Thus far my favourite use of the “Personal Growth” category.

People sometimes ask me
“bro, do you work out?”
and I’m all “yeah man, course I do. Can’t you tell?”
(they look at my beer belly and their eyebrow climbs up to their forehead with suspicion)
“Oh yeah?” they reply “what gym do you go to?”
“I don’t” I say “I’m working out all the time and I don’t even need to pay a membership fee.”
(their other eyebrow pulls itself up to hang out with the first one)
“How does that work?” they ask.
“Kegels.” I reply.

If you’re not laughing then I’m probably gonna blow your mind. Kegels are like yoga for your genitals.
To do kegels you basically just have to squeeze the muscles around your sexy bits and it’ll do wonders to help you get even sexier bits.
That’s about it. If you’re a guy you’ll enjoy longer lasting erections, if you’re a gal it’ll help tighten up everything down there and just give better muscle control in general.

I’m basically unemployed, so I’ve been doing lots of clinical trials lately. Thanks to kegels, you wouldn’t believe how good I’ve become at peeing into a cup without spilling a drop. New key skills for my resume, all thanks to kegels!
What’s that? You think it’s stupid? I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over my incrementally increasing virility.
So if you wanna enjoy some awesome downward facing doggystyle, here’s a new workout tool to work out your tool.

One of the best ads I’ve ever seen was on one of those One Day Deal sites. Simple, elegant, subtle. It was just a picture of two laughing mothers pushing prams in a sunny park. Underneath were three words:
“Kegel Balls. $8”
Is that not the most socially acceptable way to call someone out on a loose vagina?
It’s like calling a boring person “nice” or a dumb person ”bubbly”.
Not enough people know about kegels and I feel like it’s calling out for its own infomercial:

Guys, there comes a point in every healthy relationship where she’s gonna say those three words and you might not be prepared.
You’re naked together in bed, looking into her eyes, basking in the glow of lavender scented tealight candles purchased last minute from the dollar store, with the sultry sounds of Boyz II Men’s “I’ll make love to you” pumping out on repeat from the tinny speaker of your off-brand iPod dock when she says it. Those three little words.
What will you do when she says them with dewy eyes, softly, slowly: “Is it in?”

If you plan on having good sex you have no excuse to not be doing kegels.
Have problems being premature? Surely you’re not a selfish prick with a… selfish prick.
Do kegels to get more grow out of your show, get more firm out of your worm.
Want to really blow her mi… uh, vagina, I guess. Kegels!
You know how ladies love diamonds, right? Give her something even harder, kegels!
After doing kegels, my erections are now so strong that half of the women in the audience are now pregnant and I don’t even have a semi.
Ladies, you’re not exempt from this sexercise thing. Kegels are for everyone.
Why settle for a wussy pussy? Even if you’re single at the moment, what happens if you’re trapped on a desert island with a bunch of walnuts and no nutcracker? Kegels, that’s what.

Kegels! Because I’m working out right now and you didn’t even know it.

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Thankfully there’s an app to tell me how awful I am.

Our fridge seems to exist beyond time and space. The Bermuda Triangle has relocated to a unit of whiteware in our kitchen. Things enter and seem to stop, frozen as they were before they entered. It could be that they’re actually freezing, but who knows? Broccoli, kale, apples, carrots (which is basically all I keep in our vegetable crisper, kind of boring) never seem to wilt or decay, staying fresh as the day I bought them. It’s marvelous, actually, given that I haven’t honed down on a specific shopping day to replenish supplies. My schedule is so random (ZOMG, random lol) at the moment, shopping with regularity would be counter-productive to finishing what’s in there (and still fresh). I swear (not gonna pull the Boyz II Men reference, I’ve dropped that one before) that I’ve got carrots that’ve been living in there since before Thanksgiving. I’d still use ’em too. I don’t know if that speaks more to their freshness or my scavenger nature. The people upstairs are moving out and had a box of stuff at the kerb. I looked through and swiped a bunch of canned goods, some of which had passed their use-by date. What kind of things last? It’s something I have no knowledge of. Kidney beans, how far past expiration would they still be good for? Spaghetti sauce? Tinned corn? Does pasta ever go off? I guess I’ll find out by whatever contagion grips my body over the next few weeks. Leprosy may be a sign that the pineapple might’ve been past it.

