Picture me lying on the couch back in the old days, back before the girl and car and the fist full of teeth, before Andy my flatmate, before any of this started. Picture me just sitting there, content and not fully aware of anything. Show after show, movie after movie. This is where I found my freedom, a democracy in my own living room, Demos Kratos, of programming chosen by We the People, true power residing in the remote control. It was all the freedom I needed.
Day and night on the couch, show after show. It's really not as hard as it sounds. After a while it just becomes who you are. Being completely alone isn’t the point, because you have all your TV friends, the families that you have come to love, the girls you fuck in the shower before bed, they’re all there any time you need them, just turn on the TV. Soon you absolutely dread having to go outside, things like shopping, that used to be just a nuisance now make you want to scream. Outside there are real people and real people are starting to scare the shit out of you.
You don’t leave the house unless it’s important, because, out there, the frustration can build until you want run and hide. You have to leave the house for supplies though, so here’s what you do; go to the supermarket and speed through the aisles stocking up for at least a month. Remember you haven’t been eating much lately anyway, microwave dinners, sashays of four minute pasta and your favourite breakfast smoothie. Sneak from aisle to aisle as inconspicuously as possible, and don’t make eye contact with anybody.
Bathed in supermarket light, all ugliness is revealed, all the blemishes, every bristly hair growing out of oily white skin. The dark rings around your eyes, the yellow stained teeth, they are all visible in ghastly detail.
You hate this next part. Fight the feeling of no escape; try not to breathe reeking scotch and cigarettes into the checkout girls’ face. She will be slim, healthy and about seventeen years old, expressionless like you don’t really exist.
Most importantly, fight the fear. Try not to sweat and fidget so much, but most importantly, fight the fear or you’ll run out like last time, empty handed. Even though it’s grinding you down, the Beep, Beep, Beep, from the registers, the kids screaming and parents screaming back, don’t give in.
But all this is boring, right? What we need is a montage like they have in the movies where we flash through scenes that progress the story, usually a training montage, or a happy couple getting to know you montage.
Well, cut to me showering,
Cut to me brushing my teeth.
Cut to me watching Jerry Springer.
Cut to me choosing videos off the racks at Blockbusters giant neon library
This is what's called a montage, it's usually in the middle section, showing all the happy times, clip after clip of people laughing, eating ice cream and playing on swings, romantic and exciting. All the really feel good stuff. And it's all designed to set you up for the fall.
In this montage, the only people smiling are on TV, selling tooth paste; the only people laughing are studio audiences. Romance lasts for an hour and half and then the credits roll.
Cut to me on the phone with Social Security.
Cut to me checking the mail with a tuna sandwich in my hand.
In my montage I hear elevator music. It's all a set up because you know the fall is coming, the scene where everything sets the next peak of drama.
Cut to my suicide attempt, the very first one, where all this really began.
Cut to me drinking from a long neck,
Cut to me drinking a long neck in front of the TV watching the news, then drinking and watching Big Brother, watching an infomercial on spray on hair, or the ”Ab-tronic” or whatever. Now tell me you wouldn’t have done the same in my situation.
Cut to me lifting up the cushions looking for something, growing more and more agitated. Then again to me swearing and throwing the pillows off of the couch and stabbing my hand down into the cracks, finding Aropax gel capsules, sticky Zoloft caps all soft from the damp, bright pink M&M shaped Brufen painkillers, a Percocet, but no remote.
Cut to me looking for the remote again: throwing the cushions and yelling, it was not long after this.
Cut to me finding the remote but it being no use, the TV is still broken.
Cut to my suicide attempt. Picture me raiding the meds draw, stacking sheets of tabs long expired into a pile in the bathroom sink. Seven years worth of test combinations, Serzone, Lexapro, Edronax, Effexor, seven years since my Parents died. A handful of panadeine forte and a full pack of nurofen plus, I’m popping handful at a time with a bottle of booze.
In my montage, I hear telephone hold music.