Thursday, June 11, 2015

POOP, Bears, and a Sleepwalking Blind Woman

  Last night was my Friday night.  I get one day off a week with which I must decide, "Do I cram it full of events, or use it as a day of relaxation and rejuvenation?"  Today is still up in the air as to what will come to pass, but last night I opted for immediate relaxation.  I took a shower, I locked myself away in my tiny cabin, and I refused an invitation to play POOP.  That is correct, you read it right.   Recently the game of choice on the island has become POOP.  It's very similar to the basketball game you probably played as a child called HORSE, but in this case the ball has been replaced with a BB gun, the court replaced with a hillside obstacle course, the hoop replaced with beer cans, and the stationary free-throw position was replaced with a lot of downhill log-rolls, somersaults, standing spins, and fast action firing.  Calamity and hilarity run amok, hand-in-hand on this crazy island.
  The perfumery of my room was mystical, smelling of home-mixed essential oils, and a recently lit stick of incense.  I decided, against every Aries trait I possess, to brush aside my "to-do" list.  I placed it on a shelf full of writings, letters, and art projects, right next to my "to-write" list.  I began to listen to a lecture series by Alan Watts.  Sitting in thermal leggings and a tank top, I huddled on the floor next to Eden, my space heater, (her brand name is Eden Pure, but I recognize her as a life-giving force, so she has reached the nomenclature of an animate being).  I strapped on my headlamp, and began to take notes in my sketchbook, reminiscing of those old college lecture hall days.  Only this time my professor was Allen freaking Watts!!!

 Sneaking off into the night like a meagerly tip-toeing bank robber, masked, superbly cautious, slow-going, and heavy laden with a bag full of light, the sun had finally set and the night was dark.  Picture a mole in their cavern trying to read a bedtime story.  This is me.  With contacts removed I would say I am as blind as a bat, but this is still too sensorily equipped.  I, unlike those beautiful winged mammalian creatures, don't have sonar.  Therefor,  I would more accurately say, I can't see shit if it's farther than 20 inches away from my face.  Even then the edges blur, leaving me like a small newborn child, seeing the world defined only by colors.  A basket full of curiosities.  Hidden away in the dark places are where the monsters live.

  In Allen Watts' lecture Out of Your Mind he begins, "When one speaks of awakening it means de-hypnotization.  Coming to your senses. But of course to do that, you have to go out of your mind."  Little did I know, I was in for quite an awakening.

  I listened to the first 4 sounds bits of Watts' lecture, with my sketchbook mere inches from my face while I scribbled down barely legible notes.  As if the act of writing down Watts' key points would scribe them deeper into my psyche, and perhaps at the end of his series I would mirror the knowledge of the philosophical sage himself.  Unlikely, but no matter, I enjoy learning, and although I wouldn't say I "enjoy" being humbled, I would say it is necessary toward growth.  To become smarter, we must challenge ourselves, and surround ourselves with challenging people.  Knowledge is power...thus ends my educational plug for this post, and the story goes on.

  A blind bat in a dark cave.  I moved on from philosophical lectures to the mad metaphorical wanderings of Tom Robbins, one of my favorite authors.  I had recently acquired his book Villa Incognito.  Based on all the previous Robbins novels I have I was not caught off guard when this story began with Tanuki, a shape-shifting, other worldly, transcending, East Asian dog, often mistaken for a badger, with an incredibly shockingly sized scrotum.  If you want to know more about Tanuki's far fetched story I suggest you read the book yourself.  In the meantime, lets get back to the point of this story, shall we?

  I read for about half an hour, then went to sleep.  Well, I tried to go to sleep, but wouldn't you know it, just as I decided to finally retire for the evening that persistently timed urge to have to urinate right before slumbering struck a chord, and the debate began.

  In a typical household setting this is already annoying enough.  Having to decide if the urge to pee outweighs the confused tiredness and need for sleep, or if it can wait and be dealt with in the morning.  You know there is a slim chance you will go to sleep, comfortably dream the night away, and wake revitalized, before getting up to use the restroom.  Very seldom in our lives does there exist the phantom pee.  Presenting itself, then quietly disappearing, only to reappear hours later, patiently tapping you gently on the shoulder politely reminding you it is ready for your attention, please, now that the timing is more convenient for you.

  It's best to just get up, take care of the issue, and return to bed, fully equipped for slumber.   Generally the need to pee is cruelly unrelenting.  Similar to a small child whose parent is stuck in the vortex of an adult conversation.  Tugging frantically at their mother's arm, trying to save her from the clutches of boredom she doesn't seem to know she has even fallen into.  All the while concerned she has suddenly gone deaf because she doesn't seem to hear their cries at all.  The tugging becomes more frantic, and the pleas become loud beckoning panicked shouts. "Mom can we go? Mom I'm!?"  Stupid impatient pee.

  The biggest problem in this situation is that I don't reside in a typical housing arrangement.  I don't have lights in my cabin, and although some of the other employee cabins are equipped with fanciful features, like a cold water sink, none of them have toiletries.  In my particular case, I have to walk down a hill and two flights of stairs, to get to the bathroom.  Or down a hill, down the boardwalk, past the woodpile, and to the outhouses.  It's not a quick fix situation.  The debate between my brain, and my bladder raged.  Tiredness won, I laid down, knowing I would have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom, but I was too tired now.  Judge me all you want but in moments such as this we all become zen masters of mindfulness, where the "now" is all that matters, and what will be, will be,...etc, etc...whatever it takes to convince yourself its okay to go to sleep.  That moment our pillows become gods, and our comforters, their arms.  Embrace me, sweet bed, for I am tired and in need of rest.