Pineapple’s interesting actually. I read a week or so ago that if you left a slice of fresh pineapple in your mouth for long enough it’d start eating away at the interior of your mouth, like some ravenous zombie fruit. I don’t know how truthful this is, but apparently there’s an enzyme in fresh (not tinned or cooked, heat kills off the enzyme) pineapple that breaks down proteins. It’s called Bromelain and evidence points to it possibly having anti-inflammatory effects. Regardless of that it works fantastically as a meat tenderiser and goes gangbusters with pork (as most sweet things tend to). I could go for some sweet, sweet pineapple and pork right now. *Drools*

I won’t though, because I’m back on the calorie counting wagon. Something I both love and loathe in close measures. Of course I hate being restricted in what I eat. I love food. I love flavours and how they mix, the joyous union of peanut butter and, well, anything. Chocolate and mint, cheese and, once again, everything. I enjoy the sensation of chewing, the wonderful feeling of biting into a dense substance, the satisfaction of swallowing a well masticated morsel. I love it so much. Too much, really. My lack of control is astounding, I’m sure that I’d be capable of eating 4000 calories in a day easily if not for deep-seated Jewish Mother’s Guilt. I don’t have self-discipline so much as my mother’s voice quietly asking me “do you really need that?” It’s not her fault, I was a fat kid. She did what she could. The thing is, with the lack of intense physical fitness that I’d been participating in back home, I can’t burn off nearly as much as I was. Steps had to be taken (literally and figuratively).

Enter calorie counting. I do it every once in a while when I’m starting some new eating phase. If I try to structure a regular diet I’ll work at a certain caloric base. At the moment I’m going for 1400 calories a day. Yes I’m aware that’s really low for a guy, but I’m living a very sedentary lifestyle at the moment. My decision to cut booze until I have a full-time job (and consequently will be able to afford a gym membership again) happens to work pretty well into it. As it stands my daily intake usually consists of porridge for breakfast with a banana and 12 almonds, lunch is an apple and a tin of tuna, dinner is usually 2 eggs, a large carrot, a mashed sweet-potato and a metric fuckton of broccoli or kale. It doesn’t sound like much because it’s not. I’m well aware though, that sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the things we want. I want to not have to go through the shame of replacing clothes that are too small, so I’m watching what I eat. Calorie counting seems to be even more effective than my inner mother voice at making me really question if I want to eat something. I’d say a psychiatrist would have a field-day with my multitude of body/food issues, but that seems trite. If you’ve been reading this project with any consistency, you’ve probably realised that I could break a psychiatrist with the sheer weight of work that needs to be done piecing together (what could affectionately be known as) my sanity. Run on sentence.

At least my produce isn’t spoiling though.

About that time I saw a person being in a park. It’s about as remarkable as it sounds.

Mood music supplied by CHVRCHES newish album The Bones Of What You Believe. Hopefully the delightful synthpop will influence a cheerier post than yesterday’s introspective sobfest. It happened, these things do. I’m not gonna pretend I don’t get down in the dumps from time to time. Yesterday, for instance, I saw Donald Glover in person. I’m not gonna go so far as to make up some kind of story about having met him, but I still saw him and heard him speak in public. I’m imbued with mixed feelings on the experience. I saw an r/toronto link to the Childish Gambino twitter, announcing a public preview of the new album at 5pm in Trinity Bellwoods. Reading the message at 4pm I figured, why not? That happened.

