But, i miss it. I miss going to sleep with the huge book splayed open somewhere in the middle on the pillow next to me. I miss sneaking a peak forward to see how long i had to wait for another Pemulis appearance. Infinite Jest became a placeholder in my life for the dependency that it reviles … on entertainment, on liquor, on drugs, on other people … watching the characters in their endless dance of all of the above and even more left me free to do what i needed to do in my life without feeling the elastic pull of any of my various addictive tendencies in one direction or another.
As soon as i finished the last seven pages my grandmother was in the room, chirping like a bird. I had somehow managed to stave her off by showing her how close to finished i was, but i found myself without a defense and my first thought was “i need a drink.” I’ve never needed a drink before; in fact, i haven’t been drinking especially often lately. Suddenly, it became the focal point of my day: coming home to my empty apartment and getting blitzed enough so that everything was fuzzy around the edges like a peach and i could simmer quietly down into silence and sleep. Imagining the slippery slope to unconsciousness i might take later was enough to save me from the endless bickering of my septuagenarian family-members, and to get my on the plane.
When i left the hospital i wanted, more than anything else, to be somewhere other than in my own head. Yes, i wanted to go home. Yes, i was hungry. Most of all, though, i was craving an opportunity to poke at my perceptions and rattle my reasons. I wanted to feel disconnected in a wholly opposite way from how i felt in the hospital. And, i did. It was perhaps the most excruciatingly stupid single night of my life, but i woke up the next morning with that binge-stupidity as a tangible buffer between my sick and confined self and my well self — the two never saw an intersection because i made sure to remove myself from where they might’ve met.
This has become the function of substance to me, suddenly … separation. I’ve always thought that anything potentially addictive would be dangerous when it stopped just being fun and started being useful and i was entirely right, but i managed to forget about the entire situation while i had that thick book on my pillow filled with its own endless fucked up addicts to draw my escapism from. Now it’s gone, and i am set back to my continuing reality.
And, importantly: alone — no more characters to keep me up at night. So, maybe it wasn’t a reaction to the novel, but to the mental company it provided.
I’m not sure. I’m going to sleep on it.