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Getting Real : Tea for Two

Alien Photograph (Excerpt)

from Tea - Friday, October 18, 2002
accessed 1599 times

Alien Photograph (Excerpt)

At night you canít sleep. You keep each other up. It feeds you with sorrow. You feed it with hate. Then you just lie there not saying a word to each other, like a couple after a fight or a fuck. You lay and you think. You think. And you think. You think of the way you feel and how you hate feeling this way. You think of why things are the way they are. All those choices gone bad, you say. All of those right-turns you took when you could have just kept going straight or taken a left. And of course, those U-turns you pulled while you thought no one was looking. And now as you lay there you like to try to imagine all of the wonder that may possibly have lain beyond all of those little turns that you never took, those gone-for-ever turns that you know youíll never be able to take again in your life. Then you shift your pillows, and you shift your thoughts, and you shift your head, and then you try to think of all of the one or two things youíve really got going for you. Well, yeah. You know the first one, but you just canít seem to think of the second one. But you were so sure that there were two. Anyway. You think of all those nice little convenient changes that you somehow think will change your life and make you happy againó all those nice, small, little tweaks you know that will never, ever happen to you in your life time. But still you indulge in these thoughts and pseudo-fantasies. Somewhere, somehow youíve come to deeply believe that if you could just manage to go to sleep on a positive thread of these extended thoughts that maybe you will have a nice dream or something. But no, you canít sleep. And if you do, you dream of how nice your sad little life really is, in a way, and you dream of how worse things could be for you if life really had its way. So youíre awake now while youíre time zone sleeps, and you donít know what to think of anymore. Like, youíre on the Boardwalk (Santa Cruz, CA) and have run fresh out of tokens, or something.

On weekdays your supposed friends and co-workers surround you, but you wonder where theyíve all vanished to on the weekends. You see people all the time everywhere you turn and everywhere you look, but still you feel very much like a fish out of water drowning in the air they so thoughtlessly breathe. And on the weekends you walk around the house at night looking for friends you know arenít there. You go to the kitchen, not because youíre hungry, but still you go to the kitchen because youíve done everything else. Youíve seen too much TV lately. You hate TV nowó all of it. And as of now, for all you know, you probably always will. And the Web: you just canít surf anymore. Another fifteen-hour day, and you need a stretching break from that well used $89 office chair with wheels and that reclining back-therapy thingy that you somehow never seem to get working. So youíre in the kitchen. You know that the longer you stay in there the more likely it is that youíll eat something you shouldnít. In fact, you know quite well that you shouldnít be eating anything at all at this Godforsaken hour. But still you find yourself perched over the refrigerator door going through this and that that you find in the small compartments. You close the door, and when you do so you get a dťjŗ vu. Somehow you feel youíve been here before. And youíre right. Youíve just been there five minutes ago. And yes, youíll return in another five, unless you retire now and go back to bed where you belong, and quick, before it starts getting light outside and the birds start singing again.

By the time you reach your room you are drained, and yet wide awake at the same time. So you lay yourself down again and you start counting sheep. The sheep thing doesnít work. So you go blank for a while. You start humming your favorite tunes. You know, ďthoseĒ Ėthe ones you donít dare hum in public or in front of your friends. Not that they would really mind. But you donít know that. You never tried. You never wanted to because of the image thing you have going. Or so it goes. And then your thoughts revive and get all random on you. You feel yourself beginning to sink lower and lower. You tuck yourself deeper and tighter into your single bed under all of those wrinkled sheets and mismatched blankets. You curl up against the wall and you feel your warm breath coming back at you as it bounces off of the chilled, white wall. And you brace yourself for the nothingness. You brace yourself for another empty day full of noisy people, prosthetic smiles, and dotcom billboard adds. Now would be the perfect time to cry, if only you could. Then it happens. You finally doze off to sleep. Itís a light sleep. Itís a short sleep. Itís a restless sleep. A dreamless sleep. But hey, itís sleep. And sleep is good. Sleep is always good. You donít complain. And why should you? Itís your life. And thatís that. Some have it better than you, and many more have it far worse. So you donít complain. In fact, things even brighten up somewhat and seem almost a tad bit cheery, you think, now that the day has finally begun.

So, you put on your this. And you put on your that. You put on your hat, if you wear a hat. Youíre on your way out of the door then you pause momentarily. You know youíre forgetting something. Ah. Yes. You go to the mirror. Something tells you not to look, but you look anyway. And when you do, you hate what you see. You hate what you see because what you see there is none other than you. Somehow your image of yourself was far better the last time you checked, you remember thinking to yourself. So, you hate what you see, but then, you hate what you are even more than that. And youíre not too sure yet if you hate the mirror for being so candid with you or if you hate yourself more for being so true in the mirror in the first place. Quick, you reach for those shades, and bolt.

