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too much paranoias

we lost power a couple of days ago. i knew this, but i was reminded of it today when i opened word and it coughed up a fragment of something i'd started and lost interest in, like a computer-generated hairball. i'm glad that my computer knows to grab shit i leave lying around like that, because i do like to save those little fragments in case i find them inspiring later.

or just so that i can freak myself out when enough time has passed that i don't remember what i was doing or even writing them to begin with. because everyone knows i need things to make me more paranoid.

and speaking of paranoid, i did find a little snippet i'd left similarly abandoned some time in the not-so-distant past [my computer knows when, but i didn't bother to ask it] that seems to have been either

a. a start of yet another story in which paranoia is prominently featured; or

b. something inspired by the weird experience i had being unable to sleep way back when i first moved to montreal.

in fact, a lot of the sleeplessness when i first moved to montreal was probably due to the fact that i really did have a lot of people passing under my window- university students heading home from the bars- who would routinely start shouting for no reason.

also, a few weeks after i moved into my first apartment in montreal, i was awakened in the middle of the night because a group of students [young people, at least from the sound of them] were under my window singing "girl from ipanema" in perfect harmony.

but i can't write about that, because everyone would say that i was being too ridiculous, or that i was just being strange for strange's sake, or that they found my whimsy distracting. they wouldn't know what it's like to have to carry the burden of having been serenaded by a group of unknown people in the middle of the night with "girl from ipanema" with no witnesses to verify that it happened. the life i write for myself turns out to be more mundane and believable than what actually happens to me.

anyway, not knowing what else to do with it and having a fear of anything in my life that can't be verified by others, here's the random piece i found while wandering through my computer's brain tonight.

don't ask me how it ends. i can't even remember beginning it.


Why did I come out here? Why did I think it was necessary to be in this place, when I’d worked out a perfectly happy little routine where I was? I’d be settled in a condo by now, maybe I’d have a garden, something I’d take care of. What did I think I was going to accomplish by coming out here?

I’ve never slept so little. The traffic noises are strange and close and I feel like people can just walk in whenever they feel like it. I feel like there are people moving like shadows through the other rooms when I’m trying to sleep, but they slip out before I can catch them. Am I being robbed? Why do all the cars sound like they’re driving up to my window? Why can I here my neighbours talking in their yard so late? Are they selling drugs? Are my windows going to get shot out in crossfire? No one barbeques that late into the night. There’s something unwholesome about it.

You’d swear I’d never been in a city before. I grew up in a city. I lived in a big city for twelve years before now. I’ve even lived on the ground floor before. Why is this so bloody unsettling?


Someone got shot four blocks from here a couple of weeks before I moved in. Big deal. Someone killed his wife and daughter in the apartment block next to me two years ago and I went about my life. Maybe it’s because I knew they’d caught the person then. Am I afraid that someone is going to jump out of the bushes and shoot me? That would be silly. But I kind of am.

What are they talking about out there? It’s like they’re keeping their voices just low enough that I can’t understand a word, but loud enough that I know they’re talking. They’re mocking me. They’re trying to scare me. It’s working.

I’d love to be out at Merrick’s, having a beer right now. Is everyone out there without me, having fun, enjoying themselves? Are they wondering if I’m OK? What time is it there? Are they all home already, off in the disjointed world of dreams? I miss Merrick’s. I miss them. I miss knowing what to do. And I miss the old sounds from my apartment. The drunk skinny kids stumbling home late, the car horns, the clatter of those anti-theft doors on all the stores.

I’d drift off to the symphony of the city’s racket and wake up to the next movement.

I swear they’re tapping on my windows every few minutes. Do you think that’s funny you dumb sons of bitches?

They’re not going to break in. They’re not going to hurt me. This is worse. They know they can keep me scared with these little tricks. Do they want me out? Is there some horrible offense I’ve committed by moving into the damn neighbourhood? Do they want me to think they’re the ones who shot the guy down the street?

This is nuts. I’ve always lived in cities. What should be so weird about this one?

I don’t know, but it is.

I have to get up tomorrow. I have to work or I’ll have worse than the neighbours scratching at my windows to worry about. I have to be rested, I can’t be like this. I can’t have my mind snapping at stray threads in the air. I have to be calm and clear-thinking tomorrow or everything will implode and crush me. I need to get a few hours of sleep.

Why are there so many cars when it’s so late? This isn’t a major artery. This isn’t the centre of the city. Who are these people who insist on driving in front of my window and why do they insist on doing it right now?

I could be back in my old apartment now. I could be breathing the same air as I have for the last four years. I could be waiting to do those same things that I always did. And at least I would know how to do them.

I think I’ve made a mistake. So how do I find out for certain? By letting things go from dangerous to catastrophic?

Why will they not shut up or at least go inside? I need to know if I’ve done something wrong, I need to figure out how I could fix it if I have. How can I do that with all of these strange noises, these weird, surreptitious attacks when I’m trying to sleep? How can I think rationally, clearly, strategically when nothing here will let me?

How can I save myself from inside this cloud of swarming insects?

Why are they talking and driving and tapping and scratching and making noises that have no business being made, trying to frighten me to death, trying to make me panic and make things even worse?

I need to rest, but I need to know how to make all this stop first.


astrud gilberto. not under my window.

the image above is "the burden of her memories" by ray caesar. i first heard of him when an acquaintance randomly posted images of his to my wall on my space [i'm that old], then found out that there was an opening show of his work at a gallery six blocks from my home. the person who had posted the images to my wall originally had no idea about this, of course. but if i wrote that story, people would find it too coincidental and it would be bad writing.

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