It was odd coming into the park and seeing disparate clusters of people congregating around a small park table with a dude on it. He was flanked by two speakers, but there was little else. Everyone seemed vaguely cagey, as if sure that they’d been had. Spoiler, he showed up. Not for a while though, about 20 minutes later. No biggie, it was interesting to see everyone cluster around the table. Not too much pushing, but neither did we have respect for personal space bubbles. It was cold, I was kind of glad for the additional body heat. People started climbing trees to get a better view, some local news crews turned up with a cameras and mics. He eventually showed up, going full Moses on the sea of people (obviously not the plague of locusts or death of the first-born) and sat down on the table. He plugged his mp3 player or phone (semantics) in and just started playing the album. It wasn’t nearly loud enough, which was a pity since I actually was keen to hear it. People kept talking and mumbling about possibly being able to catch a glimpse of him, which made it harder to hear anything. It only reinforced my innate misanthropy. A few choice things I heard said:

  • “He won’t come here man, how could he come without heavy security?”
  • “Oh man, I think I got at least 2 instagrammable pics from that.”
  • “Troy and Abed in the moooooorning.” “He mustn’t have heard you man, say it again.” *shouting* “TROY AND ABED IN THE MOOOOOOORNING.”
  • “Hashtag Bass Baptism. Hey guys, Hashtag Bass Baptism, right? That bass.”
  • [in reference to a lyric I can’t remember. Something implying pedophilia] “Holy shit did he just say that? You can’t say that man. You just can’t say that. How did he say that?”
  • “I need a smart question to ask him, I just want him to look at me.” “Ask him how he’s enjoying Toronto.” “OMG, that’s amazing.” *Puts hand up*
  • “Are you still in Community?”
  • “This is literally the best thing that could ever happen. He totally just looked in my direction.”
  • “I wish everyone would stop talking, I can’t hear him at all.”

So many phones, so much recording, so many people taking a photo per second of him just turning his head. I saw people making recordings of other peoples’ phones taking photos of him. What ever happened to just enjoying an experience for what it is? Why does everything have to be documented? Is the validation and jealousy of your peers worth enough to deprive yourself of really feeling something organic? I’m not gonna make a damning statement on the nature of celebrity and the way in which people flock to prostrate themselves in front of the rich, famous and successful, because hey, I was there too. I wanted to hear the album, I’m a fan of the guy from Community as I’m sure many others were too. Just because I’m a misanthropic curmudgeon who despises the overly overenthusiastic, it doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with these people. That likely reflects worse on me than it does on them. Let them have their filtered existence, re-framed through any number of social media outlets (says the guy writing on a public WordPress page, Ed). I’m sure there are other types of interaction it opens up that we never had at their age. I’m just assuming that they were all younger. Must’ve been, or maybe enthusiasm and joy shave off the years. My penchant for drinking the tears of others isn’t exactly like taking a sip from the Fountain of Youth.

As for Donald himself, I was pretty impressed. He stood up once or twice through the album and quietly said a few words, no microphone or anything. Said he wanted the focus to be on the album, thanks to everyone for coming out. After it finished he stayed for about half an hour just answering questions from the audience. He never refused a question, even if it’d already been asked. He just kind of smiled apologetically and repeated a similar answer to earlier with a sorry you couldn’t hear kind of vibe. He answered inane questions with the same weight as more serious ones, most of which I missed the answer to (because people were too busy talking about how they couldn’t hear. Go figure). He honoured someone’s request for a Troy and Abed handshake, which he totally didn’t need to do. Who knows if it was a calculated genial appearance? But he seemed like a genuinely nice, polite dude who was pretty thankful of what he’d achieved (while still aware that he’d worked to get there).

So that was a thing that happened. Am I any closer to having met Dan Harmon yet? Is that how this works?

Let off some steam, Bennett!

