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June 17 1998, Wednesday



  woke up this morning feeling hungover, which was odd, since I'd drunk no alcohol last night. At first I attributed my malaise to the fact that I'd stayed up until 3am last night.

From out of the window of my childhood home, I saw a mother Wood Duck with six little babies swimming up the stream and foraging among the sedges. One doesn't see things like that in Charlottesville. Still, it's not an especially common occurrence around here either, and it excited my mother no end.


'd eaten lots of chicken last night. My mother often fries up a couple heaping pans of it when my Dad is away, since he's grown to dislike it, viewing it as a greasy extravagance. There's always chicken left over whenever my mother makes it, so today Hoagie, Don and I ate a bunch of it cold. I wasn't feeling especially hungry, but I figured (as I normally do) that any food I ate then would be less food I'd be craving later. Big mistake.


  was sitting in front of the computer when I realized that I had grown rather nauseated. I tried to sit down and wait it out, but it was there, and it wasn't going anywhere. Maybe if I went up to my bunk to lie down...

But in my bunk, the nausea wouldn't allow me to fall asleep. I stuck my head out the window and tried to puke, but I have a cast-iron gastronomy, and nothing would come forth.

Eventually I fell asleep, but it was not a very restful sleep, and occasionally I'd surface into a sort of waking delirium as my body kindled an ever-hotter fever. I tried to puke several more times, conjuring up the most disgusting visions I could:

  • an ashtray containing a big greasy porch chop, the grease congealing in a massive puddle into which a cigarette was being ashed
  • a greasy undercooked chicken drumstick, with the meat torn away to real a bloody sheath around the bone

I gave up completely. My intestines ached from seemingly all along the line. The very cells of my body, even far from my abdomen, seemed to have caught fire. I rolled around seeking what comfort I could, but it was no use. I could do absolutely nothing to escape my torture. So I moaned and imagined that this is what it must be like to die.

By this point, of course, my parents had all returned from wherever they'd been, and they expressed some mild concern. They've seen it all before, though, and they weren't especially alarmed. They watched the news and played with the computer in the downstairs part of the Shaque as usual, mostly ignoring my moans.

My mother eventually cleaned out the bathtub for me and I mustered the strength to walk to the house to take a bath. The hot water felt so good, I wasn't even concerned by its rich tea-like brown colour. What bothered me more was the toilet's flushing mechanism, which I couldn't jiggle into silence no matter what I did.

I was already semi-delirious, but the heat of the bathwater heightened it. Returning to my bunk, I passed into and out of both sleep and delirium. In my delirium, I didn't view my body as an independent entity at all, it was a set of independently functioning components strewn around my bunk with other components, the blankets and pillows. And small features on my body (my genitalia, for example) were, I believed, insignificant decorations or only modestly useful apparati, much like the faucets on the outside of a house.

As I thrashed around seeking comfort, I had a delirious existential realization: that the world couldn't ever be made right, that components could never be assembled into working wholes. This thought depressed me a great deal.

I woke up in the middle of the night and my pain was so great that I had to do something. I climbed down from the bunk and started up the Macintosh, intending to research Salmonella poisoning. But stretched out on the couch, waiting for the computer to start, I realized I was actually rather comfortable. Then Tool's Aenima started playing automatically from the Mac's CD player. For some reason the music had the effect of further relaxing me, and I soon fell asleep.


one year ago
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