Spring2008

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On Something I Hate

Self-Pollution

By Neil Bhandari

Ugggghhh…

Disgusting…

It ends the same way every time… regret… disgust… self-loathing, even…

The problem, really, is that once you think of it, once the stupid idea pushes itself into your head, you can’t concentrate on anything else until you’ve done it…

You imagine it in your hands, both hands if you’re in a greedy, lustful way— cause it’s just pure animalistic gratification, after all—and you cant help but get a bit excited… flushed…

It’s so fucking stupid….

I was on the couch—I find it’s usually born more out of boredom than actual desire—and had been for at least the past three hours…

And this endless winter and cabin fever have offered no help in breaking the habit…

so I flip through the channel guide a few more times and hit REFRESH on my lap top, which is sitting right in front of me, knowing full well that I’m just delaying the inevitable at this point…

What the hell…

The worst part is that I know beforehand that I’m gonna regret it afterwards… and my hands and lap are gonna be covered with the shit, and I’m gonna have to take a shower that I don’t feel like taking, cause it’s going to interrupt my marathon couch sit….

And it makes me absolutely sick to think that I’m like one of those disgusting fat guys that goes to the movies alone in the middle of the day wearing a fucking rain coat.. or the ladies who own too many cats and you know when they go home alone at night they just sit there and get all nasty in it while the cats watch… or worse…

The thought makes me sick… seriously, I could puke, and yet I know I’m still going to end up doing it… just like always…

I used to work with a kid, Justin, who would do it at work… all the time… seriously, every day… he’d just get up from his cubicle, walk away with this ridiculous perverted grin on his face, and come back ten minutes later, laughing, knowing how much it disgusted me… at least he was willing to comply with office policy enough to not do it at his desk, but still, I swear I could smell it on him when he’d come back…

I was eleven the first time I tried it… being the youngest of three children, I’d picked up enough information along the way to have a pretty good idea of how the whole thing worked… so one day, when my mom left me home alone while she ran a quick errand, I decided to give it a go… I was nervous, obviously, but the sheer anticipation was all the motivation I needed.. and it was actually a lot easier than id expected to get it all going… sparing the details—because there’s no reason for you to have a picture of an eleven-year-old me in your head anyways—it was simply amazing.. and to think that id done that BY MYSELF was a pretty incredible feeling… I must admit, from that first time, I was hooked…

while my parents had never specifically mentioned it, I knew the general rule around our house was that those sorts of ’unhealthy’ things were best to be avoided… and so I looked forward to those golden opportunities when I could be home alone… when my mom would ask what I wanted for dinner, I would purposefully request something that would require her to make a trip to the grocery store… on weekends, I’d decline my dad’s offers to take my siblings and I out for ice cream or an afternoon snack…

of course, looking back, they probably knew… how couldn’t they?

But it didn’t matter… I loved everything about it… the initial, solitary firings… the gradual clustering working into a brief, momentous rapid fire…the final, residual explosions and aftershocks… life, death, rebirth… of course, I wasn’t so poetic about it in my youth… it was sheer, self-indulgent joy…

And I know exactly when it changed…

It was a few years later, and I had my first real girlfriend… we’d begun dating at fourteen, eighth graders, and by the time we were sixteen, high schoolers with jobs and cars, she’d become obsessed… almost overnight, it seemed… and it showed… big time.. and my friends had no qualms with teasing me about it… I’d ask her what she wanted to do on the weekend, and invariably a new Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise or Antonio Banderas movie would be playing… which meant I’d be hanging out with my buddies again, while she and the girls had their own fun….

Which is not to say that we guys couldn’t enjoy ourselves, but I like to think we weren’t quite so obvious about the whole thing… and we certainly didn’t get excited about doing it together…

After a couple of months, I finally decided to accompany her to the movies—Meet Joe Black, it was—seeing if my presence would make a difference at all, or if it’d be like I wasn’t even there… allowing her to lead, as I was the one joining her activity, we made our way to the back row… I think she even held my hand for the first few minutes of the movie… but here it was… after Brad’s first big tuxedo scene, she gave me a quick glance and a hand-squeeze, and she was gone… my heart dropped… hers was probably racing… why the hell was I even here?

I closed my eyes and threw my black hood over my head… I knew exactly what was going on, and the best I could hope for was to sleep through it… a couple of minutes passed, but before sweet slumber could rescue me, she’s back… I can feel her next to me.. though I keep my eyes closed, I can feel the repetitive motion of her wrist, the slight seat adjustments and accommodations, the throat clearings and the increases and decreases in her breathing patterns…. And what’s worse- I can tell that she’s not the only one… everyone else around me is doing the exact same thing… im surrounded by people, otherwise normal, everyday, innocent people, who’ve come here to engage in this gluttonous, lascivious, Caligulary activity and their shiftings and coughings and fingerlickings and gasps and giggles are cracking and popping on my eardrums and my only choices are to get up and walk myself home or stand up and scream DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE ANY IDEA HOW FUCKING DISGUSTING THIS IS?!?!?! ….

And I’ve hated it ever since…

Which doesn’t change the fact, of course, that I’m gonna do it again in about three minutes… there is no point in fighting it… it wont do any good… in just three minutes my hands will be moistened and salty, glistening in the butter-yellow glow as I smash handful after handful of miserable, wretched, already-regretted popcorn into my ignorant, insatiable mouth…

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