Chronicles of Infection [night out, Apr’10]

“All great work is preparing yourself for the accident to happen.”

Sidney Lumet quotes

I like to think of myself, now and then, as the Infected One. I’ve said this before: my sickness is the world. As is everybody else’s. It comes inside me and wreaks terrible havoc, giving me a high fever and making me think the most fantastical, absurd things as though I were in a delirium, not a delirium tremens, though some of the symptoms may overlap, but rather a delirium scrivens. That is, a pyrexic condition that sends me into incoherent bouts of textual superproduction at the end of which I lie, or rather sit, drenched in a puddle of my own words and letters. This strange diaphoresis [aka sweat] seems to have something to do with the global condition that infected me.

For example, the weekend that just sailed by [at minimally the speed of light, as weekends are wont to do] affected me with some virulent images of death and old age.

This started off pleasant enough with common, casual kitchen- and living room drinking. Friday night, a good night for imbibing because on Saturday one is usually still left with enough work-week willingness to make something of the day [despite hangovers and such]. While Sundays, this seems to be their species being, drown one in insurmountable breakers of languor, laziness, lethargy. As though Christianity were right at least about this one thing, that a supreme power does want one to rest and renew one’s energy for another week of full-blown capitalism.

Friday night started off nicely with a few good drinks. A circle of friends where small silences in which one retires into one’s own thoughts are well-accepted, although it must be remarked that this configuration of the circle has been an extremely recent creation. An affirmative alchemy[1] of association.  The single elements [friends] have known each other in certain connections for a long time but the overall composition is novel. It seems like one of those phenomena that is native to small towns and unlikely to come to pass in the more rapid, facebookesque social turnover of major metropolitan areas.

At some point one or two individuals started exercising vocal pressure that the group relocate to a public nightlife venue, as in “Come on now, let’s hit the club”, “We should really get going” and the forever irritating “Comrades, time to drink up now!” [Do they still say “Comrades” these days? It’s important that people once again start addressing each other as comrades, since we are all in this struggle together. Witness 2008/09]. At my intermediate age I am only able to conceive of this urge to visit a club or dancing or boîte in terms of two needs:

a) the temporary or longer term suspension of one’s single status

b) the simple, elementary, pleasing need to dance

At the club itself, which was a reminder of the worst nights of my friends’ and my teenager-years, we got a nasty surprise: a cover charge of 20 bucks. Four times the sum of what the entry there was, at the maximum, worth, double the price of what is acceptable in this specific, intermediately sized city. But none of us wished to undermine the obvious good will and neonate esprit de corps[2] that was manifest in this new circle of friends and thus we all, partaking of the spirit, paid up. Though five seconds after paying I was overcome by a minor spasm of nausea and I could not get quite over the thought of how sick it is to pay 20francs for the place. How sick I had to be to willingly shell out that type of gwap[3].

The night proceeded apace. Upstairs a booth [couches in cow hide to, like, give you an idea of what type of a place we were dealing with] was available but instead we crowded around the bar. Mr. Motivado was there too, one of our number, liquored out of his mind the most of all of us. It seems that he is still in a protracted process of transitioning from one cultural sphere to another. The Far East, as related by him to us, is a land of excess in which he liberally participated. Mr. Motivado is an extremely nice guy but, like The Infected One himself, when intoxicated he rumbles freely outside the bounds of what might be called “civilized behavior”. It’s pretty fascinating to watch.

Not having too much of a taste for alcohol that night I did watch in transfixion[4]. Soon enough it was time to leave, 3am or post that. The novel circle of friends had dissolved without any of the members still being mentally sharp enough to take note or care. I noted later. What remained was what in a political context would be referred to as “splinter groups”. We exited the club, both tired and drunk but feeling good for all the dancing we’d accomplished.

Mr. Motivado was walking approximately 10 meters ahead of me. The night by this time had turned into an indistinct blur of streetlights and the motions that are required to walk home without dying. It were these latter that were now a problematic issue for our friend.

