@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
It’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m wide awake. Not surprising, at least not to me. I was so tired last night, so tired I fell asleep before eight, without the help of a little pill or a little laced chocolate or a little hit of anything. Just pure, sober, exhaustion. Sick? No. I think not. I feel fine. Physically, at least.
Peering through the blinds of my apartment window, I thought saw someone standing across the street. No such person was there. It’s a marbled ball atop an entrance way for one of the houses. But I swore for a moment there it was a person. It was you.
There’s a temptation to text someone. Anyone, really. But it’s not God’s hour nor the Devil’s and when you start in too early people assume you’re not okay. You’re loaded. Or not okay. Whichever is worse is reserved for the consumer. It doesn’t matter, I think. I’m fully convinced now, none of this ever mattered.
Haunted by my own dreams every morning, I fantasize about standing on a rock on the East River below Hell’s Gate and blowing my brains out just to have a moments rest that’s not taunted with these strange riddles. Sometimes, they make too much sense. Too much sense that I don’t want to carry in the day. Other times, it’s really up for grabs. What was last nights’ internal cinema? Another reverie in the house on Pease Lane? The childhood home with brother and father and people trying to break in and kill us. Only the inside wasn’t my childhood home at all—it was the interior of my Uncle’s house. And why in God’s name was Rachel Feinstein there? Rachel, a comedian, whom I’m friendly with though I’d hardly consider us friends… why was she there? She’s never been in a dream before. It seems odd. Though maybe not so much. She performed the same venue my writing partner, Nick Griffin, and I performed over the weekend. A semblance of our former lives. We leave residues of our astro-bodies everywhere. My subconscious has a knack for collecting them and then showing them to me when I’m trying to rest. I’m trying to rest, goddamn you. Don’t you understand I’m so fucking tired.
It took all of me not to lay into a middle man yesterday. Well, a woman, really. While working (remote) my phone held on a repeat message from NY Unemployment services. Finally, after four hours, a human. Finally, after months of circles on the websites and letters, a human. Patience, Lori, it’s not her fault. It’s not her fault you’ve been waiting all day. It’s not her fault the state has been denying you assistance. It’s not her fault that ever since I graduated college I’ve been working three jobs at a time, grinding and grinding, and a pandemic hit and you’re down to one job, but because you have one, because you have one part time job, you can’t get any compensation for your lost income. Your vanished career. It doesn’t feel any better to hear it from a human. That you’re not eligible for benefits. Explain to me how people are not working and making $800 a week and because I’m working 20 hours a week pulling in $300 a week I’m entitled to nothing. Explain to me. Because I don’t fucking get it. And it’s not that I’m lazy or unable—I want to work. I want my work back. I want my life back. As odd and underpaid and underappreciated as it was, I want it back. Explain to me, woman who is just reading from a script, how the fuck do you survive in New York on $300 a week because I sure as fuck don’t know how.
That’s what’s so tiring. How much it all still sucks. The pandemic. New York. The democrats. The republicans. The masks. The virus. The news. Social media. Socializing. Not socializing. The excuses. The excuses for your bad relationships. The excuses for my drugs. The excuses for your spending. The excuses for our suffering. It makes me sick. It makes me sick.
I can’t get this lyric out of my head, but unlike a godforsaken song out of a puppets mouth on an animatronic ride, I actually like it. I like it. “Time stands in a duel, and I stand for you.” (Time Stands, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats).
It’s Thursday, I remember. Shit—is it Thursday already? I don’t care for this feeling. That time is an accordion. That March somehow feels like two weeks ago and four years ago simultaneously. I can feel myself getting dumber, and no it’s not the fault of the substances, it’s the lack of stimulation. Which I realize, is somewhat my fault. Oh trust me, I’m aware. I’m aware of all the things I should have completed in this fucked up timeline. Still, I’m catatonic in bracing for more bad news. More sickness, less freedom, more darkness, less activity. The tea leaves predict worse before better. And I could handle this, oh I could handle this for sure as my bottom, but my fear is that it isn’t. This isn’t the bottom at all. It’s just the beginning of the inevitable end. My god, haven’t I always been a believer that endings are better if they are quick, severed and cauterized like a civil war wound? But everything I’ve ever written proves otherwise. Proves I love the prose. I love all the words that happen between Chapter One and the Final Chapter.
I try to think of the things that don’t suck. Pizza. The ocean. The smell of surf wax. My nephew and niece. Ice cream. Misdirection jokes. Literature. Strawberry Lemonade. Psychedelics. Sex. The sound of a master on a string instrument, especially the violin. The fur on a chinchilla. The Hubble telescope.
Time stand in a duel, and I stand for you.
Ignite the stove and fry an egg. Breakfast. A rare meal these days. Usually I don’t care to eat in the mornings. I top it with cheese and wonder about the night I woke up to use the bathroom and put on the light and saw one of those house centipedes on the wall, giant and scary. I killed it. I wondered what would have happened if I just turned off the light and went back to sleep. What kind of person I would be if I were even capable of just turning off a light and going back to sleep. This was not empathy I was feeling for the creature—it’s too hideous a thing for me to conjure up an emotion besides disgust towards it—but rather this idea of timelines and how one stupid little seemingly insignificant decision can ripple out and out and out. And how some days I’m almost convinced I’m going to wake up and none of this is going to be real anymore.
But that’s what death is, I guess. The moment none of this is real anymore. The moment none of this even matters.
It’s Thursday. I remind myself. I have responsibilities. I get to make a hundred dollars today. It’s better than nothing. It’s become so loud to me how much I need not structure but a chaperone. A fucking chaperone. Because I’ve spent too much of my life being an adult that I don’t care anymore. I don’t care. I’d throw it all away to feel things I once felt for even a short moment of time.
Eating is good. I remind myself. Eating makes you live. It’s not bad, my egg sandwich. In fact, some would argue it’s quite good because I even took the time to heat the bread on the skillet with butter, so every bite is savory with grease.
I’ll probably cry today. It’s pointless, I know. To mourn things you haven’t lost yet. Like my apartment. But some days tears are the only evidence I have at all that I’m still a beating heart. That something, somewhere, inside me matters. Thursday used to mean a lot of things. It used to mean comedy. The weekend (also comedy). Work. Play. Pleasure. Promise. Now it means nothing. It’s just Thursday.