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Monday, July 28, 2008

Mojo Catharsis

When I awoke to the din of thieves on the streets below, my eyes retained the gloss of a latent dream sequence from which dry ice was a natural resource. These eyes had not only seen the coming of the glory of the untoward, but my neck was also sending furious intermittent messages to the brain that it needed reinforcements. The poor brain on mornings like these had to learn to ignore more than it took in. I sauntered over to the window for reasons known only to a barely awakened soul. There was really nothing to see, but the act of seeing signaled to the body that consciousness had ensued. My body, however, asked for a second opinion.

Upon further review, I was off in Tahiti getting mercilessly pelted by sun rays amidst the beach's sandy clutches. Endorphins permeated my being as I floated in utter ecstasy, simultaneously cognizant of everything and yet nothing. This went on for about eight triumphant seconds, until I had to inhale again and the bubble popped in my face like a bullfrog calling reveille. As I breathed in a dose of harsh reality, I started cursing the inadequacies of existence. Poor lighting, bad acoustics, the stench of a thousand moldy socks — by no means the setting for a life of such great expectations to be performed in. All in all, not looking forward to being at work in an hour. What an incredibly unceremonious way to start out a day. Perhaps the local downtown theatre would be more conducive to the lofty pursuits of true living. All the world's a stage, I reminded myself. And I grabbed from the closet my costume of choice.

At a quarter after 7:00, I turned on the bath water to barely below scalding — still saving the ultimate temperature for just the right occasion — and used all my cognitive abilities to lift the plug so that my offering to the tub gods would not go unheeded. Now with this illusory four-and-a-half minutes of complete freedom given to me each morning, I never know quite what to do. One can be dedicated to tooth brushing only so much. The clothes I'm wearing? Probably won't need them in the tub. But then again, you never know... Someone could be having a party in there this morning and I'd be sorely underdressed. I decided to take one peek in the tub to be sure. Only imaginary friends again, and since they don't dress formally, then why should I?

How high's the water, mama? It's four feet high, and risin'... I believe in a full-scale bath. It's part of my life's credo. If you aren't somehow eventually drowned by your own bath water somewhere along the line, then you're doing things wrong. Every cleaning experience should also be life-threatening. Gets one going in the morning. And I long since graduated from the snorkel, which is a question I field often. As the water level came to within an inch of its goal, I contemplated the nuances of life, and decided to summarize all existence within a 30-second time span. There's no ambition like bathroom ambition. When the whole world is on the sidelines and it's your turn to shine...

A hush came over the crowd as everyone awaited my next move. I grabbed my towel, sneered at the mirror, and determined that the answer to life's mysteries was found somewhere between the chirping birds outside and the husk and vibrance of rushing water in a true cacophony of enlightenment. The crowd approved and gave me a modest ovation. Nothing spectacular, but for this early in the day, it was stupendous.

Dipping my toes in the brine, it was hot enough to be unbearable, which was perfect. My toes complained, but the rest of me wanted in on the action and denied their protests. Poor toes — sent out like scouts to take all the fire, and then after they've sustained collateral damage, the cavalry comes in to receive all the credit and have all the fun. Same thing at night when walking through the house in the dark. Who gets punished when an unsuspecting piece of furniture attacks? The good ole' toe reconnaissance mission. To top it all off, then we put these digits deep into our shoes for the rest of the day, sentenced to a life at ground level, only once in a while coming up, just for kicks.

There's something about being totally submersed in a steaming hot pool of water. The calming effect on the nerves is undeniable. No one can get to you when you're surrounded by thermally-enhanced liquidation. It soothes as it protects. I could be a TV commercial, but then the lighting isn’t good enough in here. Soaking my aching muscles, I picture myself in another time and place, cooking in a smoldering pot, waiting to be the main course at a cannibal feast. I wonder if I'm tender enough yet. How pruny would they want me? Moral of the story: If you ever find yourself sharing a tub with vegetables, you probably don’t need to bother washing behind your ears. When it comes down to it, as part of the food chain, we as humans eat meat, and eventually it comes all the way back around full circle, which means we're all cannibals anyway. Soup's up!

Ah, life. It keeps me occupied. I'm thinking I won't shave today, because I just shaved yesterday, and the whiskers are probably barely noticeable. People can always forgive small whiskers. We can continue to pretend they're not really there. Something you overlook, just like dust on furniture, ants on the sidewalk, or clothes that an emperor has recently purchased.

