And Then I Thought I was a Fish

IDENTIFYING INFORMATION: Peter Hunt Welch is a 20-year-old single Caucasian male who was residing in Bar Harbor, Maine this summer. He is a University of Maine at Orono student with no prior psychiatric history, who was admitted to the Acadia Hospital on an involuntary basis due to an acute level of confusion and disorganization, both behaviorally and cognitively. He was evaluated at MDI and was transferred from that facility due to psychosis, impulse thoughts, delusions, and disorientation.

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Observations of a Straight White Male with No Interesting Fetishes

Ever wondered how to justify your own righteousness even while you're constantly embarrassed by it? Or how to make a case for your own existence when you contribute nothing besides nominal labor to a faceless corporation that's probably exploiting children? Are you clinging desperately to an arbitrary social model imposed by your parents and childhood friends? Or screaming in terror, your mind unhinged at the prospect of an uncaring void racing to consume the very possibility of your life having meaning?

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This is the story of a boy, a girl, a phone, a cat, the end of the universe, and the terrible power of ennui.

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Composed on the 31st of January in the year 2011, at 9:42 AM. It was Monday.

I went to craigslist for a date exactly twice. Craigslist is great for dates when you’re poor, because there’s no subscription fee, and people accept a certain amount of risk when they go to craigslist, so finding out I was perhaps below average weight and income was probably a relief for both my dates. The second one is another story.

The first one was Dal.

It may also have been Nina. Or maybe Nicki. Could also have been Morticia or Zelda. It’s not that I don’t remember: she gave me a different name every time I saw her and changed her email address about once a week. I never saw an I.D.; I’m not sure she had one. I just thought she had a lot of email addresses and was flaky about remembering which was attached to whom. I didn’t really care, I was busy ogling the badly lit picture she sent me, which was of a club girl with fantastic tits, toned legs, and indeterminate race. I never figured out her ethnic background either; it was somewhere between caucasian, asian, native American, african, and indian. Not knowing her real name didn’t help, and made her pretty much ungoogleable.

The courtship was unusually extended for something that started as me replying to a craigslist post entitled “horny as hell.” It was mostly just logistics, or more accurately, her being an insane flake who never slept. A couple of her emails to me in the three week period before I met her are representative of the entire exchange:

Date: July 20, 2005 1:47:52 AM EDT
are you around tonight??

Date: July 20, 2005 6:14:09 AM EDT
hey! sorry, I went out…i’m back homebnow and just getting your e-mail!

I responded to all of these when I could, always hours too late, and none of her messages seemed to have much to do with what I was writing, so I gave up. Then, one night, she said she was on her way over in a cab. This was at 10:00pm. At 4:00am, I decided I’d had enough whiskey, gave up and went to bed, so I could be in my boxers when she called ten minutes later to say, “I’m in the cab I don’t have enough money to pay, come downstairs quick!”

I wasn’t sure I had enough money to pay either, but I grabbed some cash, threw water over my face, put on jeans, and went downstairs. The picture was no lie, so I paid her cab fair and she came up for a drink. The first thing I noticed was she also had great hair (this was obscured in the picture) and giant eyes with irises so dark they looked like giant pupils, which suggested some asian ancestry to me, but, next to her angular face and small nose, also made her look a little like a lizard.

She was friendly, and talkative. She spoke in some kind of club martian language, so I smiled and nodded and stuck to stories about drinking and gambling and the stupid things other people did and how drunk I got at some party. Later I described her as “down to earth” because I wasn’t quite ready to admit I was sleeping with someone off the internet who would be better described as “devoid of content.”

About two drinks and an hour later, she asked me if I wanted to do some pills. To be honest, I did. I’d been off drugs for two years at this point, and since I knew nothing about sex or dating in high school and most of college, doing drugs with club hotties remained an unrealized dream. Still, I demurred, so she went into the bathroom and snorted some cocktail of pills off my bathroom counter.

Now, I submit only one defense, not because I think I did anything wrong, per se, but because by all rights, I should have gotten no less than three STDs from this girl. She had already told me things like “yeah in the winter I don’t bang anybody south of midtown because I hate the commute.” My defense is I had just ended the longest relationship of my life, and ended it badly, and no psychologist would have thought the relationship was a particularly good idea in the first place. The end of that relationship was the reason I replied to Dal’s ad in the first place. I need to bang Some Chick, and this was clearly that Some Chick. She was welcome to do anything except die in my apartment; I did not care, and my roommate worked nights. I was also pretty trashed.

The first crack in this logic was when she came back from the bathroom and started getting into astrology with a vengeance. I have an awkward impatience for astrology, since it seems to be the last duct for otherwise thinking people to vent their genetic imperative toward superstition. On the other hand, she got a lot friendlier (and keep in mind, she was already pretty friendly) when I said I was a Pisces. Also, it wasn’t clear she was thinking at all, so I had no reason to be culturally indignant. The talk quickly went from astrology to tarot cards to palm readings to her channeling dead spirits. I blinked a little at that last bit, but at that juncture she was leaning really close to me and unzipping my pants, so I let it go.

The sex? It was okay. She was fit and eager, if uncreative. Afterwards, I couldn’t sleep, primarily because she didn’t sleep, and stayed up for the rest of the night, making odd moaning noises between cigarettes and pills. I think she left around 9:00am, but not before this conversation:

Dal: “Are you awake?”

Me: “Urm. Huh? Yeah. What?”

Dal: “Umm. I think I love you.”

Me, now awake: “Oh. Uh. I just got out of a long relationship.”

Dal: “Oh, I understand.”

So, why did I see her two more times? Because, in my heart of hearts, I’m a pretty bad person. The next time I went to her place, we went through roughly the same scene, except I got more details on how her grandmother’s ghost contacted her in her dreams to give plans on how to build an alien spaceship, and she asked if I wanted to go fuck a couple in SoHo the next weekend. She ended up getting frustrated with me because I refused to have sex with her without a condom, then kicked me out on the grounds that I was a “Chi sucker.” This is probably true, whatever it means. I got an email from her a few days later:

Date: August 15th, 2005 5:32:12 AM EDT
Hi, I fell asleep for a while, totally drunk. I had an excellent time, sorry for pushing you to go for extreme performance, but I always do that just to push the envelope. I called my shaman, but he seems to have actually been possessed by Lucifer. His answering machine voice is just weird right now. I guess I can come to your place soon and just have more sex. I don’t know what else to do.

The final time I saw her I figured I had the routine down, until this conversation:

Dal: “Yeah, I haven’t had a job in a while.”

Me: “Have you looked?”

Dal: “Well, kinda, but I’ve had trouble making plans since the gas leak.”

Me: “What?”

Dal: “Yeah, I almost died. There was a leak in my apartment, they found me unconscious. It’s been hard to remember stuff since then.”

Me, now speechless, thinking: “Oh, you’re not an insane flake, you’re BRAIN DAMAGED. This all makes so much fucking sense now.”

That was the last time I saw her. I could, if necessary, justify sleeping with this vapid nymph on the grounds that we both seemed to be getting what we were capable of getting out of each other, but knowingly taking advantage of the mentally disabled is a little beyond even my limits.

Lesson: Don’t assume people who believe in astrology are crazy, make sure they’re not brain damaged.

Beware of Zeus.

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