You do your best to forget what you look like, but this task proves nearly impossible because everywhere you go you see your own reflection in just about everything you look at: the slick, jet-black or reflective office building windows, the see-through glass walls of sidewalk retailers, on the side of the bus as you step up to take your seat, in the LCD screen of your laptop or powerbook when it crashes, and even in the eyes of that beautiful stranger that caught you totally off-guard as you brushed up against each other crossing the street. Then it dawns on you: you never quite knew that there were so many mirrors in the world. You dismiss thoughts of a global conspiracy and of the NSA. But it is scary when you really think about it.

Later, as the day wears on, you realize that you start looking pretty cool in your own way. Dressed to kill, you blend perfectly in with the rest of the masses. You donít give a damn about them. And they certainly donít give a damn about you. And why should they, anyway? Still, you all look so good. You ride the slow, crowded, and worn-out escalator ever downward to the swarming platform below. Youíre reading your latest novel, and the guy on the oncoming escalator is munching on a baguette. You can hear Rammsteinís frustrations pounding out of the headphones of the skinhead behind you. And you see two teenage girls kissing a little ways ahead. You finish the chapter you were on. The metro pulls up and you step inside. You sit down. The person next to you is reading the local newspaper. The news, you assume. But on closer observation you see that theyíre reading the Classifieds. You read the Classifieds too sometimesófor fun, mostly. On one hand, you would like to find someone like you with similar dietary habits and with the same emotional needs. But, on the other hand, you feel you donít care anymore. You want to find love, really, though you never put it quite like that. And youíll be happy when that person comes by. They can smoke, eat meat, live on 300 calories a day or less, shave their head, or whatever. You really wouldnít care. And you wonít say anything. No. Not this time. No. Not anymore, you say. You just donít care because you do. Another big day in the big city, yet you feel so small. You used to love this town. And you say you still do. But somethingís changed inside, and you know it, though youíll never fess up. Youíre in denial about it, like you are about your age, and about most everything else in your life too, for that matter.

Reader's comments on this article

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from cyborcosmic
Friday, November 08, 2002 - 11:12

This is alien to everyone except thouse that are/were in denial. They know exactly what you mean! They are so depressed and then wonder why they feel this way. There is no escape! You may find a way to hide them from yourself but they will haunt you and scare you and stop you from finding peace of mind and happyiness. The one and only escape is through realisation, its the only way to freedom, however painful the realisation of this realisation is, just accept it.
(reply to this comment)
From whoa
Friday, November 08, 2002, 11:40

deep(reply to this comment
from dave
Monday, October 21, 2002 - 18:03

Great bro. Your cerebral type of writing gets my attention every time. With so many pretentious individuals and unoriginal works these days, Alien Photograph is unique, pensive and captivating. Iíve already told you my directing ideas for this one. Iím making pre-production notes for this project in my spare time. Hopefully, in the next couple of years, Alien Photograph will be available to all (in some form or another).

Dave VandaRat

(reply to this comment)
From Tea
Saturday, November 02, 2002, 07:24

Thanx, Dave. What can I say? I just come up with this stuff, but it will take directors/visionaries like you (and others we know) to materialize it all.

Guess I should finish writing the story first, no? :)(reply to this comment
from surf
Monday, October 21, 2002 - 14:05

tea, do you live in Santa Cruz?
(reply to this comment)
From Tea
Saturday, November 02, 2002, 07:10

No. But I did at the time I wrote this. (The greater Santa Cruz area)(reply to this comment
From Tea
Friday, November 08, 2002, 03:34

Don't you just love Capitola and Pacific Avenue? ;P(reply to this comment
from pharmaboy nods in respect
Friday, October 18, 2002 - 08:27

Nice essay Tea, I enjoyed reading it!
(reply to this comment)
from Jerseygirl
Friday, October 18, 2002 - 06:50

Did you write this?
(reply to this comment)
From Tea
Friday, October 18, 2002, 07:51

Yes, I did.(reply to this comment
From Jerseygirl
Friday, October 18, 2002, 08:09

Then I want the full text.(reply to this comment
From Tea
Friday, October 18, 2002, 09:08

I started writing Alien Photograph when I was going nuts back in WS, back when I began writing seriously, back when I had much more time to write than I do now.

Itís the story about a San Francisco photographer that goes to the desert for a few days to clear his head and finds this girl lost and slightly catatonic. Who is she? And where does she come from?

The book will have only three chapters: Memories, Alien Photograph, and Winter in June. Alien Photograph (Excerpt) is our photographer before he meets the girl in the desert and was taken from the first chapter.

The story is far from complete, but I will send you what I have.
(reply to this comment
From Anthony
Saturday, November 02, 2002, 16:44

So, is the girl the alien who he takes a photograph of?(reply to this comment
From Tea
Friday, November 08, 2002, 03:33

I think so.(reply to this comment
From JoeH`
Friday, October 18, 2002, 15:32

good stuff man, I'm impressed(reply to this comment

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