Eyes ‘Trained’ On The Prize

If you were an amateur high aiming, well intentioned yet pain-in-the-ass photographer-wannabe cinematographer trying to score a movie deal with an indie project to show, you might sit up at 3 in the morning and think it’s a good idea to recreate Trainspotting.

I wholeheartedly support you and encourage you to try. In fact, I have a little something for you.

I’ve just realized that if someone of your caliber came to my room and tried to zoom in on my desk with a grainy zoom, out of focus, my desk would very closely resemble the scenes from the movie.

You’d see messy piles of grainy white among other piles of mess and an absolute disregard for a decent human state of living. From your view at the other end of the screen, I’d be living in shambles. Dilapidation is me. You’d forget where you were and wonder where you’ve been transported to, how you landed yourself in this mess, and whether you should be seriously considering this project, accounting for your own mental wellness.

Until you take the lens away from your eye. Welcome home, my failed Academy receipient. Welcome to my room. Welcome to my desk.

It’d take you a minute to get your bearings back before you come to realise that no, there was no powder and the books weren’t keeping a tab on customers (although, I do believe my roommate is into the finer arts of accounting, if you’re altogether keen,) but were just repeatedly scratched out half-assed math solutions, and those squiggly lines and symbols were not spells and ancient incantations, but were, again, failed math problem attempts (don’t think the original movie covered those) and in fact, all you can see (as far as the eye can see, for that matter) is just. And. Only. Tissue papers. Piles of them, mountains of them, it doesn’t end. I haven’t robbed a bank and got me some crack, I’ve literally robbed the dining hall for not food, but freaking paper napkins for when my nose cracks out another one and I still find the need to get more.

This flu is probably more annoying than your camera work.

And then follows a sneeze of such volumes that you take a step back in alarm. Maybe, you feel, you should be getting out of here soon for your physical health.

Oh no, honey, some of my “powder” must’ve gone in my nose. The volumes of it coming in these days… the orders just don’t stop, you see!

On second thoughts, you’re asking yourself, how soon is now? [Allow me to break character for just a second and ask if there are any Smiths fans reading this who suddenly perked up at that last line?]

You haven’t seen my bin yet! I protest. The stores in there are tremendous!

Except you probably heard ‘trebenduz’ instead. You take a step back.

You pick up your camera. You’ve had enough. You suddenly remember that big budget project you had lined up where you tape 15 hours’ worth of some rich old guy’s pet pig. “It’s for Swina’s birthday, you know. Plus, it pays.”

I want to protest. You don’t know what you’re missing. The potential in this room. There’s a fortress of tissues, a mountain of used tissues, there’s struggle, drama, frustration, torn homework assignments, my unmade bed, the anticipation, a three week old half eaten, uncovered piece of funnel cake–

But you’re already out of the room before I can complete that last line. You really have other places to be right now. You run out in terror and slam the door shut behind you; perhaps the book was a better idea after all.

I’m still behind the shut door. I can only shake my head. Strange fellow you must be, to waste such potential…

Oh well. I’ve still got the original set right here with me. Which reminds me. It’s about time I actually got around to watching Trainspotting.

Up In Smoke

There was an idea, a seemingly foolproof plan, that had lurked in my head for a while. During the last few months of school, I’d been thinking of trying to study in the hours that no one was around to disturb me– early morning and late at night. At least so far, there’s no construction at 3 AM!
The only reason my foolproof plan kept failing was that I couldn’t sleep in the day.

Regardless though, I’d been taking to the night. Four years ago, I couldn’t have possibly stayed up past one. But I think, when I look back on my high school years, I may just associate 2 AM with thermodynamics. Go figure.
Unless I am super distracted, in which case I give up at 2 and go to sleep, at least the studying at night part of the plan still doesn’t fail me. (One minute… I’ve done nearly zero studying since school ended, this statement has no evidence backing it up.)

But as always, there’s an exception to the rule, and I’m not even talking chemistry.
Mum sometimes checks up on me if she momentarily wakes up at night. Sometimes she gets me a water bottle or yells at me to go to sleep (“it’s already 3 AM!”) or comes with the dreaded question: “Did you/Will you have your milk?”
This one particular night though, she decided, after checking up on me, to make something to eat, possibly for my sister’s tiffin the next morning.
She wouldn’t tell me. Maybe it was one of the protein powders she’s trying out on my sister. I’d know if I heard her scream the next day.
I was sitting with some chemistry, only half awake. I’m scribbling down reactions of burning salts, high ignition temperatures and product gases when I smell smoke.
I realise it’s probably too late in the night. So I glance at the clock for permission to leave, and it laughs back in my face.
It’s only 12:30 AM. What?
So I get up and go outside to grab a bottle of water.

There’s actually smoke, I can’t hallucinate a smell and cough! I frown.
My turn to check up on mum.
Mum says, don’t open the kitchen door.
I say, someone outside’s burning something?
Mum says, I was cooking…
I realise something.
You burned something? I ask.
“If you need a water bottle, take it from outside.”
“What were you cooking?” I ask.
Mum doesn’t answer that.
“I thought it was late, I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“But what could you possibly have burnt this late at night?” But she won’t say.
I begin to laugh. This could end up worse than mystery meat! In that moment, I forgive my sister for everything.
Smoke on the water
A fire in the sky

Man, mum makes it possible!

The laughing soon turned to coughing though, and I had to open every window in the house. Diffusion of gases. Middle school chemistry.

I did eventually return to my (new and improved) high school chemistry, only to find that it was 1 AM. Half an hour? My foolproof plan nosedived out the window.
I remember sitting down with a sigh, thinking, ‘spoke too soon’.

The Next Day…
The Burnt Magic Potion had revealed itself.
It was a mixture, just as I’d suspected. Like mystery meat though, I don’t know what it is. I can’t know the ingredients, that’s just the way it is. Of course, I only came to know from the scream.

As I sat with a chemistry text book, I heard coughs and screams. By the time I rushed out to see who needed a paramedic though, no one was there. My sister, the lab rat, was in the bathroom, possibly puking. What she’d left behind was a sight to behold.

It looked like a scene straight out of Trainspotting.
There was disarray at the table, some spilt liquid (water), overturned glasses, oh, and powder. A lot of powder, sprinkled over the table like someone had recently had a hurried session. All I needed to do to complete the scene was draw the curtains and darken the room.
I didn’t stick around and sniff though, but headed back to my chemistry books. [Fun fact for geeks and junkies: this chemistry text book of mine almost teaches you how to prepare herion, codeine and morphine. Almost. I know the structures. It’s under a section called “Everyday-life Chemistry. Come talk to me. 😉 ]
I did later hear something about puking up breakfast. The Magic Potion’s done it’s job, I’d say!