I was stirring in my bed, morning rays were shining in, and that child was still crying in my living room. I was looking forward to having to interact with humans less over the weekend! I was reaching my breaking point with this damn kid, whoever he, she, or it was. I bolted out of bed. Since there was plenty a commotion going on in the kitchen, I answered with one of my own. I don’t normally use the bathroom vent, but you bet your ass I did this morning. Then I cranked up the shower, flushed the toilet, ran the sink, turned up the music on my laptop (currently an exhaustive selection of German Lieder for Song Literature class so take THAT you silly screaming alien in the living room), fumbled through some drawers, slammed my closet door, and rattled the window blinds. Crazy thing is not even all that nonsense matches my voice in volume…but I can't nice things like that now. Can it be day seven already? I want that weapon back in my arsenal.
I contemplated the protein shaker on my end table. It had been sitting there since last night, the leftover milk and powder likely fermenting inside it by now. How I hate when that happens. I had to clean it. I was getting antsy. And dammit all, I needed some breakfast! I had to go out into the wilderness of my living room. D-Day was upon me. I put on some clothes and opened the door. I inched my head around the corner with the protein shaker in my hands. A short, middle-aged woman was washing dishes at my sink. She looked up at me a moment with drooping eyes, continuing to tirelessly work on whatever she was cleaning. A toddler likely no older than three wandered the room, skipping and squealing. And then SHIT, the woman acknowledged me. I bit my lip and nodded at her in a most unremarkable fashion, communicating nothing intelligible I’m sure. I set down my protein shaker on the counter, reached into the fridge and grabbed a yogurt without much thought, and then turned around to head back into my bedroom. Shit, I forgot a spoon. I had to go back. Ugh, SHIT AGAIN! It’s not worth it, I shouldn’t be eating yogurt anyway. I’m not supposed to have dairy within an hour or two of these meds. I’ll just have to go all the way back to return the yogurt to its place. But what should I eat instead, and how to make it when my tiny kitchen has been conquered by this female Napoleon? I considered breakfasting on Cheez-Its for the sake of my meds. Nevertheless, I had to brave the wilderness again to at least put my Chobani back. Crap, I remembered the protein shaker was still out there too. I stalled. An impasse. I worried I’d come off as disrespectful going back out again in abject silence. So I quickly typed up a memo that read:
I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be rude, but I lost my voice a few days ago. Nice to meet you! Don’t worry about the shaker, I’ll clean it.
A deep breath. I went back outside. I showed my memo to the woman. She measured me up, understandably. I was a total stranger offering my phone to her. She struggled to read the small text, referencing some kind of “blindness” (wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony if she really were). She finished reading my memo and told me she was so-and-so’s mother. Somehow, the name she mentioned has since slipped my mind, but whatever the name was, it definitely wasn’t the name of any of my roommates. She eventually offered to clean my protein shaker. I waved my arms like a traffic cop hoping to communicate my answer: “Please don’t worry about it, I’ll do it myself!” But she insisted she could clean it for me. Vaguely. I suppose that was the nice thing to do?
My gesturing done for the moment, I glanced back over my shoulder to see another woman emerge. Okay. Headcount. That makes a mother, her daughter (presumably), and a toddler I can only assume one of them reared. But where the HELL was my roommate? The mother then told me “his birthday is this weekend and we’re visiting.” WELL THAT CLEARS IT UP. I smiled, nodded, and retired to my room.
I’ve said it before, but I need to start living alone and save myself the sanity. Why wasn’t family circus weekend explained to me? And why does that particular roommate avoid the rest of us in the apartment like we’re the plague? Where does he vanish to everyday? I don’t even have his number. Is his aim to be a recluse or not? On one hand he’s a hermit, but then he offers the apartment to his entire family without any word of warning to my other roommates or me.
Why do humans struggle to communicate effectively with each other? Shouldn’t we take pride in our ability to communicate like no other species on earth can? Shouldn’t we relish in the languages of debate and reconciliation? If you have a voice, speak up! Use it! Exacerbated by my bout with vocal rest, I can’t fully comprehend a human being that chooses to disengage when something needs to be said. Since I went mute, I’ve put so much energy into making sure I can somehow express myself and communicate, even when I have cause to feel stupid and embarrassed about it. I could have chosen to be a recluse too at the beginning of all this. Even just this morning, I had the choice to stir in my room, miserable and afraid. Indeed, I tried to ignore the racket while tucked away in my sheets for a while. But I just wanted some damn food with my pills.
So that was my morning. Thankfully I had an excuse to get out of my apartment. I met up with some very jolly and gay individuals to watch the LSU football game against Auburn. None of us are particularly fond of football or understand it all that much. We’re the type to shout “homerun” when a player runs into the end zone. We also like to snicker when the sports announcers remark things like “they have to break in that new tight end!” *clicks pincers*
So every weekend we sit around and eat food in theme with the weekend’s football game. This Saturday’s theme was an inspired one: “Balls!” Technically the theme was more elaborate than that, but I’ll leave it to your imagination. Those hushpuppies and “chocolate poppers” brought a welcome smile to my face. Occasionally I’d chime in with a snarky remark, proudly displaying what I was trying to say from my laptop in a super-magnified Word Document. Other major takeaways: it’s tough to stay quiet when watching a football game, even if your interest is mild at most. Yet, it’s not impossible. I’m comforted knowing my voice is absolutely in better shape right now than the majority of those 100,000 screaming fans in Death Valley.
I returned home at night, deftly avoiding “contraflow.” Ugh. “Contraflow,” how I despise you so, I can’t even stomach writing about you. Whose daft idea was that anyway? I got back to my apartment to find one of my other roommates politely sitting on the couch. I think he was claiming territory, not in an effort to keep it from me, but to try and plant a flag before that family circus returned home. I wrote a memo to let him in on my vocal rest. He had a little chuckle about it and said “no worries, man!” He’s a good guy. I think. I don’t have his number either…