Weird mood. Weird mood. I’ve been in a strange, drifting, pseudo melancholy type mood all day and I’ve had trouble shaking it. It’s that sort of existential state where you’ll see things and not react to them, but continually swirl them around in your brain without release. Other thoughts get added to the mix and they all swirl around together, still without release. They build and build, then compound one another, exacerbating the problem. One of my possible outcomes is to purge them in burst of frustration. This might be verbally or physically, exploding in someone’s face or finding some kind of outlet through fitness related means. Hopefully this doesn’t involve hurting anyone emotionally (or physically, obviously), but it can often be a side effect, which is why this kind of emotional damming (it’s emotionally damning too) is hugely unhealthy. So yeah, that’s one outcome. The other (more likely) outcome is to absorb it all and walk around like the undead. Either I stumble around in a generally uncommunicative state or float about lost to the world, errant thoughts popping out without warning. Woe betide anyone who tries to conduct meaningful repartee when I’m like this. The result will usually be a stream of disconnected emotions or self-analyses that few would have a luck unpacking.

I listened to Harmontown today, as I usually do as soon as it’s available, and they were having a discussion about personal motivations and expectations of how people view you. It made me start to think about myself objectively, as a character. I looked into how I function, what I desire out of life and how I go about gathering these things. It’s a disconcerting experience and I still feel a bit jaded having gone there. I figure that like most people (though how do we know how “most people” conduct themselves when they’re realistically a closed off entity, thoughts contained in the inner-sanctum of their mind?) I want love, appreciation, respect and admiration. I feel uncharismatic even admitting these things, but I’m digging this hole, let’s not put away that shovel yet. I’ve spent life gathering people around me, people who have qualities that I seek in myself. I’ve also removed myself from their lives and to a degree, themselves from my life. If love and affection are things that I desire from others, why do I find it so difficult to give them back?

Logically I know that it’s unrealistic to expect these things from others if you’re not willing to reciprocate, but lately I find it so hard to even try. I’ve been feeling like people give so much of themselves to me and I have trouble responding in kind. When someone makes a genuine offer I push them away. I’ve long known that I’m a shitty family member, uncaring and uncommunicative. I don’t know when the last time I spoke to anyone back home was. I’ve been withdrawing again lately and it’s getting harder to want to come back to people. I haven’t made the effort to keep up with friends and family back home and to be entirely honest and candid I haven’t really been missing people. I don’t know how much of this is my cold robot brain kicking in or something else entirely. I get the feeling like without trying, I’ve started to use my reclusive nature as a defence mechanism, a way of pushing people away because I feel incapable of returning the warmth they send towards me. I feel like if I can’t live up to what people provide for me, why try at all? Why do I deserve these people if I’m not willing to at least offer commensurate love? Then this follows down the rabbit hole of why people even take to me at all? What is it that I give people that make them want me in their lives? Whatever it is, I can’t see it.

What have I done to find myself worthy of the appreciation, respect and admiration that I so desire? I look at this comedy thing for instance. The whole idea behind it revolves around a combination of expression and narcissism. I want to get myself out there because I want my voice to be heard. I want my voice to be heard because at some level I must think that I have things worth saying. I must think I have things worth saying because I think highly of myself. I’ve known for a long time that I think I have a sense of humour, yet I find it so difficult to find people on board with my particular brand of weird. Whenever someone “doesn’t get it”, I place the burden on them rather than myself. Justifying my inability to connect as a problem of theirs. Maybe it’s me, you know? Where did this idea that I was ever funny come from? Why did I get the idea that I have things worth saying that others might enjoy? If I even feel these things, why do I seem incapable of getting off my ass and putting myself out there? Money where my mouth is, skin in the game. Excuses are good for nothing but self-deception. If I really feel like I’m worth any of the validation that I so clearly crave, there’s nothing to be done but to do it. Yet knowing this doesn’t move me in the way that it should. I’m fully aware of my own ineptitude in making things happen, where does the motivation come from to push myself out there? How low do I have to sink before I have no choice but to start rushing for the surface? I’ve been low before, I don’t want to have to hit the bottom again and have to come all the way back up.

