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Oct 4, 2011

The Nitty Gritty, Part 1: Bugging Out

"Madness was thus a desperate, acute phase in the trial and redemption of souls, because it brought a sinner into a state of crisis, and provided the prelude to recovery."
                    Madness: A Brief History

                                 The following took place between 
                           September 3rd and September 8th, 2010



            It all started with the ants.
            There is no way that I can ever be sure, but that would be my best guess. I noticed a line of ants starting inside my bedroom closet and  leading toward my bed. I couldn't stand the thought of any kind of insect crawling on me while I slept. The thing with ants is if I find just one on me, even if I know it was acting alone, I can be sure that my mind will convince my body that more are making their way through the hairs on my arms and legs. This Seven Nation Army of ants had to be wiped out before I could even consider getting in my bed, where I had been spending the majority of my days and nights. I got down on my hands and knees for a closer look. No matter where I focused my eyes  I could see them moving through the carpet fibers. I sprayed any chemical that I could find under my sink that had a nozzle. To my amazement, the combination of an insanely ridiculous amount of dollar store glass cleaner, Lysol Disinfectant, and Axe Body Spray (Dark Temptation) had no effect as an ant killer. But my carpet sure smelled good.

            I finally was distracted from the onslaught of  pretty smells that I was laying down on this ant farm being cultivated in my room when I received a text on one of the 2 phones I was carrying. Why 2 phones? A week earlier I left my Blackberry in a cab on the ride home from Gun Club Road after spending the night in jail for a DUI while driving on a suspended license.

            Not realizing that the nethermost point of my 5 year downward spiral was just days away, my first priority was obviously getting a new phone, even though the "Let's hit the Ave" invites, calls from friends, and anything resembling a social life had all but ceased due to the effective job of gradually isolating myself over the last year. Nonetheless,  I drove to the mall on my suspended license and bought a phone. At some point in the next few days, there must have been some kind of crazy mix up with the sim cards in the new phone and an old one that had not been used in 2 years. There was no other way that I could explain why I was suddenly receiving text messages on both. Instead of calling Sprint, I logically just carried both phones with me everywhere. While doing battle with the ants, I heard a text alert. This particular text showed up on the old phone. It was from a female friend who used to live in my building. It read 'OMW with my sister". I thought it was a little odd that she had already departed Atlanta on an unannounced road trip to visit me in South Florida, especially  since I had not seen her in about 5 years.

            I really did not want company. I was going through a severe depression. It was not severe enough that I wanted to kill myself, but bad enough that I hoped I would die in my sleep rather than wake up to another day of the living hell my life had become. The only problem with that thought was that I could not sleep (okay, maybe that wasn't the only problem). For the past 5 months, I either did not sleep at all or I got maybe 2 hours of sleep at the most. Between the stress of trying to find a job and the general physical and mental agony that comes along with struggling to kick a 5 year addiction to painkillers and xanax, a good nights sleep was not to be had. Last week's DUI didn't help the situation. I didn't have much left to lose. I told  myself that if had the option of never having been born, I would have gladly taken it. After you admit something like this to yourself, doing laundry and cleaning your room is not exactly a top priority. I figured maybe a visit from an old friend may be exactly what I needed, besides my very own episode of Intervention. But, if there was actually going to be female setting foot in my apartment for the first time in almost a year, I needed to dig deep in order to find the motivation to even pick up the dirty laundry piled up on my floor and at least hide it in my closet. Actually doing the laundry was just too overwhelming of a task to even consider. You may as well have recommended that I do something as ambitious as shave or do the dishes. It wasn't going to happen.
            I wasn't sure what time to expect them but I knew I had to do something to make this disaster of a room presentable before the twins arrived. I looked around my room, not even knowing where to begin when I heard a knock on my apartment door, I figured the girls had arrived. That was fast. I looked through the peephole, I could only see that there were two people at the door, but I couldn't make them out. I assumed it was them and opened the door. Nobody there. I went back into my room and heard another knock. Went back and same thing. Through the peephole, I could see the figures at the door, but they must have taken off as soon as they heard me approach the door. Whoever it was, they were quick.This continued every time I attempted to start cleaning my room. After maybe the 6th or 7th time, I started getting annoyed. I figured it was this irritating brother and sister combo who lived down the hall and were always around the neighborhood later than they should have been. I started walking the halls of the 5th floor trying to find whoever it was, but there was nobody around. Luckily, I didn't know which apartment they were in, or else I was going to tell their unwed mother that instead of always being out trying to find a man, she should start putting her asshole kids in check. Frustrated as hell, I returned to my apartment. Again with the knocking. This shit had to stop. I was already on edge. Not to mention I still had the Million Ant Army to contend with.

            I decided to stand at the door and look through the peephole and when I saw them, I would swing open the door before they even knocked. This did not work either. It never occurred to me that if Houdini was not only an escape artist but also the fastest man who ever lived, his most impressive feat would have paled in comparison to whatever kind of shit these tweens were pulling off. I was baffled. I realized that it must be the sound of the metal door handle being turned that was giving me away, giving my personal tormentors just enough time to run 20 yards down the hall faster than a world class sprinter to the closest exit... in the fraction of a second...while not making a sound...not a footstep. These kids were good. I figured if I held the handle all the way down, so that I could simply swing the door open without alerting them, that may make up for the split second lead I was allowing them. I could see them. I could hear them whispering to each other, while trying not to giggle. Not only were they enjoying this battle of wits, they were winning too. I wanted to give up. I still needed to do something about the ants marching rendition going on at my bedside. I tried to ignore the knocking, but I couldn't. I was expecting visitors from Atlanta...who I had not seen in 5 years...who sent me a surprise text...on a phone that has not worked in over 2 years. I couldn't just be hearing things. That would not make sense. That would be crazy. I had to keep answering the door. This went on for over an hour.

           10 days later, I told my roommate about the knocking incident. He said he had been wondering what was going on because all he kept hearing was the door opening and closing over and over. He told me that he noticed I was sitting on the sofa with 3 phones that afternoon. He also mentioned that later on that same night was when he realized that I was engaging in full on conversations with people who were not there.

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