You wake up at noon.
Or rather, at noon:
Gathering Potential of Self-Disgust (n) becomes so great that it exceeds Power Required For Upright (α).
∫= Lim(n→∞) ≥ α
∴∫ = 12:00, but First Alarm was set for 7:59 and you attained full consciousness when Backup Alarm Sounded at 8:03.
Technically you are awake; you are no longer at rest. Technically you are not awake; you have no momentum. You exist at the theoretical intersection between one state and another. You are paradox.
Isn’t that plasma, the simultaneous embodiment of two states? But plasma is the kind of state that gets shit done. Plasma doesn’t lounge, doesn’t dilly-dally, doesn’t mope. Plasma TCOBs.
And still has time for brunch. You are not plasma.
You set alarms at odd increments because of a superstitious but pervasive belief that round numbers are unstable harbingers of cataclysmic doom. You know this is small-minded, medieval absurdity. What you really need in your life is entropy.
Chaos. Embrace it. Lean into it. Stand at the brink of it with your arms spread wide.
But this turns your stomach. And so.
Odd numbers offer a sense of control, however spurious. Prime numbers, ideally. But never 9:11.
You stare up at the ceiling. You try to count the popcorn. An exercise in futility but what isn’t, really, if you step back far enough? That star you photographed last night burns at a brilliant 25,000,000°F but on your phone it’s a blurry white soon-to-be-deleted smudge.
You spent the morning in bed: Just really needed a few extra winks and oh goodness wasn’t that refreshing? Biiiiiiiiig stretch!
You spent the morning in bed: The narcotic morning-wood cobwebs fall away and you are confronted immediately with Possibility. Possibility becomes Potential becomes Pressure as your body grows increasingly dense at a geometric rate. You are crushed down into the bed, a star collapsing in on itself. The hydrogen of your skin fuses with the hydrogen of the sheets in an astronomic explosion of light and helium.
But your eyes are closed and the helium has no odor. Your prodigious ability to hit snooze is not diminished by mere nuclear fusion.
A single hydrogen atom carries a potential energy of 150 megawatts.
There are 4,700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 hydrogen atoms in your body.
Science tell us (and Science tells us Science is to be believed) that time is an illusion and every moment is immeasurably vast. Between First Alarm and Finally Throwing Off Covers In Burst Of Impotent Rage®, an aeon passes. Theoretical, unprovable, but real. A quantum generation. Everything is always happening somewhere. Somewhere the cat is alive, somewhere the cat is dead, somewhere the cat smokes a cigar and pilots a speedboat christened Fuck Your Paradox through crystalline waters.
Every moment is infinite. A morning is a lifetime:
You awake refreshed. You meditate (the full twenty minutes without scratching your ear). You journal and there are Intense Emotional Breakthroughs. You do pushups+pullups+abs until you collapse and then again, and then once more, as a Tabata set. You write that email to your mother that explains everything. You toast a bagel with schmear and linger over it, reading the New Yorker. You read every New Yorker, back to February 1925. You write a New Yorker article so you can read it. You illustrate the cover. You receive an award for the artistry of the illustration, and then blowback from an advocacy group for the content of the illustration. You successfully defend your position on a public radio program and the podcasted version of the program goes viral. You write an essay criticizing the mythos of virality and you bike to the farmer’s market. You purchase berries. You purchase chard. You know exactly what chard is and precisely what to do with it, but you are humble in the security of this knowledge. You purchase tamales from an old woman with a cooler. You overhear a pretty girl with a green vintage dress and a tiger tattoo say she is disappointed that there are no more blue corn left. You offer to share. You sit on astroturf and eat tamales. You eat berries. You learn the sign language for turtle. You kiss the muscle on the inside of her calf, just above the little constellation of moles. You are unsettled by her, your gravity rearranged by the introduction of this new stellar body. You hook your foot around her ankle when you sleep, as if she might drift away. You have a furious and inane debate about the merits of the Montessori school system. You scream at her and you apologize and she buys you ice cream presented with a taught smile. You humor her father. You let her do butt stuff, but just a little. You find vomit flecks behind the toilet months after Valentine’s Day. You sit quietly while she says the worst thing anyone has ever said to you. You watch her fall asleep with her head on your stomach. You convince her it’s okay to valet sometimes. You write her a song. You put the song online. You title it something no one will ever find but they find it anyway. You argue with a Neo Nazi who keeps posting that the song is a veiled homage to Hitler. You adapt the song into a story and they make the story into a movie. You sit next to her at the premiere. You grab the last ahi tartare for her and she pinches the fat on your side and tells you she is proud of you but you can see in the depths of her eyes that she is disappointed. You paint a bathroom and are surprised at the sharpness of your masking tape lines. You try to barbecue chicken but the tank runs out midway through and you have to toss the half-raw marinated breasts. You toss the marinade a year later. You agree to couples therapy though you resent it. You consider fleeing to Croatia but there are no direct flights. You ride a theme park attraction based on the movie. You can tell that she loves it, but you are concerned because she is newly pregnant. You allow an Asian company to manufacture miniature vinyl versions of the ride. You buy a house with a sweeping view of the Pacific on a street with a convoluted Spanish name. You pay a small muscular gay man with a theology degree to buy your berries and tamales. You stand and watch the sea for hours. You are sued by a class action that alleges that the miniature vinyls cause canine sterility. You defend yourself in court, successfully, and your closing argument brings the jury to tears. You adapt the experience into a rock opera. You see the Neo Nazi in the audience, and even though he tells you after that he liked it, you can see in the depths of his eyes that he is disappointed. You are surprised at the violence with which you must bounce your infant son to lull him to sleep. You cry at his wedding when your wife is able to dance with him despite her illness. You talk constantly about the weather. You bribe your daughter to come back from the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan and you mountain bike with her girlfriend. You obsess over the perfect stir-fry. You wear a diaper on your deathbed. You kick your weak and frail legs in your morphine stupor. You flail at the air, beg your wife to hold your hand but she was gone long before. You are certain you see a wormhole but you don’t seem to have enough Membership Points to enter. You have a last thought but you don’t realize it’s your last thought so you don’t think to remember it.
Somewhere in the universe, barely audible, a shrill and steady pulsing.
The death rattle of an old star. The birth pains of a new one.
It is 12:01:01.
About the AuthorMatt Wyatt is a writer and director living in Los Angeles. He likes a good muffin. You can see more of his work at daughterandsons.com