plan z

Feeling numb and heavy-headed as one does after eleven extravagant hours of sleep, I slowly came to around one p.m. I lay in bed for at least another twenty minutes, first planning my day, then planning to arise. As it was Tuesday, I actually had somewhere to go. I scrambled out of bed and perambulated in the general direction of the refrigerator, bumping into a some walls and furniture on the way, praying for a miracle. No such luck. I took inventory: A milk carton, two days expired; stale bread; Hannibal, my one inch toy turtle; some dry cheese; a videocassette; raspberry jam; my keys; cornflakes; salt; pepper; and a cucumber that had given up on life weks ago.

“Good morning to you too, Hannibal,” I said in a dry voice that was not quite awake yet.

Hannibal on table, bread in toaster, milk in glass, cheese in slices, slices on toast and lots of jam on top.

When done eating, I ran a bath and went to check on my experiment. I was trying to find out just how much preservatives you can fit into 437 grammes of cake. My tentative findings were: A lot, for the cake, in its twelfth week, looked just as delicious as ever. I placed a dated note next to it and photographed the two.

In the living-room I thanked the VCR for watching A Midsummer Night’s Wet Dream with me last night and kissed it. Having also paid homage to the television set, I took Hannibal with me into the bathroom to watch the tub fill. It was only halfway full, and as we soon grew bored, I added bathfoam to spice things up a bit.The bath was delicious: warm and wet.

When dry and dressed again, I broke into my piggybank and got out busfare x2. Me and my new leather jacket stepped out into the sun to wait for the bus, but it didn’t arrive on time. I set my watch back a few minutes. Having delayed my watch more than 15 minutes, me and my new leather jacket gave up and decided to travel to my destination via bicycle. Proud of myself for finding this clever way to do two things at the same time; save busfare and get some exercise, I went back in and changed to my tracksuit, and donned my wonderful walkman, complete with FM-stereo, graphic equaliser, and super bass. Then I bid my new leather jacket farewell, and went to say hello to my beautiful bicycle, and ask it to come with me.

Buckets, bathtubs, small lakes of water tried to discourage me and my bicycle from our travels, but as I find surrendering to the elements the greatest conceivable act of cowardice, we doubled our efforts and stepped on it. We made it there in a record forty-three minutes, or rather, we made it almost there in a record forty-three minutes. In the parking lot right outside our destination was one of those arrogant midgets in one of these huge monster jeeps. It was bigger and probably more expensive than the apartment I rent. I believe I read somewhere that this particular model comes with an inbuilt elevator and a maid.

Well, when we arrived on the scene, this bugger was just driving around the parking lot, probably watching television and thinking ‘They’ll get out of the way, mine is bigger.’

Now would be a good time to share with you me and my bicycle’s stand on the motorist-bicyclist relationship: Motorists never show any consideration for me or my bike, so we have none for them. We ride around recklessly like there are no cars, almost hoping one of them hits us so I can act out my little joke: “Are you okay?” says the anxious driver, and if not either unconscious or dead, I reply contemptuously, “Yes, wanna try again?”

I digress. Let us return to the accident. In short, I didn’t get out of his way, and he didn’t kill me. He merely nudged me ever so slightly, precisely the nudge needed to knock me off my bike.

And into a puddle. He never knew what hit him and arrogantly drove off as I tried to swim ashore. Climbing onto land again, I found that the excrutiating pain that using my left hand caused me, rendered it useless. I helped my bike out of the puddle, and led it to a bicycle stand, where I left it as I limped into the unemployment office and registered with a feeble smile.

I returned out into the rain, consulted my bike, put my wonderful walkman back on, and tried to climb up on the bike cursing everybody and everything to hell and back. I made it five metres on the bike, screaming all the way.

Limping towards the next bus stop with the well appreciated assistance of my bike, wondering whether I would have to draw blood to be allowed to get my bike on the bus, a thought ocurred to me: I had a vision of my busfare lying smugly in the backpocket of my jeans, resting in a lump on the floor at home.

I checked the contents of my pockets and found my keys and an old shopping list. I sat down and cotemplated my miserable predicament. On the radio I heard the first notes of “Raindrops keep falling on my head” and started to cry.

I tried to think of ways to end my life using either a set of keys or an old shopping list, or both. Nothing came to mind. At least nothing that would work with spectators liable to intervene.

It was time to resort to plan Z. Plan Z is designed for situations like these, when the world gets too much to take. Actually, claiming that I sat at home and designed it is somewhat of an overstatement, and I can’t say it takes much conscious resorting on my part, it just sort of happens.

Plan Z involves insanity manifesting itself in terminal joy.

I started singing along with the tune:

So I just did me some talkin’ to the sun
and I said I didn’t like the way he got things done
sleepin’ on the job

Those raindrops are fallin’ on my head
they keep fallin’

But there’s one thing – I know
the blues they send to meet me
won’t defeat me
it won’t be long ’till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head
But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turnin’ red
cryin’s not for me – ’cause
I’m never gonna stop the rain by complainin’
Because I’m free – nothin’s worryin’ me.

You’ll know, since this is a first person narrative, that I didn’t go completely bonkers. I just went slightly mad for a while. I stopped just short of the point of no return, and had a short vacation there.

Soon after I got home, I returned to normal, went and thanked my bike for its assistance, put it away, and took another bath.

That was a year ago now. I probably don’t have to tell you that these days I never leave home without my Emergency Kit: my wonderful walkman, complete with FM-stereo, graphic equaliser, and super bass; fresh batteries; and a tape with Burt Bacharach’s “Raindrops keep falling on my head” repeated over and over again.


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