  I was dancing beneath the moonlit window pane which stands between the world of sleep, and the world of wakefulness.  That place where rules exist, but become bent and mangled.  Where gravity is a choice and sometimes we can fly.  I was in the state of dreaming, where you are still aware of the outside world and suddenly THUMP!  What was that?  I shot straight up in bed, senses heightened and called to the front lines of war in a millisecond.  My blindness shifting the focus of my senses toward sound and touch.  My brain firing thoughts off so fast, none of them were formed in words, but rather ideas in instants.

  Multiple happenings from earlier this week played out, as my brain became the Sherlock Holmes of Halibut Cove, and I was going to get to the bottom of that noise!

A list of considerations, and the thoughts of a sleepwalking, panicked, person, with a strong urge to pee go as follows:
  • What could make a noise that big?  Movement from something large....a bear!
  • Bears don't live on the island, but they do swim across from the mainland on occasion. 
*** It should be noted there, that my immediate direction of thoughts traveling toward the idea of a bear come from the washed up bear on the shore of the island earlier in the week as well as the fact that a mystery poop was found near my house on one of the water lines.  We couldn't identify it based on any of the animals here and it became a lunchtime game called "Name that scat," where we passed a photo of it around and hypothesized its origin.

Harvesting the paws of the washed up bear for the claws.  Don't be mad guys, he was long gone from living before I got to him.  I wasn't his demise.  I just figured I could make something beautiful from his remains, and we all know what my artwork is like. Bones, rawhide, talons.  Don't act surprised.

  •   I could look out the window, but I didn't have my contacts in, so even if I did see something, I wouldn't really see it, and whatever movement took place for me to see would result in a series of monsters and possibilities of death, which were already playing themselves out in my mind anyway.
  • How should I look out the window?  If I put my headlamp on, whatever was outside would see the light and be attracted to it.  We all learned that just because you close your eyes, shut tight, doesn't mean they can't see you when you get scared.
  • What if it is a bear?  My phone doesn't work here, it's not like I can call anyone for assistance.

What I thought for sure I was going to see outside my cabin.

  • What if it's a bear, and it ATTACKS!? What is my escape route?  Let's see, my cabin is the size of a closet, so I would have to wait for the bear to pretty much be half-way inside my house, before I could crawl out a window, otherwise he could just see where I was going, side step one footing, and be there quicker than I could get there myself. 
  • My windows don't open. How fast can I break out a window?
  • On two sides of my cabin are trees, making a window escape very hard, and on the third side a 40 foot cliff, making this option not much better than being eaten by a bear.
  • Holy shit, I can't see ANYTHING. I should put my contacts in.
  At this point, I clamber out of bed and try to put my contacts in, without the use of light, which also means without the use of a mirror, and bear in mind (hahaha, bear in mind, that's funny!), I am pretty much half-awake, I would say almost sleep walking at this point.

  Somehow, I got the contact case open, but couldn't tell if I had grabbed one of the contacts out, or not.  So in a panic, because thumping sounds, and now heavy breathing, were still happening outside my cabin, I just moved on to trying to get the second contact out of the case, thinking that even if I could just see clearly out of one eye, I would drastically increase my chances of survival.  I got the second contact out of the case, and into my palm.  Apparently, in my sleep I had mastered the art of magicianry because there was now not one, but two contacts in my palm. Contact wearers, know two things.  Rarely is your prescription for one eye identical to that of the other, (in my case they are not the same), and contacts are easily turned inside out.  In the next few seconds that followed, and in world record time I put them in my eyes.  Again crediting my new found glory as a magician, I actually got them in right side out, and right way round.

  The moment of truth was upon me.
  What was outside my cabin?
  I peered out the windows and saw only darkness, but the noise persisted.
  • Was it a visiting bear?  Perhaps somber and not at all hungry.  Perhaps stark raving mad and feverishly famished.
  • Bear
  • Bear
  • Angry bear?
  • Hungry bear?
  • Bear
  • Bear
  • Kayaker?
  • Was it the guy on the kayak who had been seen around the cove the last 4 days without ever stepping foot on land, which had been rumored of being homeless, and pirating a place to sleep on the shores of Ismailof Island here in Halibut Cove?
  • Was it Cosgood Creeps and Mr. Crawls who would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those pesky kids and that pesky dog of theirs, Scooby Doo?
  I had to investigate further.  I quietly opened my door and stepped out into the moonlight, my wits more about me, the sleep wearing off, the crisp edges of both my vision and reality returning.

  That noise I heard.   Was one of the horses, who had been let out of the corral to overnight graze.

Sneaky horses!!!

   And so there you have it.  I dream more vividly here, and more consistently than I ever have anywhere in my life.  I have been known to sleep walk from time to time and have quite the collection of silly stories, but this week takes the cake.  I won't even go into the episode that happened earlier this week.  In a nut shell, that was one of the most memorable sleep walking episodes I have had.  Usually I know when one has happened, because I have a certain feeling, when I finally become fully awake, and I can sometimes remember snippets of them.  But this was about as lucid as I have ever experienced.

  And to answer the lingering question, yes, since I was up, I did finally make the long trek to the bathroom.  Stupid impatient pee.