The Reality Institute


Wake up-2-3.
Fetal Position-2-3.
Talk to self-2-3.
Get evaluated-2-3.
We all have routines, a set pattern of things that we do everyday. Although, every once in a while, we divert from our normal behavior and do something entirely different. It’s just like dancing-2-3.
Descartes said something about not being able to trust your senses. Take wax, for example. He said that wax from a candle could be rolled into a ball or formed into some other shape. Melted, rolled into a ball again. It’s a completely different thing, but still made up of the same stuff. You know, wax. Someone else said something about when you put an oar in water and how the water makes the oar look like it’s bent. I’m not sure who it was, but it was somebody. It’s hard to keep everything straight. The point is: if your senses lie to you sometimes, how do you know they aren’t lying to you all the time? Everything could just be an illusion-2-3.
Despite what many people might think (popular opinion) you can actually make friends here. In fact, sometimes it’s pretty easy. I have a friend here named Samuel. We can just chat it up for hours, you know? Sam’ll say to me,
“fuck…motherfuckin’…unnecessary…welfare my ass…corrupt son’s of bitches…vestigial…”
I’ll say something back like,
“never once cared…fuckin’…you’d think they were kings or somethin…”
We have a lot in common. Once you get us goin’, we’ll start a screaming and shouting like you wouldn’t believe. Sometimes it takes a couple nurses and syringes to shut us up-2-3.
And maybe it’s all an illusion and I’m not really here. I mean, there’s illusions all over the damn place, the world. The doctors, they put on an illusion of subjectivity. An illusion that they care, but I’m just another case study to them. I’m part of a select few who is unfit for society’s standards-2-3.
Anything could be an illusion. You can’t really trust your senses. You can’t trust the corners of your eyes. You see things and hear things. And you notice a lot of things. But maybe I’m imprisoned in my “home” because I notice little things. I notice too many, in fact-2-3.
For example, I notice that today’s sky is bluer than yesterday’s. I notice that I can still see the sunny things from this place. I notice when my brother and his wife come to visit me every month-2-3.
This month, my brother is wearing a suit. I think he just came from going out to dinner. On Monday, his co-workers will say,
“Hey, Greg, how was your weekend?”
And he’ll say, “It was nice. We went to that new Italian restaurant.”
“There’s a new one of those?” they’ll say.
He’ll reply with something like, “Uh-huh, over by the mental hospital.”
“Which one is that?”
“You know, the one that my crazy brother’s at,” he’ll say.
“Oh yeah, I’ve heard good things.”
And here he is with his suit and his blue tie, which is bluer than the last time he was here. But who cares about his tie-2-3.
His wife’s name is My Pretty Girl to me. That’s why, when she comes to dance with me, I say,
“Hey! There’s my pretty girl.”
To my brother, it’s Lindsey-2-3.
He says, “Hey, Charlie, this is my wife Lindsey.” Not like I haven’t met her every month. But maybe he doesn’t get it. Like he doesn’t get that she’s sweeter than the chocolates he gives her for Valentine’s Day. Chocolates so normal that only a guy like Greg would give them to her.
Her dress is whiter than the walls of a mental institution. And it waves at me as we
She’s wearing a black button up sweater because it’s cold in here. Blacker than the halls of a mental institution at night and softer than my hand in hers.
There’s always a nurse or a doctor standing off to the side of our dance floor as something Sinatra plays. And I look forward to it every month. Not the nurses and doctors, I see them everyday, but the dancing-2-3.
The doctor stands off to the side while we dance, right? He says to his clipboard,
“Charlie suffers from delusions of normality.”
Meanwhile, the voice in the nurse’s head says,
“You better watch him, Charlie could hurt somebody.”
And society says to me (Charlie),
“You better watch him, Charlie could hurt somebody.”
It’s funny because I thought I was just dancing-2-3.
Meanwhile, my brother’s wife laughs. She’s enjoying herself, why can’t the nurse and the doctor, I ask her. They may or may not be mad at me because I notice little things-2-3.
I think Greg and his wife just came from dinner. You know how I can tell? It wasn’t because they told me that they came from dinner. It’s because she smells like pasta. And her hair is wavy like lasagna noodles. And she’s wearing a dress and make up. I pretend that she got dressed up just to see me-2-3.
In fact, I ask her if she got dressed up to see me. She smiles and says,
“Of course, Charlie.”
And then,
I can’t trust my senses, as Descartes says. As my family says. As the doctor says-2-3.
There are a couple things I can trust, and I know I can trust them-2-3.
I can trust that, every month, my brother and his wife (My Pretty Girl) come and visit me. And that his wife and I dance on our white-tiled dance floor-2-3.
I can trust that she’s the least normal person I know. Less normal than the things I can see but others can’t. More abnormal than my brother’s blue tie and my wildest delusions. More extraordinary than the chocolates and the pasta and anything my senses could create. More real than any hallucination. This I can trust-2-3.
And that she’s my brother’s pretty girl, not mine. But that it doesn’t really matter when we’re dancing. And that this is the most real it can ever get.

One Response to “Twirl”

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