The Generational Limp
By Josh Davis
Usually, when I wake up in the morning, I check the contents of my refrigerator as if by some grand wondrous black magic, something will appear, something that contains a cure for hunger, boredom, social anxiety, missing sock syndrome, premature ejaculation, lyme disease and dysentery. Or maybe a half eaten sandwich less than three days old. This morning, there is only a nine tenths full pitcher of beer and a week old box of pizza crusts.
James Christopher is asleep on the couch in the living room. I am going to assume he is responsible for the pitcher of beer, probably bought at the bar that lies all of about 112 feet away from the house. As for the pizza crusts, I am going to blame terrorism. It is, after all, an election year.
I rub my eyes clean with the unclean palms of my hands. Nothing comes off. Not world hunger, not the Country Music Channel, not the undershirt of the imaginary tribe of prostitutes wearing Sonic Youth headbands that live in my imaginary basement, not the sleep that hangs over me, not even my ability to discern the horrible plaque-yellow color of the kitchen wallpaper. I blame this on the basic generational sway backwards.
I turn on the television. I turn off the television. James blinks, and knocks over a ½ full glass of water from the living room table. I watch the water spread across the fibers of the carpet as it sinks and disappears.
The phone rings.
Tim wants to walk 153 feet to the Coinstar inside the grocery store across the street. I groan about walking so far so early in the morning, but agree to meet him in an hour.
James pulls a rough blue canvas blanket over his mopped hair and turns slightly to the left. It is an election year.
I think of driving somewhere later. I am planning my escape.
I am going to need gas. The gas station is roughly half the distance between the grocery store with said magical Coinstar and my house. Tim is going to want to get food after his change magically turns into actual usable money. The Chinese restaurant in the grocery store shopping center is roughly half the distance between the gas station and the grocery store. A car traveling at thirty miles an hour leaving my driveway at noon stopping at the gas station and heading toward the grocery store would take roughly an eighth the time a man walking same distance would. I think of this.
The stop sign on the corner will slow the car by approximately four and a half seconds, not taking into account the possibility of cars in cross traffic, or even more daunting, cars slowing down and blocking the way by making left hand turns, or worse, cars slowing down and making left hand turns without proper use or warning of turn signals.
I wonder if I have any clean socks.
If I do drive somewhere, there is an 84.6% probability it will be the mall, which is roughly four and three fourteenths of a mile away. There are eateries in the mall, which would cut down on the time spent in the Chinese food restaurant, but the distance between the eateries and the record store, whose attendance is two-to-one favorite to the video store, is considerably greater than the distance traversed between the grocery store and the Chinese restaurant.
If we go to the Chinese restaurant, Tim will get a large order of wonton soup, and I will get the small sweet and sour chicken. If we go to the mall, we will each get two slices of cheese pizza, at roughly two dollars and eleven cents less, and twenty four cents more, respectably, plus a large coke each, adding an additional dollar-forty nine.
James kicks his left leg toward the ceiling fan which is traveling lazily at half the approximate speed of a slightly malnourished five-foot-eleven adult male in his mid twenties with an early afternoon generation limp.
I wonder who James is voting for. I wake him up and ask him.
"I'm going to vote for your fucking mother, Fell."
"But she's not even a citizen."
"I'll make her a fucking citizen."
"What does that even mean? I'll make her a citizen? Are you threatening sexual intercourse with my mother?"
"Yes. Yes, I'm threatening sexual intercourse with your fucking mother. Leave me the fuck alone."
"You'd better wash the marker off your forehead first. She's a stickler for cleanliness. Did you know it'll most likely take you forty six times as long to get rid of the word dickhead as it did for the person to write it?"
"Fuckoff. It says dickhead on my goddamned forehead?"
"There's just one way to find out."
"Christ. The bathroom is about equidistant to the kitchen. I may as well drink the rest of that pitcher and get up early tomorrow to petition the city for a name change."
"You remember the pitcher, but somehow, someone the event of someone using a permanent marker to write expletives on your forehead totally escapes your memory?"
"Something like that."
"What was your GPA last term?"
"Your mother must be very proud."
"Fuck my mother."
"Is she running for president?"
There's a knock on the door. I am nearly three and a quarter times father away from the door as James, who is in the lengthy process of making a 46 point turn to his right and pulling the last unused eighth of the rough blue canvas blanket back over his naked mopped hair.