And there’s my television. It’s on. I don’t even know what I’m watching, “what time is it?” I ask myself and my voice is unfamiliar, strange. Is someone in the room? Are they asking for the time? The lights are off and there could be someone here, maybe I didn’t see them come in? I don’t remember what I was watching I could’ve forgot someone sat down…but I’m alone, I live alone. “Hey, get me a beer?” Nothing. Surely if there were a stranger here they’d be kind enough to get me a beer…my voice is a little more recognizable to myself. “What if I just walked away from all this…this stupid television, this rotten couch, and my unstrung guitar…my cat is dead, no one needs me,” Nothing. Now I’m just talking to myself. “What if I killed, MYSELF?!” That felt good.
I’m studying the television and the sound it makes when muted and the sound of my refrigerator humming sounds like an old fish tank I had as a kid…I have to unplug the fridge, there’s nothing in it anyway, so I can listen closer because I’m certain there’s a hidden frequency that makes television so addicting because it isn’t what’s on the television that’s addicting, that shit makes me want to kill myself.
“Maybe that’s their secret?” What secret? “Maybe they’re just making us dumber and dumber by slowly making their television shows dumber?” Who’s they? And why would they want us to be dumb? “It’s all about control and keeping people in their place inside on the couch.” That was definitely not my voice.
It’s cold outside. Who are these people and where are they all going? I follow a small group for a few blocks and feel them feel me behind them and the more nervous they get the more nervous I get and so I stop and cross the street and into a bar and sit down at the bar and order a beer and look up at a television playing a football game mounted high on a brick wall. I finish my first beer and look at all the other people at the bar. There’re four or five men alone watching the game and some women on their phones. I want to talk to the guy next to me but I can’t think of anything to say. It’d be strange just to start telling him about my job, what else do I have to talk about? “ I want to dance,” the game is on, wait a minute, the man next to me tells the woman next to him.
Some time passes. I can’t read the score on the distant television and this frustrates me more than the fact I’ve been watching the game and should probably know the score anyhow. The bartender doesn’t even talk to me she just waits until I ask for another beer, or the tab. I get another beer, why not? All I have at home is the television and at least here I have company.
“…and so, and so y’ever think about t.v. and that sound it makes…like you can’t even hear it but it’s there like a person breathing, what if, what if that was what’s addictive about t.v. and not what we’re watching…like, it’s a thing like…what’s it called, hypnotism, no…subliminal message…ah, I can’t think.”
“You’re cut off” are the first words the bartender says to me all night.