of ennui tend to pass by with the monotonous regularity of an arthritic post-women; delivering waves of bad consciousness in the intermittency of trivial existence.

Dreams are the cure! They are projections of the mind framed by a perpetual vitality but coloured with the passive interest of a wealthy idler. The absolute permanence which one experiences while in a dream, the unconsidered thought of their reality, is only perpetuated by the aphoristic nature of their fleetingness; a peculiar quality which can only be recognised after the unhappy return to the world by the dreamer.

In former times I used to have the most curious dreams. The specifics of these dreams I have long since forgotten; but the climax is indelibly etched into my memory.

At the climax of these dreams I would feel compelled by some invisible force to move into a further unknown dimension. The nature and aspect of this dimension was a complete mystery. The only impression I could intuit of it was that it would somehow entail an irrevocable transcendence of the ego, and a terminal shattering of my identification with myself.

Strangely, at this point in the dream I would be fully aware that I was dreaming and that the choice to continue dreaming was entirely mine. On one occasion the, well, let’s call him my spirit-guide, who was intending to lead me to this new mysterious plane, began to thrust both his hands deep into my stomach which had become malleable as dough. I somehow knew that all I needed to do was relent my struggle so as to allow him to submerge himself deep enough in my innards and I would be transported to the place beyond my dreams. But the horror and shock which this bodily intrusion induced in me was too much to bear. And so I woke myself up.

This same scenario acted itself out at least three times in three different ways. But the conclusion was always the same; a conscious effort to wake up in the midst of the terrible oblivion which, I assume, would have greeted me in that unknowable and blinding light. To the eternal damnation of my rotten soul—I flew. I retreated to reality; where I am free to regulate my personal oblivion on a daily basis.

The air is cold, the floor under my feet is cold, goddamnit even the clean clothes I’m hurrying to put on are cold! Drops of mildew trickle down my window pane like tiny sledgers on a transparent ski-slope. The sight of my own breath never fails to emit from me a wry smile. The minor bravado which I feel from enduring such ridiculous conditions is a type of false satisfaction that almost redeems the situation in the juvenile logic of my mind. Struggle is good I tell myself. This is all wonderful preparation for the inevitable global disaster or zombie apocalypse or nuclear war that will no doubt engulf the world in the next half a century; when things like double-glazing and damp-proof bedrooms will be remembered as decadent comforts from a by-gone era. Oh yes. The first long winter of the new age will consume many a once-privileged soul in its indiscriminate cull—but I might not be one.

The boiler is broken again so a warm shower is out of the question. When this initially happened a few days ago, I thought if I could boil the kettle enough times I might be able to fill up enough pots and pans with warm water to give myself a suitable wash. After the fourth kettle-full I realised I would have to be there all bloody day before I accumulated a sufficient amount of water for a wash and a rinse. My moment of revelation came when I was sitting naked on the hard floor of my shower surrounded by half-filled bowls of luke-warm water and covered in a soapy sud (that I would later dry off angrily with a dirty towel) when I realised the absolute absurdity of the scene I had created for myself and resolutely decided to give up my ludicrous endeavour. That was three days ago and so my habitual pestilence is becoming unbearable. The grease from my hair is beginning to leave a stain on my pillow case and everything I wear smells of mould or body odour. This morning I am bent double upon my intention; I will shower. Even if it gives me fucking hypothermia; today I will be a clean smelling corpse.

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