Suddenly he attempted a high-velocity crossing of the street on or near the zebra as my intoxicated memory [loyal to Mr. Motivado down to the last neuron, I suspect] recalls it. A dash of clothing and human bulk set off against thick yellow stripes, a street blackly and blobs of orange light up above. The scene would have done well in a high-concept horror movie, no shit. The approaching taxi attempted to brake, without swerving, despite the lack of oncoming traffic. It seemed to me despite the level of alcohol in my bloodstream[5] that everybody at that point in time had to be aware of the fact that it is too late. Sometimes it is just too late for a particular course of action to be successful and this was one of those times. Mr. Motivado however, as he later told us, didn’t think anything at all but instead, given earlier years of conditioning in surviving falls unscathed had taught him, jumped up and a bit towards[!] the car.

Neither a funeral, nor a coffin, nor a wheelchair flashed through my compulsive-obsessive mind. Nor did I think that I had overdone my beloved Mescaline[6]. The world and my mind were more or less in order, it was my friend and the car that somehow had gone, so too speak, off the rails. So then anyway: Impact. Loud & screetchy as could be expected.

The one single thing about horrific events is that, a posteriori, it is impossible to recall at what “velocity” they happened. There is a paradoxical simultaneity of slow-motion [the depth of detail, the viscous motion of the colliding bodies, the amount of time it takes to fully unfold and get a reading of how “bad” it is] and fast-forward [the inability to react constructively, the telescoping of the different parts into one event, the abruptness of complete change]. And according to certain people, though I was/am unable to perceive it, a deep, dark, sexual charge [Ballard].

He somehow cleared the hood, though from my infected perspective it was impossible to definitely assess that. Then he connected with the windshield. I do not know the physics of automobile–pedestrian collisions but it seems reasonable to assume that this is a crucial point because either A) the casualty flies through the thing into the interior B) the pedestrian is flung upwards and over the car C) the car decelerates or the impact is low-velocity enough that the casualty bounces back forward. Things happened according to that last option. So there he lay, Mr. Motivado, bounced off of a minivan cab back onto the blacktop. It’s safe to assume that by this time I was running towards him to assess the damage and put my new cellphone to good use.

Two or three seconds ticked off the clock that measures the duration of the existence of the universe down to the minutest moment.

Then Mr. Motivado was back on his feet, furious, screaming at the vehicle and already charging towards it. We were able to keep him from causing any further damage to himself or the helpless, still automobile. Its windshield sprung with an immense spider-web of cracks, aesthetically rather pleasing. And with that web came the question: how often does a high-speed impact end up with a damaged car and an intact pedestrian? One of us, the next day, was resourceful enough to throw the word “hulk” into the debate. Other terms that were used included: “blind luck”, “unbelievable”, “paralyzed”, “dead” and most frequently “how”. These words spun open another web, the one in which an immemorial anecdote becomes suspended and from which the fat, forbidding spider of senescence[7] sometimes will derive its remaining life powers.

[1] the medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir.

• figurative a process by which paradoxical results are achieved or incompatible elements combined with no obvious rational explanation : his conducting managed by some alchemy to give a sense of fire and ice.

[2] a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by the members of a particular group.

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: French, literally ‘spirit of the body.’

[3] Gwap is an ebonic term for money.

“Get ya gwap up hustler!”
“You know I’m gettin that gwap son.”  ALSO money, cheddar, green, stacks, cake, dolo

[4] (usu. be transfixed) cause (someone) to become motionless with horror, wonder, or astonishment : he was transfixed by the pain in her face | she stared at him, transfixed.

[5] Proverbs 31:4–7 states a prophecy of King Lemuel,

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.

Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

[6] An unusual but unique characteristic of mescaline use is the “geometricization” of three-dimensional objects. The object can appear flattened and distorted, similar to the presentation of a Cubist painting.[9] Mescaline elicits a pattern of sympathetic arousal, with the peripheral nervous system being a major target for this drug.[8] Effects last for up to 12 hours.[8]

[7] Senescence or biological aging is the change in the biology of an organism as it ages after its maturity. Such changes range from those affecting its cells and their function to that of the whole organism. […] The word senescence is derived from the Latin word senex, meaning “old man” or “old age” or “advanced in age”.


About tmabona

writer, reader [bolano, DW, bellow, deLillo], runner, badmintoneer
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