Posted by : Patrick | January 8, 2014
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as my apartment and as timeless as tedium. It is the middle ground between flickering light and pulled shades, and it lies on the couch, a lot, remote control in hand. This is the dimension of medication, an area we like to call…The Quarantine Zone.
Yeah, screw you, 2014. You’re the monster on Maple St., the real Martian. You served man all right, and this one was chewed up and spit out. You know, I’ve gotten used to getting sick right around the New Year, so I should have seen this coming, but this time I was tricked into thinking I’d actually get away without a scratch. Boiing!
After a night of countdowns and cheap sparkling cider I was sucker punched, waking up with the kind of sore throat that makes you do anything you can to avoid having to swallow. My own saliva used against me as a torture device. I’m sure you’ve all been there; people are alike all over. So needless to say I had a long day ahead of me. New Year’s Day? Forget that. Not for me it wasn’t, not like that. It had to get worse before it got better, and I didn’t appreciate the symbolism. Existence is in the eye of the beholder.
So I laid out on the couch, motionless as a living doll while the fever took over, and I heard the familiar eerie tune, every half hour, as Rod Serling’s really serious voice narrated my way through an all-day marathon. I started out semi-alert, but after a while the stories began to blend together, jumping back and forth between seasons, Burgess Meredith in everything. In the span of a day I must have seen somewhere bewtween 20-25 episodes, but damned if I know which was what. #6 had the same plot as #16, #3 used sets from #30, and Number 12 looks just like you. Time enough at last to watch one of my favorite shows, but how could I appreciate it when I was singing the body symptomatic?
That night I tried to rest, but when you essentially rest all day you really can’t rest at night, right? Yeah, this is when it got weird. I think I may have dozed off and woken up 20-25 times, and each segment produced a different dream. Know where this is going? They were all in black and white. See the twist? Yep. I created a memory of something that does not exist. There is a heretofore undiscovered 6th season of The Twilight Zone, and it happened in my head. A nightmare at 2.0000 feet (in my bed). It wasn’t terrible, though. Some of them were actually pretty good. I probably should’ve written them down, but I guess all I can say is that at the time I really didn’t care. Sorry. Maybe someday I’ll Wikipedia catalog them.
The next day the fever broke, the sky was opened, and I started my slow recovery in isolation. The howling man was replaced by the coughing man, but because of little interaction with other humans (classic story device), by Saturday only the lonely existed. Where is everybody? Enjoying the new year, probably, while I was simply one character in search of an exit.
Eventually I’ll have my go at it, though, even as the after-effects still linger. Perchance I’ll dream again, and maybe this time 2014 will be kinder. I made it through the QZ, and unlike so many of the poor bastards that got screwed along the way, I’ll likely get a second chance at a January 1.
A new beginning, a fresh start. I still have hope.
After all, it’s a good life.