I don’t even know to what degree these are real, heartfelt feelings or just my perception of how I “must” be feeling. If anyone knows, shouldn’t I? There’s no one more versed in my own isms, affectations and inadequacies, no one more qualified to really pick me apart. Is this just an offshoot of something I’m feeling lately in not having accomplished anything since I got to Toronto? I knew it wouldn’t be a cakewalk, but it feels like the most draining thing to come to terms with is how demotivated I feel and how hard I haven’t been trying to make things happen. What ever happened to my younger self who just wanted to extricate himself from Rotorua? That young twenty-something who was just tired of being alone, so made it happen? That same guy who had a goal to shed the weight that’d burdened him for his entire life, then did it and started to be happy with himself for possibly the first time ever? What happened to the fearlessness of buying a one way ticket and making a life for himself away from everything that had once defined him? How did all of that lead to this? Why, rather than a sense of adventure, do I just feel this intense dissatisfaction with myself? Nothing and nobody else is to blame for the choices I make, so why is my current motivation nothing more than to make excuses and shift the blame?

This is only touching the surface, really. One day, weird mood. I’m sure on the morrow I’ll be back to whatever normalcy feels like. I guess I’d been feeling unfulfilled in not having used the “Self-Loathing” category for a while, so that’ll make me happy. I think I’m fine, really you guys. Perhaps I just needed a chance to vent. Or more likely small neuroticisms built into bigger ones and combined with a number of annoying people throughout my day, which triggered my latent misanthropy and reminded me, for the first time in ages, how little I like most of humanity. Or maybe I’m just cranky because I’ve started calorie counting again. Probably the latter.

What was the name of this project again?

I don’t care if it’s easier to just buy candy. If I haven’t dressed as a sexy pencil sharpener what’s the point?

Halloween was never a big thing back in New Zealand, which sucked for me. I’ve always loved it. I don’t know if it was just a childhood love of all things teeth and claws, superhero and candy, but Halloween seemed everything that all other mainstream holidays failed to do. Not celebrating Christmas, Easter or Hanukkah in a big way, Halloween was the only thing left for me. I guess I could’ve dressed however I wanted any day of the week, but having a socially acceptable chance to mug strangers for lollies was all my Christmases come at once. Primarily because of the previously implied unorthodox Judaism. I wonder if there’s a higher incidence of burglaries on Halloween, it seems so much easier. Just disappear into the crowds and ditch the costume. It seems the best time to re-enact the Dead President robbery from Point Break. Next year, Leon. We’ll see if I’m starved enough for cash by then. Though I think I’d resort to call centre work before I’d stoop to armed theft. Not to disparage gun wielding criminals, I’m sure it’s a career path that requires guts, dedication and a strength of spirit that call centre work just can’t match. Never again (cue being employed in one within 3 months. Karma police no doubt punishing me for my lighthearted support of illegal activity), never again.

I used to roam the neighbourhood with my best friend and come back with shopping bags full of sweets. It never lasted half as long as you’d think it would, half of it consumed on Halloween night en route to getting more. My friend’s family had a massive sack of dress-up stuff and we’d usually just raid the collection and amass some monstrosity out of whatever took our fancy. Like Voltron, but with an unfortunate lack of cat robots. Some strange concoctions we constructed over the years, mine usually involved this coarse fabric Hulk mask that typically lasted about 30 minutes before my saliva stain on the mouth of the mask and inefficient breathing holes became a legitimate concern. When my little Hulk knight spaceman vampire frame started swaying from side to side, oxygen deprivation taking its toll, it was time to shed the hood. Also it was pretty tough to eat any treats under it, a dealbreaker for the ages.

