Limbo

There is something special about the time between 12 and 4am. It’s like the world stands still, and everything is in limbo. I get my best work done during this time, I don’t know what it is about limbo, but it crystallizes my thoughts, and gives me a different perspective on life. Since the ‘Rona struck, I’ve been staying in my house and trying to ignore the constant suffering that seems to have bled into every aspect of life in 2020. At first, I thought that I would adapt, and thrive, but that isn’t the case anymore.

In order to keep from losing my mind even more, I’ve started looking for ways to get out of my head, which for the front half of the year meant mixing bourbon with more bourbon, and writing whatever came to mind. This worked for awhile, but like all things, the usefulness faded over time until I looked at that fucking blinking pixel I hate so much, and had nothing to say. As the weather got warmer, and my insomnia got worse, I needed to find ways to tire myself out. This is where I discovered limbo. It all started one night when I was having one of those days that turn into one of those nights, that turn into that delightful feeling where you stare at the clock at 3am and count down the hours, minutes, and seconds before you have to wake up and be a person again. Obviously, my ” Go to Sleep” cocktail of 20mg of melatonin, a 100mg edible, 6oz of Eagle Rare, and a Zzzquil wasn’t working. At around 3:30, I had an idea: get up and go for a jog. Now, since it was the dead of night, and I’m a degenerate, I figured it’d be fun to roll a joint for my jog, so I did, and after a half-mile and a gram, my eyes started to feel the much-needed embrace of sleep.

This went on for a few days in a row, until I realized that while I was trying to beat my brain into submission, some interesting things came out. First and foremost, I had to make a playlist that encapsulates how I felt, because life is so much better with a soundtrack. After making a 4-hour long “‘Rona Radio” playlist, I started thinking about why people are afraid of the dark. I think it’s because they are afraid of what’s out there, and as I walked around my safe upper-middle class neighborhood, I started thinking about how many people are ruled by the fear of the unknown. I know I definitely am, but the more I walk around at night, surrounded by bears and coyotes and God knows what else, I started to become less afraid. After a few more weeks of nightly walks, I became more comfortable walking around at night than during the day.

As quarantine continued, I started to look forward to these night walks, they were a stable, crystallizing moment of my day where I could think clearly for a change. I think there is something beautiful about night time: it’s incredibly peaceful to be able to walk around by myself and not be bothered by anyone, to have complete silence in a world where everything is so loud all the time.

I’ve been thinking about why this time is so special to me, and I think I can finally put it into words: this is where time stands still. Since most people are asleep, it seems like time freezes, which gives me time to stop and think. I need that now more than ever, and since I’ve had crazy bad sleep problems for a long time, I’m already up, so it fits together very nicely.

The Luxury of Time

I know that many people are stuck inside, and that they might hate it, but it’s a blessing in disguise. You have time now, and time is the most valuable thing in existence. Everybody dies at some point, but not everyone uses their time wisely. I think that we should use this time to explore ourselves and overcome our issues, I know I am.

As fucked up as it sounds, I love this. I love being stuck in my house, and I love not having to make excuses about why I don’t want to go places. I’m also using this time wisely, but I’m also enjoying myself with it. Time is the most valuable natural resource there is, it’s the only thing we can never get more of. (Almost) everyone gets the same amount of time in their lives, the difference is where we choose to focus our time and effort. Let’s look at some famous people: did Einstein spend his time binging Netflix and chasing girls?  No, he was locked in his room making mathematical discoveries that I still don’t understand to this day. Think about where your life would be if you focused your time and stopped fucking around.

I’ve been spending my time realizing all of the creative ideas I’ve brushed aside these last few years, I’ve spent at least 10 hours making videos on Premier Pro, I’ve transcribed all of the ad ideas I’d written on receipt paper into my idea notebook, I’ve worked out my swing so that I’m not rusty for my first day back golfing, I’ve been crushing my schoolwork to the point where I’m a month ahead on my studying, so life’s pretty good for me right now. I’d be a lot happier if all this didn’t come at the expense of thousands of innocent people.

 

Life Before Time

 

The sun hit Danny’s eyes in the worst possible spot, forcibly bringing him back to reality. He looked out the window, saw that it was light out, and began his daytime routine. He made himself breakfast, took a shower, and prepared himself for work.

