I am addicted to change. It’s horrible. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I remember the time that I spent changing channels on the television, ever more rapidly, until I was rocketing through all 200 channels in 30 seconds and I had gotten up to pace around my apartment.
Everywhere I go I want to look at new things. I want to see something new every time I blink, every time I move my eyeballs, every time I turn or walk or run. I want new cement blocks to pass under me and a new color of sky above me, and I want everything in between the ground and the sky to change, to change, to change.
I keep changing my position that I sleep in. If I wake up and I’m looking at the same stretch of wall that I always look at, and the sun isn’t shining through the window in a new way, or I haven’t drooled on my pillow to make a new pattern, it doesn’t matter what side of the bed I get off on, it’s going to be wrong.
I spend most of the money I have on different cereal, and drink flavorings that dissolve in water. I always buy the sample sizes – four different flavors to a pack. I don’t get any pleasure in the sickly sweet neons or crunchy sugar, I just need change.
There are about 108 different placements on the shower for water temperature. Cold water does not help with soapsuds. Boiling water makes me pink and covers my body in blisters. Why a shower should be made able to boil is a mystery, but change has to be had.
I watch the first episode of television shows, and only about halfway through. Cartoons are the best, but I run out of new cartoons quickly. I only need to see the bunny and the hunter once to know that the bunny is never going to get shot.
I skip wildly through movies. So much sameness for so very long – same theater or same couch, same giant drink or big popcorn, same style and same actors for so long.
I think the happiest I ever am is during fireworks displays, but I can’t sit still. I run around and look at different people’s faces, I run closer to their origin and then further away. It’s exhausting but I can collapse happily on a hill and then roll downwards, the world spinning, nothing but change and explosion filling my ears and vision and skin; but here’s the sick part, the really wrong thing. I get home, mix up some flavored water (pineapple citrus and cherry kool-aid drink flavors) and I start to remember that it was the same sky. Same stretch of grass. Same holiday. And then I can’t sleep, because I get so sad that all I can afford is the one apartment, with all the same walls, and the same bed, and the same everything.
I know that my life needs to change – just one last time, though. I tried doing it slowly before but it didn’t work, slow doesn’t fit me, it’s part of my disability, my addiction. I can only do it if it’s fast and I force myself to change all at once and then never again. I know exactly what I have to do but sitting and planning hardly works, and it’s getting worse and worse. The plan is now on fifteen different types of paper, on two different computer screens, on my phone, on a cassette recorder, on a tape recorded with a Super 8 video camera. I don’t need to gather the pieces, I just needed to have them all somewhere so that I would stick to it.
Tomorrow I’m going to wake up and put on blinders, like a horse, like if I see the right side and the left side of the world, I’ll get spooked. I’m going to walk to my kitchen and pour myself cereal and put half a cup of milk into it. I’m going to drink normal water. I’ll walk out of my apartment and go to the park and watch the pavement pass beneath my feet. I’ll sit on a bench and start to read the encyclopedia. I’ll sit and read until I get too tired, and then I’ll walk over to the hot dog man and get a hot dog. I’ll eat the hot dog with only mustard, and then I’ll walk back to my apartment, on the same side of the street I walked before, put on the Beatles’ song “I am the Walrus,” and read more of the encyclopedia. Then I’ll boil noodles, I’ll watch the Hitchcock film North by Northwest on VHS (the fast forward is broken) and then afterwards, I’ll lie in bed looking up at my ceiling, on my back, and sleep a dreamless sleep.
I’ll do it as long as I can. I’ll take no pleasure in rain or new bits of gum on the sidewalk or new pages in the book. I’ll probably skip the hot dog if the park hot dog man isn’t there. I won’t talk to a stranger if they talk to me, they’ll think I’m deaf probably, but I don’t care, I need to break myself of my habit.
Soon I’ll be able to take little pleasures in the sameness, and that’s when I know the cloud will lift. I’ll enjoy the cracks in the sidewalk or the sounds of the walk and I’ll enjoy the taste of mustard and hot dog every day. But the clouds will really disperse when I can enjoy change and sameness at the same time, when I can finally enjoy the feel of turning the page of the encyclopedia, and love that it’s the same book, but a new page, and that’s when I can take my blinders off, and I can walk away to someplace else that might remind me of home.