Friday, November 19, 2010

Post-A-Day: Gil (Five)

(What's this post all about? See where I started off here)


The second Amir started spending the money, he knew he'd be opening the floodgates. He'd be leaving behind the life of a comfortably middle class Brooklynite and 'golden jetpacked' into the world of the wealthy - a world he felt he both didn't belong and he'd be rejected from. The latter was something he was dwelling on at the moment. He didn't have any knowledge or proof of it other than perhaps the parodies of it he saw in episodes of 'The Simpsons' or 'My Name Is Earl', but surely it must go without saying that a man who leapfrogged into his current tax bracket through a stroke of luck (brilliant as his number selection process was) wouldn't be welcomed with open arms into high society? 

More than that though, there was that nagging feeling that with all the challenge removed from having to earn a living, Amir would simply grow complacent and never challenge himself ever again. He'd become the perennial slacker his father always accused him of being, whenever he watched television for more than a half hour, or came home from school with anything less than an A. Sure, he'd resist it at first, insist he was going to use the money to enrich his life, to travel, take tango lessons, finally learn to cook something other than pasta and ramen. Maybe even do something big - something important. But on some level, he felt the transformation was inevitable. He was cognizant enough to know he didn't want to be a spoiled, lazy brat, but simply being aware of the traits and pitfalls wasn't enough.

He couldn't help but be reminded about the first time he got high. He was a late bloomer when it came to drugs and alcohol, drinking a bit in college but never really getting drunk, and trying pot a few times unsuccessfully in college, a friend finally devoted a night to popping his cherry one of the first nights after he moved into his first apartment. As the effects of the homemade gravity bong finally started to take hold, there was a strong initial resistance to the effects. Then, slowly but inevitably, he started going through every one of the stereotypes he'd witnessed before from the side of the sober observer. 

First, there was the paranoia - wondering if his neighbors would hear his loud laughs or see smoke coming out from under the door. Then he was confounded - lost in thought for minutes (that felt like hours)  at a time, his eye barely open, and when he finally attempted to speak, nothing but absolute nonsense came from his mouth. Of course the giggles came next. His situation, everything around him, life itself became such a silly little thing. Finally, the munchies hit. Midway through his third mind-blowingly delicious peanut butter and nutella sandwich, he realized how much of a caricature he'd become, going right through the checklist of cliches. Despite all the knowledge and advance warnings he had, he was powerless to stop himself. For the next two hours, the high stopped being fun, and he sat on his futon with his head hanging down, lost in thought, constantly grounding and reminding himself over and over that his feelings were fake. 

He rarely indulged ever again - the loss of control didn't sit well with him (it was similar with drinking, and by now he had perfected the art of drinking slowly enough to stay mostly sober throughout the night) - and the incident creeped into all areas of his life - strong feelings of love, lust, happiness and sadness were heavily scrutinized. Any heightened emotion put him on the defensive. Even his revenge fantasy against Bergstrom was questioned at times because of the pleasure it brought him, just thinking about it. He justified the whole experience rationalizing that letting Bergstrom go unchallenged brought even worse thoughts into his mind, hence some sacrifices needed to be made.

This was another strong argument in favor of giving away the money - on top of all the good he would be doing in the world by donating it, seemed like more than enough justification for giving it all away. He also would be able to stay a semi-hip Williamsburg resident, living paycheck to paycheck (of course, once he found the means to getting a paycheck again), the lifestyle he knew, was comfortable in, and where he belonged. He also wouldn't be tempted to do anything stupid. Getting rid of all the money, as crazy as it sounded, was clearly the most logical solution. He could even keep a tiny portion of it, enough to last him a few lean years, and no one would begrudge him for it. It was a win-win-win situation. Easy-peesy. 

He continued to add items into Column B, but no matter how lopsided the comparison looked, the single  item (rather, the single concept contained with the few items) written in Column A still tipped the scales in its favor. Emotion was still trumping logic. This frustrated Amir to no end.

Soon after he finished his coffee, he decided to put off the decision for yet another day. Unfortunately for him, a new complication would arrive.

Her name was Cherie.

(More tomorrow)

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