Sleeping in an unventilated room after a curry has its bad points.
That is my first thought for the day.
I drift up from a bizarre dream about kneeing the late Dennis Hopper repeatedly in the groin. As I sit up in bed, the stone-cold sober reason for this violent reverie slips beyond my beyond my reach, and I am left wondering what it was all about.
The room is dark, the shadows in the corner still digesting their fill of midnight, but some sun is visible at the edges of the blackout curtains; it's daylight out.
My second profound thought for the day is that something is wrong. That something other than the smell is demanding my attention.
I have learned the hard way to pay attention to these feelings.
I squint at the clock, sans spectacles; it looks like 7:30. Do I need to be somewhere? I think hard for a moment and finally decide that it's Thursday. Last day of June. Thirty days hath September, April, June and... okay, Thursday June 30th. Nope, nowhere to be. Well, not urgently, anyway. Just the office when I get there.
I'm thirsty and take a long drink from the pint of Summer Fruits on the bedside table. Do I need to pee, maybe? Nope.
I swing my legs off the bed and hear myself cough. The dim room suddenly feels airless and small. Panicked, I stumble across to the window and tear the curtains apart. Bright, warm sunlight explodes into the room, but a second's work with a handle adds the noise and the refreshing air of the street into the mix.
I stand, clinging onto the frame, almost gasping. What the hell is wrong with me? I've not felt claustrophobic like that in years.
A motorist blows his horn and shouts something cheerily offensive my way. I realise that I'm naked and in full view of the street. A passing police horse whinnies nervously.
Stepping back from the window, I realise I'm standing on my discarded clothes from the night before; I've trampled them almost flat in fact. Good grief, that's impressive; I must need to shed a few pounds? I lower myself onto the edge of my bed and try to gather my thoughts.
What set me off? What am I trying to remember? A doctor's appointment? The dentist? No on both counts.
The corner of the room to the left of the window catches my eye. Something looks out of place. Has a picture fallen off the wall? Nope, and my hat's still hanging there. I stare at it for a while, but it's like one of those tedious spot the difference puzzles, and my attention wanders.
I yawn and rest my head in my hands. A breeze moves past me, and I jerk up, startled. My empty bedroom yawns back at me.
Get a grip, Indigo. Get on with the day.
I yawn and shuffle off towards the bathroom. Gathering my towels, I dump them on the edge of the sink opposite the shower. I open the bathroom window to get some air through, and again stand taking lungfuls of fresh air.
The breeze closes the bathroom door behind me.
There's traces of the smell from the bedroom in here, and I wonder if I might have trodden something unmentionable upstairs from the street. Looking down, I see a few strands of dry grass that I must have carried in from the garden somehow, but nothing that looks responsible for the earthy, almost animal odour.
I struggle with the shower door; it seems jammed. Getting it open halfway, I start the shower and squeeze inside a few seconds later. The water is cool and refreshing as I shampoo and rinse. As I lather up some shower gel, it occurs to me that I may have overlooked someone's birthday.
My recent record has not been good; I forgot iDifficult's 'til midday, and almost forgot Yavin's completely. Both were cool about my absent-mindedness, but I wasn't. My memory seems rather detached of late. Perhaps the humidity of the early English summer is not agreeing with me? I'm not sleeping well.
Damn, I have soap in my eye. A quick rinse doesn't help, and I rub at it as I fumble with the shower door. It opens easily, and I stretch blindly across in the direction of the sink. Miraculously, my grope finds a towel first time, and I dab the liquid away until the stinging stops. Tossing the towel back, I retreat to the cubible and finish up.
A few minutes later, I step out and take the worst of the water off. The room seems darker now; the sun must have retreated behind clouds. Absently, I hear myself clear my throat again. For the second time, a small small room feels suddenly smaller, and claustrophobia rises in me. Opening the bathroom door with a clatter, I step through and close it behind me hurriedly.
Okay. Wow. That's better. What is wrong with you, Roth?
As I head through to my bedroom, I notice more dry grass on the landing, and resolve to vacuum when I get home from work. My head feels clearer as I finish drying off, and everything now looks to be in its place. I quickly slip into today's clothes, put my glasses on, and head downstairs for breakfast.
Five minutes later, I sip at my sweet black coffee in my kitchen diner and spoon down some bran flakes with cold milk. Everything tastes delicious, and the room is bright and open. I'm still bemused by my panicky episodes upstairs.
On cue, the bathroom door rattles. I sigh. Damn, I've left the windows open; I'll need to head back up before I leave the house. Suddenly aware of the wind outside, I listen to the house move around me. The floorboards of the landing complain of some lost burden, and then the stairs creak gently on the edge of my hearing.
After washing my bowl and cup, I turn as the hallway darkens a little and then brightens again; wow, the wind must be really driving the clouds past the sun. Moving into the hallway, I remember the windows, and step upstairs to close them and fetch my cellphone. It takes all of thirty seconds to reach the hall again, and I sit at the foot of the stairs to put my shoes on.
As I gaze towards the front door, something nags at me, and I get another sense that I am overlooking something.
Something really big.
A few seconds later I'm relieved to step into the street and slam the door behind me. Heaving a sigh, I gaze up at a radiant sun in a cloudless sky. A gentle breeze stirs the early morning air.
Wow, I'm really out of sorts this morning.
I decide to walk to work. It's a beautiful day, and the walk will help clear the inexplicable claustrophobia from my head.
Humming a cheery tune, I stroll away from the house.
As the front door slams, the elephant stands in the hallway by the front door and marvels at the dogged fool retreating down the path.
The elephant is used to being ignored by a group of embarrassed or blinkered people in a room; these days, it is almost his job description.
But he's never been ignored by one man on his own.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2010