I dip my head under and make waves that will cause flooding on faraway shores. Everything we do has consequences. Every decision I make now determines destiny in some distant kingdom. I've noticed that kingdoms are always distant. They're not easily accessible. Whoever laid out these kingdoms wasn't much of a city planner. Possibly the equivalent of ancient airports, relegated to the nether regions, away from the rest of civilization. And like airports, I understand the parking arrangements at kingdoms are horrendous.

Got a few bubbles going now. I like how they can combine with other bubbles and form a sort of bubble alliance. They make bubble mergers and then stamp out the other smaller bubbles in hostile takeovers. What is it about bubbles that softens people up? We see bubbles, and we get all gushy. Ooo, floating liquid spheres filled with air... got to have some of that. Something in our psyche makes us turn to jello when we're around bubbles. That's why carbonation is so popular. The thought of swallowing bubbles enamors us. Bubbles are conducive to splashing, too. They get really excited when you splash... Attack of the bubbles, coming to a tub near you.

Hearkening back to a time when I had not a care in the world, as an adolescent it was my oyster. I could while away an afternoon doing absolutely nothing, and reveling in every syrupy minute of it. Buddies were the glue that always kept the cosmos patched together. Two kids talking in full throttle mode, doing it eloquently and for hours on end. Somewhere prior to adulthood, we lost the casual decor and took on a different persona — became bitter and suspicious. Developed portfolios. Guess we get more accomplished as grown-ups that way. Got to be efficient.

I splash some more, and whisk jet streams all over my torso. The rejuvenation of getting wet has always intrigued me. I'm sure much of it is psychological. Flooding! Inundation! More, more! Swimming itself is popular if for no other reason than it reminds us of being in the womb. That initial nine-month pass to the swim club really spoiled us.

I like memorizing things. Being the only one at college to know the Magna Carta by heart, I was always a big hit at parties. It took me three days to get it down pat, and I had to learn to sing it to the tune of "Another One Bites the Dust," but it was an effective method. To this day, I can't listen to Queen without getting nostalgic for early historical documents. Ultimately, at these parties I got more pity than admiration, but I took whatever I could get. That's another one of my life's credos, to take whatever you can get. Ambition is overrated in my book. Unless, of course, it's going on inside the nerve center of the universe otherwise known as the vaunted bathroom. I really do like getting ready for the day in the hub.

Wistful, wonderful and completely serene. I take in the whole ambience of the situation. Meditation and contemplation were invented in the bathtub, I'm thoroughly convinced. Aristotle probably achieved all his greatest profundity within the confines of such steamy hot springs. It's where time stands still and pathos takes over. It affects all the senses. The rest of the day, I am asleep, but in the bath I am alive and empowered.

The multitudinous sounds alone that water can make are truly fascinating, and they're all pleasing to the ear. Drips, glurps, blops, swishes, jostles, glugs, dashes — they all do their thing and do it brilliantly. When you bathe, you're actually engaging in a type of symphonic convergence. I've done elegant movements by some of the greatest composers with the use of this mere eight inches of water.

The water's cooling a bit. Guess I can get out now. Oh, wait. I forgot to use the soap. I should scrub, because even though I work at a desk job for a living, one never knows when he might be called on to perform surgery. And I want to be ready. The fate of the world may someday depend on me, and my self-discipline of utilizing cleansing agents will play a key role. I am nothing if not prepared.

When I was a kid, I could hold my breath under water for about a minute and 12 seconds. My brother tried to help me stay under longer, but I soon got the impression that I didn't need that kind of help. The best I've been able to do lately is only about 45 seconds. I thought maybe with bigger lungs I could outdo my former self. Maybe I'm just out of shape. Perhaps a few daily repetitions will get me back once again to world-class status.

So the party ends. Time to let out all the fun. Get out of the tub, dry off with the awaiting towel, put on my pants, and... hold on. Let me check in here... OK, what about in here? How peculiar. All the clocks in the house seem to be off. They all say 2:29, even though most of them are battery powered. I'm a little dubious. I plop some English muffins in the toaster and get a glass of juice. In a fit of desperation, I grab my watch, and it says 2:31, which is pretty much what I'd call an endorsement of what the clocks were saying. Is there some magnetic field engulfing my abode? I turn on the morning shows... and none of them are on. It's just a bunch of young and restless people who strangely have only one life to live. I'm flummoxed. I look outside, and it's warm and peaceful out. How unfailingly curious.

Didn't know whether to chortle or to guffaw. Only Miss Manners could be of help at a moment like this. The perfunctory whims of existence had sabotaged me and washed me down the drain, leaving only the scum for posterity. Guess everybody couldn't wait for me today. It was one of the best days of my life.

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