Upon Awaking Amidst Pandemic

Which regret, passion, or obsession peopled the nightly clash between my id and my superego?

In the boudoir of my dreams, I seduce and am seduced. My trophies of failure form legions at the foot of my bed. My aspirations sneak out the back door. Every act is coated in an oily substance of recrimination. Wives, lovers, and others compete for my unconscious regard during REM.

Last night, I was forgiven by wives, lovers, and others for my sins of commission, but not for my sins of omission. Last night, wives, lovers, and others brushed their Memphis barbecue sauce of approval and rubbing alcohol of disapproval over the carcass of my best intentions.

Last night, my children withheld, withheld, and withheld still more for all the right reasons, because parents too often misplace their humanity because the debt collector is on the phone. Sometimes, they lavished me with their affection, but for the wrong reasons, because parents are the undercover bosses of the galaxy.

Last night, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva danced amid a field of Lilies of the Valley blossoming, wilting, dying, and blossoming again. The dance of Brahma inspired the dream about me raising lobsters in the urinal of my college dormitory’s communal bathroom. The dance of Shiva inspired the dream about me wallowing in school, unaware of my schedule, unprepared for class, negating my learning, expelled as an outsider. The dance of Vishnu inspired the dream about a costume party on a voyage into deep space, when I surreptitiously arranged for the Canadian astronaut, dressed as an Indian in full headdress, to receive the last piece of cake while the hungry Soviet astronaut, dressed as a cowboy, had turned his back.

As the sun announces another day, I thrash towards the surface and desperately grasp onto my ego, the detritus of the night washes away from memory, and I lay in bed, licking the wounds inflicted by my ethereal combatants.

As I awake, the distance between my night and day feels like a demilitarized zone with hostile forces on either end defending their territory through hi-powered rifles loaded with fear and doubt. The comparative banality of my evening descent into ritual self-flagellation is my comfortable South Korea. The morning’s journey into my North Korea of real, waking life during pandemic welcomes me like a barefoot stroll on broken glass coated in dog shit.

I wonder with low expectations, if the world has blown itself up overnight. I wonder if the earth that mistook itself for heaven yesterday returned to its rightful place in the order of the universe. I wonder if the Goths and Visigoths who govern us are still fighting to claim the last morsel of reason dropped on the floor by the Greatest Generation. I wonder why more people aren’t rioting in the streets. I wonder why more people are not doing their part. I wonder if Dr. Fauci is safe. I wonder if our government is actually lying to us more than in the past.

And then, when all the questions are answered to my satisfaction, I leave my bed and begin the daily pharmaceutical regime, followed by whatever piece of processed crap I anxiously cram into my gullet. Then I open the fire hydrant of information over the tubes; pundits shouting ever more loudly, competing with each other to convince me that all hope either is or is not lost.

Silently, at 7:53 AM, I begin my assessment of the chances that I will survive another day.

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