Returning home that day was a chore
. Everything, in fact, had taken on the stink
and feeling of a chore, and I was in no mood to be analytic
about it. I needed to make it home, remove my tie, and perhaps throw a choice bit of personal gear against the nearest wall with extreme force.
This picture of domestic evening bliss was not to be my reality, however.
Upon reaching my house, I performed the daily routine of keys, buttons and security cards to gain entry to my rooms. I found myself stripping the tie from my head as I entered, wondering in an offhand way if the tie would count as the object to throw against the wall. I decided that it was far too pliable and would not in any way be satisfying. Part of me reasoned that therefore it might count as a freebie, so I threw it against the wall of my entryway. It flapped weakly and fell to the carpet.
Entering the living room, I tossed my briefcase onto the couch. I wasn't quite bold enough to throw the briefcase; it contained enough personal electronics to vacuum up the week's meager paycheck. Before taxes. There was a light blinking on the answering machine; the red of blood, intrusion, anger, fear, warning, imminent dunning notices. I stopped and stared at it reflectively.
There was a long moment of nothing.
Then, in a paroxysm of motion, I seized the answering machine, raising it above my head to dash it against the plasterboard of the wall. I nearly did, too; however, in so doing, I looked up at the plastic box. I stopped. I lowered it to chest level to examine it, turning it from side to side, ignoring the various cabling that dangled from it forlornly. The light continued to blink.
There is a moment in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind when Roy Neary has an epiphany. He doesn't know it yet, but the magic shape of Devil's Tower Mesa has just leapt into his brain, and he will spend the next few scenes losing home and family attempting to worry this intruding meme out into physicality. The itch that he must have felt; I suddenly realized that was the awful feeling on the inside of my forehead. My anger and despair was too large, grown too strong, to retain inside me. I couldn't waste me energy on any pitiful display of destructive temper; no, for there were no witnesses to shock, and I would only have to clean up the mess. I have found from painful experience that cathartic violence only makes one tired and angry, which is in a sense even worse than energetic and angry. In the latter case, you can make an attempt at redirecting your energy into a creative endeavour.
The answering machine blinked on. I set it slowly down on the table. For perhaps five minutes, I sat on the couch, shirt collar undone and loafers kicked off, and stared at the light. I could see, deep within its mischevious carmine wink, the shape and form of my anger and outrage - it was mirrored deep in the crimson from the dark places behind my forehead. It needed to be free.
Without thinking or pausing, which might have permitted thinking, I swung into the kitchen, glancing about me in a slightly feverish fashion. Blender. Yes. Bearing my booty, I returned to the living room, and placed the blender on my coffee table. Laying the answering machine atop the blender, I wrapped both with the blender's power cord to retain the former in place. Still, it blinked on.
The bedroom yielded a clock radio, two ties that I absolutely despised, and my most-hated button-down shirt. I had, the week before, been forced to wear the latter to work due to overdue laundering; the awful sensation of the third button up trying to separate at the press of my stomach all day was enough to make me rip the shirt off once I returned home. Added to the pile were a hairbrush and a shoe-tree which had stood beside my bed for the four months since my wife left, shoeless and wintry. A decidedly deciduous shoe-tree.
These items all joined the growing monstrosity on the coffee table. At the end of five minutes of frantic activity, I had a menacing pile of ballistic plastics, brass and cotton fabric. At this point, the sullen red blink was issuing from beneath the translucent white of the shirt's tail. Somehow it made the shape yet more malevolent, and at the same time I felt a piece of it slip from within me.
Well, you can imagine the next half hour. All manner of objects, some hated, some not, some precious, some worthless, some dear and some scorned all joined the growing structure on the coffee table. At the end of it all, I stood, panting, in my briefs and unbuttoned shirt, and stared up at the creature which rose from the ruins of my glass coffee table. It had shattered upon the joining of the PC to its inhabitants. I'd just continued to build in the shards, feeling them fitting.
The shape had removed itself. My forehead was clear. My mind was crisp. Edges were sharp and bright. Before me, in grotesque splendor, stood the shape and object of my outrage.
My umbrage, constructed of common household items, remained behind in my apartment as I ventured forth (now clothed) to seek out cool air and libations.
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