Because I’m a creature being propelled through the world by science, I empathize with Frankenstein’s Monster. And even though I’m still operating with all my original parts, there are many a day when I feel stitched together from pre-putrescent parts picked from their plots (sorry for the alliteration—I’ve been reading a lot of old school Marvel) . Just a lumbering mass of limbs and tubes hurdling brutishly throughout the day.
However, no matter how awkward those outsourced limbs would have been for the monster, one has to assume that–lacking any physical impairments like rigor mortis or gangrene–the plasticity of his stolen brain would eventually accommodate all those disparate parts and get them to work in concert. It might be ugly, but it would still work.
I’ve seen my body work before, so I know it’s possible, though I can’t point to any specific instance because my body isn’t something I notice until it starts fucking up. Maybe it only misbehaves as a cry for attention.
I’ve been thinking about this lately, because recently there have been a lot of moments where my current state is “general unrest.” Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m hungry or if I’m going to throw up. Am I tired? Or do I want to run around in circles for a while? It makes me feel like a kid again –not in the whimsical Hollywood way, but in the way where I kind of want to throw a tantrum because I have no idea what’s happening.
I also don’t want to oversell it—these are moments of uncertainty, not intense pain. Sometimes they don’t even last more than a few minutes. The other day I was standing by the window eating a breakfast sandwich when I was suddenly overtaken by the feeling that my blood sugar was both dropping and spiking. Then my stomach let me know that I didn’t have to throw up right at that moment, but if I wanted to, the option was there.
The feeling dissipated by the time I finished the sandwich, so my completely unscientific diagnosis is that this was a momentary set back in my body’s battle for equilibrium. Before I ate that breakfast sandwich, I had to take 10 pills to digest it and inject 6 units of insulin to process the carbs/sugar. My stomach received a shipment of one Jimmy Dean Sausage, Egg and Cheese Croissant before it had the tools to process it and a work order showing what it was supposed to do with it. There was some momentary confusion in the warehouse and no one wanted to take responsibility, but it eventually sorted itself out.
This search for equilibrium makes by body feel like a Voltron where at least 2 of the lion pilots are drunk (I honestly have no idea how Voltron works, but the thought of a drunk left leg is really funny to me). The health of the overall system is fine, but one part is throwing off the momentum. Sometimes it’s my stomach. Sometimes my lungs. Sometimes I have no idea what part it is and I just lay down until the pilot sobers up. Usually, enough Voltron pilots showed up to work in prime condition, that the rest of the system is able to build up enough inertia to keep the operation moving.
This feeling is usually imperceptible to the outside observer, however inside I feel like that poor bastard from QWOP. If you’ve never tried QWOP, it’s a game where you control a runner in his quest for Olympic gold. The challenge comes from the fact that the game uses four keys to individually control the runner’s thighs and calves. If you can’t get the rhythm down, you’ll end up just falling on your face. It’s both maddening and addicting. It may not look pretty, but I’ll get that gold if it means I have to drag my fucking face all the way to the finish line.
As the instructions for QWOP state, “ideally you will run 100 metres…”. I wake up every day hoping to run a metaphorical 100 meters, but at least half of my scores in QWOP are negative meters and my metaphorical life score probably pans out the same way. But still, I keep trying to find the rhythm, because it’s both maddening and strangely addicting. Some days I do manage to drag my face over the finish line. Some days I’ve pushed myself too hard and I have to lay down for a little bit and come back to it later. Conceivably, this pattern repeats itself until one day when you lay down and don’t get back up. Then—if you’re lucky—someone will dig up your corpse, salvage the usable parts, hit ‘em with some lightning and the journey starts anew.
Personally, I’m looking forward to it.