Negative CapabilitySometimes when I’m taking a shit, I’ll pull open the shower curtain and periodically spit in the shower. I’m not sure why I feel compelled to do this. I only know that when I’m sitting there, reading whatever short story I’m reading, I get the urge. If I’m in the bathroom a while, when I finally leave there will be like a Jackson Pollock of spit in the shower basin, with colors roughly equaling whatever meal I’ve last eaten. I know this may sound disgusting, but I encourage you, if you’re disgusted by it, before you judge it disgusting, to think about how, actually, disgusting it isn’t. Number one, it’s just spit. If you think about kissing, spit’s actually romantic. Number two, the fact that it happens while I’m taking a shit is only incidental, and I can’t see what the two have to do with each other. And three, it’s just the shower. The next time I get in there, I’m going to be washing it all away anyway, along with a flood of shampoo and soap, and dead skin, and everything else that’s involved with showering. So to me, even though it may seem disgusting on the surface, it really isn’t. It’s only mysterious.
Showering at NightI love to take a shower at night because if I wash my hair in the morning, shampooing it dries it out. Dry hair makes me look like a fat, pale dickhead. Showering at night gives my hair enough time to re-grease. I don’t want mega-greasy hair, just a slight sheen. Another thing you get to do is go to bed completely clean. Crashing dirty, especially if your house gets hot at night like mine does, is suicide for hygiene. For those six or seven hours of sleep you’re practically stewing in your own greasy juices. You’re also more refreshed, and thus relaxed, when you finally do lie down, which means you fall asleep sooner, which matters, since more hours of sleep means more hours of dreaming, which means a greater regulation of pent up psychological pressure. The more you dream, the more those forces are safely churned and dispersed, like steam released from a valve, into the language and imagery that form the atmosphere of the dream. Finally, I like to shower at night because of some ambiguously artistic reassurance I know I receive from it, yet cannot define. It’s like a quasi-baptism, performable only in the absence of day. And life is to short to be lived in the absence of mysteriously reassuring artistic ritual. Although showering at night is only one example, I like to think of my life as a pinpoint of meaningless biological certainty, but swirling around that is a maelstrom of vaguely reassuring, vaguely artistic, ritual.
Mark Leidner lives and tweets in western Massachusetts. His most recent chapbook, Romantic Comedies, can be purchased from Chuckwagon Press.