It’s been a pleasure to see just how seriously they take All Hallows’ Eve here in North America. In suburbia, lawns are littered with carved pumpkins, ghouls, gravestones, skeletons climbing out of burial mounds and an array of spooky decorations. We haven’t even had Halloween night itself, but 2 weeks prior everyone started decking out their houses with horror ornaments and trinkets. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen since I’ve been here. So far, here are my favourite costumes:

  • A little girl dressed as a firefighter. She was wearing a helmet and cape, absolutely buzzing. Running down the sidewalk hollering out her best fire-truck alarm. It epitomised so much of what I love about the holiday. She was so wrapped to have the chance to be whatever she wanted and she chose a costume normally laden with gendered overtones. Oblivious to this, she was having the time of her life.
  • Some woman on the TTC in what I can only describe as a literal embodiment of the word “zap”. Bright green hair, plastic neon adornments, oversized lightning bolt earrings. Rad to the max.
  • A bottle of Sriracha sauce, complete with nutritional information on the back.
  • Boo from Monsters Inc. A great slapdash effort that multiplied the coolness of her hoodie by a factor of ten.
  • Sharknado (which had me yearning for a Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws outfit. Next year, Leon), festooned with mini plastic sharks.

In a related note, I still have yet to see a great Sharktopus costume. Halloween isn’t over yet.

I went as Al Borland (a quick googling of the correct spelling reveals the greatest horror of all: that there’s a Home Improvement wiki. It was updated a mere 4 days ago. Fuck everything forever.) simply because I’m currently 2 weeks into a 3 week beard and I didn’t want to shave prematurely. Hence my previous Ron Swanson idea kind of died (faced its Ron Swan-song, if you will). Still, I’ve got another Halloween party on Thursday. I could well find a moustache and a meat tornado to breathe some life back into everyone’s favourite libertarian. I wonder if I can find a circular desk at short notice.

Cashmere: The paid paper (find the right accent. It’ll make sense).

My new favourite toilet paper brand is called Cashmere. It’s soft, absorbent and of an alabaster shade. That’s fine, whatever. The thing I really like is the tagline: Nothing feels like Cashmere. It’s an amazing exercise in ambiguity. On one hand I think they’re probably shooting to convey the idea that the brand has a unique texture, a softness that’s all its own. While others may seek to imitate its luxurious weaves, they’ll only fall by the wayside. Imitators all come and go, their worthless frames piled in the nether reaches of supermarket aisles, while Cashmere reigns supreme.

On the other hand that uniqueness works as an insulation against potential complaints. Just in case the feeling is so jarring, so distant from learned consumer expectations of their shit sheets. “What do you mean it didn’t feel like toilet paper? We told you that Nothing feels like Cashmere. What business do you have in bringing your expectations from other brands to the table?” Consumers getting served. Yo.

I also like the eventual movement (heh, movement. It’s funny because poop) into a defeatist stream of thinking. Cashmere as a material has a reputation to uphold. It’s instantly known as a fabric that brings absolute comfort and softness. The phrase Nothing feels like Cashmere seems like an honest cynic’s way of looking at it. “Well of course we realise that it doesn’t feel like Cashmere. You’re talking about a fabric, we’re using the name Cashmere as an evocative statement as to the comfort and quality of our brand. It’s deliberate associative hyperbole and it’s a pervasive advertising technique. We know that Nothing feels like Cashmere, we’re just trying to say something that speaks to the perceived qualities of our brand.”

Then again, in the right light it can also be seen as an existential outlook over the comfort within the absence of feelings. Nothing feels like Cashmere. In giving yourself to the void known as “nothing” you’re allowing yourself to be enveloped by a softness that mutes all other sensation. The lack of existence is welcoming in a way that the daily tedium is not. Life sometimes beats you down. You can find yourself putting everything you have into the aether and getting back nothing in return. Or worse, you give of your soul to the world and it comes back in tatters. Escaping all can inoculate you from the festering poison of life, slowly worming its way through your psyche. They might as well have written Cashmere, life hurts, death is painless. Wait, did I just conflate toilet paper with suicide? At least it’d be absorbent.

Bleak.

An argument for or against electronic music?

I don’t think the doctor expected me to exclaim the word “terrific” when he asked how I was post MRI. I don’t think I did either. Going in without really knowing what it entailed beyond “sitting still”, I was pretty unsure as to what I should expect. I thought it’d just be a boring experience where I lay prostrate and waited for it to be over.

