(The way the world looked)
It has been some time since I've drank NyQuil recreationally. Too long, really. I gave myself another sinus infection from sleeping in a room filled with cardboard boxes. The air is so dry in the room that I woke up feeling as if I was trying to finish swallowing the remaining pieces of an empty pizza box - that I was somewhat desperate to do so in my sleep. I just needed water. Each morning is a form of cheating death.
This morning when I woke up I staggered to the bathroom, then back to bed. The babysitter showed up at some point. It was Rachel's first day at work. I slept through most of it.
Finally I got out of bed. I had errands to run. I turned, letting my head hit the pillow once more. So, after an additional two hours of vision-quest rest I gathered myself slowly together and headed out the door. Something felt wrong with the car. It seemed a bit sluggish. I put the pedal to the floor a few times and was convinced it wasn't reacting with its usual zestiness. In a delirium I conducted my business. I stopped at the grocery store and bought a bottle of wine, I picked up the mail (several boxes), I got a "grande" coffee at Starbucks, I drove by the bank's ATM. As I was getting out of the car I noticed Barkley the puppy was with me. I left him in the car with the windows up, thinking to myself "Safety First..." The security chirp of the car's doors locking let me know that all was well, all would be well. What a lovely and strange day it was. Everything seemed to be happening at a fraction of its usual speed.
On the way home I panicked, thinking that I had forgotten to collect the cash from the machine. I couldn't remember putting it in my pocket. I couldn't remember seeing any cash come out. The receipt was there with my other pocket stuff but I struggled to determine if the money I had with me reflected a withdrawal also. I pulled over and counted. Yep, I had been to the bank. I listened to the entire song "Freebird" before I realized what I was doing. It was at the very end with the "built for stadium lighting" crescendos peaking when I stopped and asked myself where I was, what was I doing? What next? Freebird tapered off in redneck victory and I came to my senses a little bit, shaking my head slowly in wonder. Had I been singing along just a few minutes before? My throat was sore. Do I really know all of the lyrics to Freebird?
Barkley likes the new healthy "Fresco" burritos at Taco Bell. I knew that with tested certainty. I needed a Mountain Dew. The coffee wasn't enough. We stopped. In the Taco Bell parking lot I silently renewed my vow to accord NyQuil the respect it deserves. The color of the air around me seemed to be "off" a bit. As if all of life was a faded Polaroid that had been left near a window. Everything seemed to be covered in an unlikely shade of milky pale yellow. It was cherry flavored NyQuil. I felt as if it might have had that affect on me in the past. I couldn't find a bright red anywhere I looked. I tried to remember the color wheel. Was it possible that cherry red, when removed, would render the world more yellowish? I was sure the world didn't really look that way before, or yesterday.
When I got home it took me 45 minutes to figure out that the baby's "pink noise" generator was what was making that static hiss. It was coming from the iPhone and then through the baby walkie-talkie into the kitchen. The whole house was filled with it. I turned them both off and fell asleep in the bed nearest where the boy was sleeping. I felt like I could hear much static in the distance as I drifted into it.