Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Entry #17

June 1st, 2009 by Wordsman


Jon was sure that he was going insane.

Dave and Jordan were gone for the weekend.  Jon had no idea where they had gone; he had only made sure to ask the “when,” skipping “where” and “why.”  He was very glad of this, as he had a large amount of homework that needed to be taken care of.  The library was available, but it was supposed to rain all weekend long, so the ability to get his work done in peace and quiet without having to leave his apartment was much appreciated.

But . . . he couldn’t concentrate.  Every time he started to type he got out only a few words before he stopped, as if he was expecting something.  Every time he opened a book to read he got no further than the first paragraph before pausing, as if he had heard something.  Jon started to think that he was being interrupted by the silence, but that made no sense at all.

After a few hours of attempting to get something accomplished on all of his various projects and failing at every single one, he went downstairs.  He told himself it was just to get something to eat, but he knew that he wasn’t that hungry and that there probably wasn’t anything he’d want to eat in the kitchen anyway.  Next to the kitchen, however, was the living room.  Telling himself that he was simply testing the theory that the silence was somehow bothering him, Jon flipped on the TV.

A talk show came on.  He quickly flipped it off, thinking that he was just wasting time and electricity, but in those few seconds he realized that he felt slightly more at ease with the television on.  Now he knew he was going crazy.  What kind of person can’t concentrate unless the TV is on?  Had he really become so accustomed to it being on that he couldn’t stand the silence?  It was ridiculous.  He thrust the remote back down onto the couch and returned to his room.

Ten minutes later he came back downstairs.  He turned the TV back on.  Jon set the volume so that it was just loud enough for him to hear upstairs and began to walk away, but something was wrong.  He still felt strangely ill at ease.  Considering the problem for a bit, Jon began to wonder if the choice of program mattered.  Dave and Jordan would never watch a talk show.  Was he so accustomed to their television habits that he was unable to settle down unless something that they would watch was on?

Jon rotated through the channels (good god, why were there so many channels?  Was he paying for this?) until he found a ridiculous, mindless action film.  To make the illusion more true to life, he turned the volume up several notches . . . and then several more.  The sounds of gunfire, explosions, and dialogue that really wasn’t worth the time it took to speak it filled the room.  Jon felt comforted.  He felt at home.  He felt like after he finished his homework he was definitely going to have to look into getting one of those rooms with the padded walls where they make you wear those awkward jackets.

His problem solved, Jon went back to the homework grindstone.  He got a few paragraphs written.  He read a few pages from his textbooks.  And yet . . . something still wasn’t right.  Shutting the door to block out the noise helped (Jon had no idea why he had to turn up the volume and then shield himself from the extra noise, but it worked), but even then he wasn’t able to work as effectively as he usually could.  Something was missing.

With a surge of concern for his own sanity, Jon realized that it wasn’t the noise that he had been missing; it was his roommates.  The human brain has an amazing ability to adapt to situations, no matter how unfamiliar or uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, it seemed that in this situation Jon’s brain had adapted so well to the burden of his roommates that it now felt wrong when they weren’t around.  Jon shook his head.  He had survived midterms, only to be brought to his knees by a road trip or whatever Dave and Jordan were off doing.

So what was still missing?  What did he need to make his brain believe that his stupid roommates were still at home?  Then he got it.  That was what he needed: stupidity.  Dave and Jordan didn’t just turn up the TV to a ridiculous volume; they also had ridiculously petty arguments about how the TV would be used.  And with no one else around, he would have to have the argument with himself.

“Hey!” he yelled, doing a poor but still somewhat effective job of imitating Dave’s voice.  He almost stopped at that point, because he was an intelligent person and there was no earthly reason why he should have to do something so idiotic.  But it’s amazing how desperate an intelligent person can be for a little idiocy.  “It’s my turn to pick, and I think we should play, uh, Alien Death . . . Extravaganza!”

“No,” Jon argued back, shifting into Jordan’s deeper tones.  “We’re watching Blazing Guns of Glory . . . With Explosions . . . Five!”

“Then I guess there’s only one way to settle this,” said Jon (as Dave).

“Indeed,” said Jordan/Jon.  “We must now begin the ritual of . . . Ultimate Television Selection Powers . . . of Doom . . . to the Death!”

Jon was just about to lunge at . . . himself when a loud shout rang out.  “Would you two stop this nonsense?” the voice cried.  “I’m trying to get some work done up here!”  It took him almost a minute to realize that the voice was his.

“I really am crazy,” he said.  Then he went upstairs and finally got going on his work.

Posted in Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? | No Comments »

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.