Right from the start it put me in a strange place. First off I got to wear those nifty hospital gowns where your bum hangs out, but with the added bonus of wearing pants. +1 already. Secondly they offered me the chance to “double bag it”, chucking on two gowns, one to hide my bum and the other to hide my front bum. I went for the classic number instead, choosing for the more aerated option that left me with a breezy back. I sat down and she asked me some questions, then stuck Vitamin E capsules to multiple points on my head with crazy glue. Apparently it gives them good points of reference for alignment or something. “Don’t worry, it’ll all come off with crazy glue” she assured me. “If it doesn’t, I guess I’ve got a free Hellraiser costume for Halloween tonight, then” I replied.

They brought me to the MRI room, now that I was stripped of metal objects and items vulnerable to Fucken’ Magnets. I was asked a series of questions for the second time to ensure that this massive magnet wasn’t gonna kill me. “Any metal implants?” They asked. “In your eye?” I was gripped with a brief moment of horror as I imagined a shard of shrapnel coming loose and ripping through my eyeball, only to hold fast against the inside of an MRI. Eye violence, not even once. They lay me down and aligned me with the head cradle. I was given earplugs and a bunch of padding to ensure my head didn’t move, then they gave me a blanket and tucked me in nicely. “It’ll be pretty loud and you might feel some vibrations. Some people even manage to fall asleep, so you could just take a nap if you want.” The bed/tray thing I was on retracted into the machine and I was snugly tucked in, much like a bug in a rug (which I’m assuming to be bug sized in this scenario. Just because the two rhyme, that doesn’t mean a literal fit for a miniature insect). “Cosy eh?” he asked/remarked (I’m still not sure if “eh” necessitates a statement or question here) “just imagine if you were 300 pounds.”

I examined my surroundings, as Dungeons and Dragons has taught me well. I was enclosed on all sides to about my waist. Looking directly upwards there was a small mirror that showed the world outside my feet. The longer I looked, the more constricted I felt. The world seemed to close in around me and my heart started to beat. So, I thought, this is what claustrophobia feels like. I felt trapped and more than a little antsy. I closed my eyes, which made me feel instantly better. I heard a voice on the intercomm “we’re just gonna run a short test, you’ll hear some loud noises. It’ll be done in 30 seconds.” The speaker blared a bunch of beeps and buzzes. The closer I listened, the more each buzz seemed to warp and shift. My mind started to drift, then almost as soon as it started, it had ended.

What followed were a number of short tests that ranged from 6-9 minutes in length. Some might feel bored, or that the noises and vibrations were intrusive in such a confined space. To me it sounded like a Dan Deacon concert. I found myself mentally drifting off, withdrawing into my subconscious. The padding keeping my head in place was a godsend, otherwise I likely would’ve been bobbing and nodding my head in time to the beat my mind had constructed from the dissonant beats and blips. My body started to feel fuzzy and I straddled the border between dreams and wakefulness. I saw flashes and lines of colour, strange shapes formed in front of my eyes. My latent synaesthesia started to kick in as it occasionally does. I remember being vaguely conscious of my surroundings, knowing where I was enough to not move, but exploring the space beyond the physical realm. I think I might have started to lucid dream, exploring the solar system, orbiting the planets and star clusters. I was gone far from the place we inhabit, until the feeling of light beat down upon my eyes. I’d been pulled out.

I felt superb, like when you’ve just woken from an amazing sleep. My body was humming and my mind started darting around like an eager pup. “How are you feeling?” the doctor asked. “Terrific” I exclaimed. I meant it. I practically floated out of there and was brought back down to earth as the study leader began to pluck vitamin capsules from off my face, erasing the evidence with alcoholic wet wipes. “How was it?” she asked. “Unexpected” I replied.

I left the hospital, put on some Dan Deacon and started feeling aftershocks.