It takes me three hours, give or take an hour, to convince myself to get out of bed every day. I wake up, always under protest, take hold of my phone (which I have taken to calling my light saber, or sometimes my wand, or the magic box, whatever, smartphones are straight out of the science fiction of my youth) and read the headlines from The New York Times and The Guardian. I take a look at Facebook. I take a look at Twitter. This usually provides my misanthropy with enough fuel to keep me in bed for at least an hour.
There’s some portion of my routine spent laying on my back and staring at my ceiling. If ever there is a time my survival depends on my winning a staring contest, I think I’m golden. There’s a hole in my ceiling, wires dangling out, where there should be a fixture of some kind. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had lived in my home for thirteen years. For all those thirteen years, I had lived with the ugliest ceiling fan – light fixture combo I believe ever to have been produced. That ceiling fan came down first thing because I’d be damned if I was going to spend the next however long in my bed looking at that fucking thing. But then I had no money for a replacement. So. Three years later, there is the hole in the ceiling. But every morning, I stare at it and I think, at least I’m not looking at that awful, piece of shit, ceiling fan.
I talk to my dog. I talk to my dog a lot. I tell her about the missing girls in Africa, about Arsenal winning. I tell her the joke I read on Twitter. I tell her about the pictures of cute puppies on Facebook. Sometimes I show her the cute pictures. She remains unimpressed with the magic of the phone and is disinterested in the pictures. She will prick up her ears if it is a video, with sound. Mostly, she sighs a lot and heaves around on the bed, watching me for any signs on when we may be departing the bed.
After contemplating the human condition in the 21st century and the hole in my ceiling, I start to think about food. Thinking about food is a sure sign that odds of my leaving the bed have tipped in favor of exit. I gauge my hunger level. I think about what food I have. I gauge my level of give a damn, vis a vis cooking. I weigh the options between cooking breakfast or lunch because let’s face it, at this time of the day, most people are thinking about their second meal. But not me. I’m still in bed. Because I’m still not sure leaving it is worth it.
Making a decision about cooking is usually something my mind isn’t quite ready to handle. Too many choices, too much thinking involved. More than likely, there is a small mountain of crap laying about my kitchen as well. More give a damn involved than I have at the moment. An inventory of physical issues usually comes up about now. What’s my pain level today? How’s the back? The arm? The shingles? The implant? The hands? The feet? Migraine likely today? I stretch. I have to be careful, though. Not too vigorously or muscle cramps in my legs. What’s my pee situation? Sometimes, I dash to the bathroom and return quickly to the bed before the dog can decide to make a play for the warmth of my place among the sheets but more often than not, the situation is deemed non-urgent.
Now is when the work begins, the real work of motivating myself up and out of the bed, for good, for the entire day. The tone of the dialogue changes. I review all the ways in which I have already screwed this day up. I weigh the likelihood of anything interesting happening anywhere between my bed and my sofa, anything I would miss if I did not leave my bed. The most compelling thing I can come up with is watching my dog try to communicate her displeasure at the trespass of wild bunnies. Usually, it comes down to hunger and the need to urinate. Bacon, coffee, and the fear of wetting the bed, that’s it.
Have you ever thought about what would happen to your body if you died at home? How long it would take for someone to find you? How long would it take before anyone noticed something was off? I have. I do, almost every day. It would take seven days of silence before my mother would call. A good guess of a day, maybe two, without an answer before she would send my father over here to check on me. That’s a bit of time for a body to be left on its own. Sometimes, my dead, bloated, body floats through my dreams. I wake up, worried about how my dog would cope without water for a week.
These hours of cajoling and ruminating, I don’t know how it started. It feels a little like grief, a little bargaining, a little denial, a little anger. This is not how it was supposed to be. This is not how it was supposed to be. This is not how it was supposed to be. This is not how it was supposed to be. I am amazed I have not been crushed by the weight of the unfuckingbelievable load of shit piled on my shoulders. How have I not collapsed? Not folded in on myself, a mess of broken lines and planes?
I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m waiting, I guess. I don’t know what I’m waiting for. Waiting on? Is it someone? Is it some thing? A thought? Insight? I don’t know. I know I have to get out of the bed, every day. That’s my daily Big Win. I know that. I know I have to get out of the bed.