Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Catching Ant's Disorder

www.Army.milImage by The U.S. Army via Flickr


I have resolved that from this day on, I will do all the business I can do honestly, have all the fun I can reasonably, do all the good I can WILLINGLY, and save my digestion by thinking pleasantly.---Robert Louis Stevenson

Where eerie figures caper
to some midnight music
that only they can hear.
---The Book of Counted Sorrows


I think I'm coming down with Ant's Disorder.

Ant, my ex-roommate here at the U.S. Vets homeless veterans shelter, basically hermited himself in this room playing with
his machine. He didn't go downstairs for free breakfast or free dinner. Instead, he loaded up on chips and sodas from the 99 Cent Store like some sort of Mormon survivalist with a five year supply of dry goods in his bomb shelter.

Ant didn't go outside to feel the sunshine on his face or smell the roses or chat with the
other inmates. He just lied there in his bunk bed, playing his beloved 'Civilization II', the controler joystick a technomorphilogical extention of his arms and hands, the irridescent glow of the game monitor his mesmerizing siren box, the place where eerie figures capered to some midnight music only Antony could hear.

I'm getting like that, especially now that I have internet access in my half of the room.

"My
half of the room" : seems strange to still be saying that after having the whole room to myself for over a month since Ant bugged out.

Slowly and against my better intentions, my crap has been migrating over to what
is supposed to be the vacant half of my room. The vacant half doesn't belong to me. It belongs to whomever moves up here after having completed the Veterans In Progress program downstairs . . . whether he be messiah or manic, it's not my choice.

I was reminded today that the vacant half of my room wasn't mine when the assistant property
manager popped his head in my room, looked at all my migrated crap on the vacant half---towels draped over the denuded bunk bed, magazines on the otherwise empty study desk, dumpsterware strewn throughout---and he looked confused for a moment and then asked, "This is a two-man room, right? One of 'em's vacant, right?"

That's right.

"Oh, didja wanna show it?" I asked, swinging my legs out of my invention, my bedasizer.

The
assistant property manager, Brian, is the guy who shows the rooms to graduating VIPs.

"No, no," he answered, handing me a notice that the rooms would be inspected tomorrow by the
property management team to check for faulty smoke detectors, litter, and to ascertain what improvements need to be made or what needs to be repaired.

Ha! That'll be the day. What they're coming up here to check for is pot-motivated bypassed
smoke detectors, liters (of vodka?) and to ascertain if there are any squaters living up here on the generosity (or sex-cravings) of the tenants.

The repair they prefer to do around here is to
repair some contrabanding veteran out the gates. But I have digressed too much. I started out telling you how I think I may have contracted A.C.A.A.D., Ant's Chronic Accumulative Agoraphobia Disorder, known colloquially here as GPers Disease because it mostly infirms those of us living up here in General Population, where we have everything we need in our rooms and little, very little, motivation to mix with the broke-ass, begging and borrowing, cigarette-bumming, transportation-wheedling, overly needy, slow repaying, fresh-off-the-street, often hygienically challenged V.I.P.s downstairs.

I mean to tell you that I've got everything I need up here in my half of the room. I've got a
two month supply of toilet paper. I've got steaming crab cakes cooling off on my dresser and popcorn popping in my microwave and coffee brewing in my Mr. Coffee and I've got a five year supply of shampoo and toothpaste and exotic soaps and 29 DVDs of recently released movies to watch if I want and 38 dumpster-provided music CDs to listen to on my boombox and an illegal refrigerator full of snacks, sodas, pickles, dumpster sushi and microwave dinners and I have the internet and a fax machine and a cell phone and a land line and books---oh my, have I got books, hundreds and hundreds under my bed, in my drawers, on my shelves and in my heart---so why the hell I need to leave this . . . this . . . this sanctuary, this overstocked place of brief surcease from the sorrows of the world, especially as they are represented downstairs?

"Brief surcease from the sorrows of the world." I like that. Nice phraseology. Gotta remember
that one. So, why leave it at a brief surcease? Why not increase the peace with an extended surcease? It's Ant's Disorder, I tell ya. I think I've got it. I'm going hermit.

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