Closing time and I can’t sleep, as is custom. My eyes are dry from staring at the screen: a Yahoo chess match, my second victory, making my record something like 2-47. My feet and hands are cold. The apartment temperature is about 65 Fahrenheit, but I worked all day in sweaty socks and I’ve been chain-smoking since I got home. Hence the frozen extremities.

Lately I’ve been trying to stop telling the future. David Foster Wallace said that addicts are forever preparing for something that’s about to happen to them, and that that something is always bad. It’s hard to get my thoughts off of things like the economic and energy and climatic crises, nuclear warfare or terrorism, etc. These are trying times, for sure. But I know for certain that if there was a thunderstorm outside I’d be thinking about getting struck by lightning. If I heard noises in the hallway I’d imagine home invasions and the distance between me and my knives, rooftop escape routes. My girlfriend is here, asleep, so right now I’m not worried about her getting attacked on the street, but I’m envisioning what I would do should a would-be rapist come through the door, reeling and drunk on lust, groping with his eyes half shut, ruining everything he touched.

All this fear. What if Barack Obama is shot and killed, like Kennedy? What if we go to war with China or Russia? What if smaller cities aren’t quite as safe as I’d thought from unrest or nuclear attack? The Niagara Power Project is right down the road, after all. (And I have no idea what the blast/fire/fallout range of your average nuclear device is these days! !  Why don’t I know this?!) What if Buffalo isn’t as friendly as I tell myself it is? What if we never rebuild the old rail lines or extend the Metro and we’re just as fucked as Phoenix and Las Vegas would be in a gas shortage? What then? Should I move? Will I be able to move? Will there be anywhere to move to?

Meanwhile, I’m depriving myself of sleep, sitting in cold socks in a cold apartment, inching towards death and lung cancer.

I watch people. Most don’t seem as afraid. They probably are, but they’ve found a tune to whistle in the dark. Work, family, goals, a valuable enterprise of some sort. I’ve lost my tune. That’s how it feels, at least. (Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh. There.) David Foster Wallace also said that the people to be most afraid of are the people that are afraid of everything. There’s a slight instinct here towards “yeah, well, what the fuck did he know” thinking, given recent events, but it is nonetheless true.

To feel lost and tuneless isn’t exactly pleasant, but it’s constructive at least. The knowledge that something has been lost is – at least – that knowledge, and the possibility of remedial action.

I’m not sure what I’m talking about anymore. But I think I can sleep now.

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