Thursday, November 08, 2007


"No one uses the phone anymore
The tracks are wrecked and the odometer's ticking
The edge is pushed and the lines are melting
Too scared to look at what I hear outside....release"

AFK by Pinback

There were too many bad days, so in attempt to set things right, I've gone into purification mode. I'm on a schedule in order to keep my mind from going to the bad place. I wake up, go to school, stay late and study Japanese or wander around and talk to the kids or fool around in their clubs. I come home, have dinner while watching ridiculous game shows, take a walk or ride my bike around the dark country roads. I bring my Ipod, but listen to Japanese quizzes rather than music. I'm not sure if I like this, but I continue to do it. I prefer to be close to the river that runs by the forest. I turn around just before the trees become too dense. I use the word 'become' more often. I blame Japanese. I return home and bathe. Sometimes I bring my cold water bottle into the shower with me. I like how it feels to drink ice cold water while hot water washes down my face. I only do this after I exercise. It would seem wasteful or out-of-sync if I did this at any other time. Occasionally, I'll go straight to my desk and write for awhile, while other times I'll lie on my bed and make lists. Usually they are practical lists, you know, like things to do tomorrow, things I need to buy before my trip home, reasons I should stop (insert habit here). But no matter what I do after my shower, I will always read before going to sleep. And that is what I like most about my extended periods without toxins, reading before bed. I have problems reading while drunk. Whenever I try to do this, I read much too fast out of eagerness and end up remembering nothing by the time I hit the end of the page. At those times, I usually pass out before I get the chance to turn another page. The best thing to read into sleep is a quality collection of short stories. Despite my love for reading, I don't know much about books. I was made to read plenty of them in school, but I don't really know about new things or bestsellers or things like that. So since being recommended a couple of good ones, I've become obsessed. Two weeks ago, Leonie lent me Haruki Murakami's After the Quake. I was unaware that it was another collection of short stories. I read all but one story by the time my train pulled into Shimada station. I was so disappointed in myself for finishing it so quickly. That night, I read the last story and went to bed. A couple days later, I went to the bookstore and decided to buy another Murakami since I felt a little cheated by the brevity of book I had just read. The Elephant Vanishes was much thicker, so I somehow felt comforted. Since then, I have limited myself to only one story per night. After I finished last night's story, Sleep, I couldn't breathe. I couldn't take my eyes off the last word. Coincidently, the word was 'over'. But it didn't feel over. I was in a perfectly fine mood when I laid down and opened to the folded corner at the top of the page. I had just finished talking to Gabriel, and debated whether or not it was too late to get in a quick story. Obviously, it's never too late. The beginning reminded me of Fight Club, while the middle seemed to reverberate the usual Murakami haze of disattachment, abnormal normality, and the apathetic romanticism which leads you along like a paper lullaby. As I read on, I began to realize this character was me. I wasn't scared to read me in someone's book, not at all. And I wasn't scared when I read that terrifying final paragraph of the story. I couldn't breathe, and I couldn't take my eyes off the last word, sure, but I wasn't scared. I was something else. This morning I woke up crying. I doubt it had anything to do with the story I read last night, but nevertheless, I decided to link these two moments of my life together, here, for the sheer convenience that where one day ended, another began. I was crying in my sleep, and I remember the dream. In fact, I couldn't stop thinking about it all day. The first person I saw today as I rode my bike into the school gates was Yamaguchi-sensei. It was his words, in my dream, that had caused me to sob like a bereaved child. He's a really nice guy, and one of my favorite teachers at school. In fact, when I recounted to Gabby what exactly he said to me that had hurt my feelings, I felt silly. It wasn't until I spoke the words out loud that I realized these things would never affect a wakeful Toby. No, not at all. However, I still agree that if I could, I'd read instead of sleep, just like I did in the story. If not for only free time, but from an escape from subconsciousness.

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