Today was an important day. Danny had a great job: he was a scientist, but he was struggling to keep up. You see, without a way to measure the passage of time, science is incredibly hard. You can’t test strength, you can’t understand how diseases develop, you can’t know how long your food will be good for, it’s just a mess. Danny’s assignment at work is to create a way to find the strength of certain objects and report his findings. It’s a not a very well run science program.

After finishing his beginning-of-day jog, Danny got in his poorly-made car and began the trip to work. He made it to work incredibly quickly, because without set commute times, people just go to work whenever, and as long as they get their daily duties done, nobody cares when they get there.

As he pulled into his parking spot, he began to feel the familiar anxiety start to build, “How do I fix these problems, I’m not even that good of a scientist, I got my degree online, Hell, I Googled the answers to most of my tests, I can’t actually do anything!” he thought to himself nervously.  Immediately upon entering the building, Danny’s boss, a large, mustachio’d man named Bilson, caught Danny in his sights and homed in on him. “WHERE IS THE STRENGTH TEST RESEARCH ON THOSE STEEL BEAMS DANIEL? I NEED IT ASAP, I’VE GOT A SITE MANAGER BREATHING DOWN MY NECK BECAUSE HE CAN’T START CONSTRUCTION UNTIL WE FIND OUT IF THE FUCKING STEEL BEAMS WILL HOLD UP, SO HURRY UP!”  You could almost see the inevitable heart attack swelling up in Bilson’s chest as he yelled at Danny from across the lobby. “Great start so far.” Danny thought as he stepped into the elevator.

As Danny settled into his station and donned his lab coat, he began to wonder how in the fuck he would solve this problem. The method he had been using wasn’t working, and he was out of ideas for how to determine how strong steel beams were. After using every tool in the lab to try and bend the beams, Danny gave up. He filled notebooks full of things that wouldn’t break steel, but none of those things would be available at the job site, so really Danny was just stalling until something came to him. Nothing did.

Eventually, Bilson fell into a rage-induced slumber, and Danny seized his chance to escape from work.  As he temporarily ran away from his problems, Danny contemplated how he was going to fix this.  He pondered, pacing back and forth around his house, but each idea he had was worse than the last. “Fuck, I’m going to have to update my resume, that’s always such a pain in the dick, I don’t want to have to do that, but I can’t think about anything else right now. Maybe if I lay down and get some rest, it’ll come to me.” he thought to himself while pouring himself another glass of whiskey. Danny couldn’t sleep, even after it got dark and his body was screaming for him to get some rest. All he could think about was how awful work was going to be when he got in. Suddenly, there was a loud “DRIP”. Danny’s sink started leaking, and since he wasn’t a very good scientist, he couldn’t afford to call someone to come fix it, and had to suffer through it. DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP, steadily until it was the only thing on Danny’s mind. He tried to push the sound from his mind, but eventually it was the only thing he could think about. As he continued to be distracted by the “drip”, a thought crept into his mind. “What if I count these?” Danny’s mind sprung to life as he started counting the drops of water from his leaking sink.

The sun rose again, but this time Danny wasn’t sleeping, he was writing. He had spent the whole night counting the drips, until he used what little scientific ability he had to come up with a way to use the drips to calculate how long it would take the steel beams to break. All he had to do was break the sink at work, use the mechanized bending thing in the lab, and count the drips until the beam broke. Danny drove to work excited, he had a solution.

Danny burst into Bilson’s office not wanting to waste any time. Bilson’s office was decorated like a shrine to the God of Douche-bags, with middle-manager motivational cat posters and bonsai trees adorning every possible surface. As Danny came face-to-face with this hulking mass of testosterone and impulse control issues, he began to question his plan. “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT DANIEL? SHOULDN’T YOU BE BREAKING STEEL BEAMS OR SOMETHING?” Bilson didn’t exactly believe in using “Inside Voices”. As Danny pitched his idea to his ill-tempered boss, a change came over him. He began to see the importance in what he had discovered: a way to measure life. He began telling Bilson about how they could use this as a way to keep track of things other than how long it takes to break a beam, this could be the most important discovery ever made. Bilson stared at Danny for a time, taking in the enormity of what he just said. Without showing any emotion, Bilson simply said “You’re free to go Daniel, good work today.” before emailing his boss the same idea, and cutting Danny out of it.

Bilson became the most renowned scientist ever, while Danny went back to his stressful job, always knowing in his heart that his boss screwed him in order to make himself look good.