I have a curse now I guess. Three months in a place is the longest I can last before it ends one way or another. I miss my cave.
Egg writes about a Hausbrand
by The Egg Party
Half my house burnt down. Following this, in a moment of self-pity, I look for a technique to sure up my mental health. I search a therapeutic solution as a fool does a fortune — one that is quick. My scheme, in this moment, is to speak in the third person. Use this objectivity to help manage my emotions. The decision is the result of reading a study published by the University of Michigan, Self-Distancing: Theory, Research, and Current Directions. The aim of the paper is to:
‘...introduce the concept of self-distancing and describe the conceptual framework we developed to explain how this process should facilitate adaptive self-reflection.’
This distance, possibly beneficial, could help in interpreting the unnecessary blame I put on myself. It is not something I have done, talking to myself as Egg. The concept, like any other new idea, gives another layer of therapy, that of distraction, a technique exceedingly useful to me. The only time I have spoken in the third person was long ago working in a bar and we(the staff) decided that for a shift we would try this self-referential method. We discussed how this derided form of communication was the sole property of arrogant wankers. In the end, we received tips well below average and the system was deemed a failure. After cleaning, we drank as we decided how guilty we were of this arrogance. I believe that creativity and arrogance are strangely intertwined and so maybe it is the best place for me to start writing on it.
Bartender needs a drink.
Egg was home.
He returned to his flat at eleven. He had finished a Deep Reading session, a slow analysis of Nabokov’s Lolita, and was exhausted. He had worked with a group of six people, pouring over the first four paragraphs of the novel. Once home he watered his plants on the balcony and then returned inside to eat some comfort food, watch a comfort film, recline on a comfort couch. A line from the book echoed:
‘Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.’
Egg was asleep.
He woke to strange lights on the wall in front of him. Turning, he discovered the source of the image to be surreal flames. Egg attempted to fix the crisis, pulling a flaming blanket off the outside couch, taking food from the mouth of the beast. The fire demon that was inhabiting the body of the couch, having the meal snatched from tongues multitude, was furious. It spat burning plastic over him in anger. The cheap material of the furniture adhered to his skin, causing no immediate pain, only dysfunction. The material was inclusive, like makes like, becoming part of Egg, drawing him into the hot party. He looked at the fire and realised it had grown too large to tame. His withered hand lay to his side.
Egg was panic.
With efforts to extinguish failed and he rushed back inside, running around screaming warnings. He knocked on doors, yelled down stairs, demanded attention. His housemate Florian would later tell him that his voice remained for a long time, vivid in memory.
'Fire! Fire! The house is on fucking Fire!'
All eventually woke but were completely unprepared for the event. Their expressions, so different from the ones held in peaceful sleep, were wretched. The four main occupants acted as a team. Egg and Mauricio were in the living room, isolating the fire outside. The piano was dragged away from the window. The smoke and heat were sealed out, the balcony door slammed to deny hospitality. The guest was never welcome. Florian and Johannes focused on evacuation, waking the other flats and guiding them outside. Where Florian remembers a voice, Egg remembers two images: a child and mother both weeping in arms entangled, and Johannes, with distinct tenderness, walking an old woman from her home.
Egg felt guilty.
Once there was nothing left to do that would prevent the spread, save feeling worse, he went outside to watch the house blacken. The flames were then two stories tall, reaching the attic, his room. He needed water for the burns but Egg did not ask the other neighbours. He thought that he had imposed enough. The who and why of the fire began to materialise as a concept. He could see flames and suspicion in the eyes of others. Outside of any other details, he was: last awake, last on the balcony, first to the fire, the injured, the smoker, the unreliable, the one.
Egg was in shock.
Egg bent down, squatting in the grass, cooling hot skin with morning dew. Florian noticed his burns and called an ambulance. The ambulance arrived quicker that the fire brigade. Sitting there in the vehicle, hand swaddled in cloth, he was reassured that all is well, none are dead, everything was under control. He was driven away with the building still aflame. The paramedic told Egg it was time to cry. He thought that it was strange to schedule something so uncontrollable, like penciling a fire into your calendar. Then he was at the hospital, the Unfallkrankenhaus, being admitted in his grey underwear and a long, terry-towel dressing gown. He originally thought the gown made him feel like a Wizzard. It was a teal number that was covered in white stars. A few of the stars retained the marks of the fire. In the hospital the outfit made him feel like a maniac, homeless, unapproachable.
Egg felt isolated.
They left him alone for six hours on a trolley. Those six were the worst of all. He had his housemate’s phone which was all in French and it ended up locking him out, sealing the small gap he through which he could have squeezed back into the world. He had no wallet, no keys, no pants, no shoes, no companions, and he tried, unsuccessfully, to explain that all in Deutsch.
Egg was stressed.
Egg thought that he was the cause, the true demon, the fire but an extension of the destructive nature of him, an unnecessary tourist. The smoke was his aura, dark and consuming, a cloud of mental sickness, absence and apathy, spreading grief to those around him. He saw himself as some piece-of-shit interloper. He wanted to leave it all, abandon and escape but thought of no better plan. He wanted to find a place where he could hurt no one, influence nothing, breathe in a vacuum.
After it all, many things between, Egg was allowed back in the apartment. He saw the ripped police investigation tape on the door before stepping in. The carnage stunk. He went to his room and looked at his bed, full of ash and plaster. He had a book at his bedside, Fahrenheit 451, and thought of all the strange coincidences. He thought about his writing burning and realised he did not care about it in the slightest. His bedroom was in the attic, a long galley of a room 15 feet long, the back section a cave. The cave was a small section of the room with no windows or exits. This tiny area of his was one where he could sit and contemplate. He described it as an escape within an escape within an escape. An escape from Australia and an escape from Berlin and an escape from life. It was the area where the fire raged most.
'Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light.'
He saw the burning of the cave as symbolic but was unsure of what. His first thoughts were that of Plato, the allegory of the cave. The aim of this story was to help grasp the world in which we live. The understanding would help to give form objects and events in life, built from the knowledge that the forms we see are not reality.
So what does it mean when your cave was consumed by that illuminating fire?
Oisín did not understand.
He decided it meant very little. The literal interpretation was useless. He understands that his thematic, stylised approach to the philosophical idea is a show. It is a problem with his ego, all encompassing. This bad thing happened to him, was caused by him, might effect many years of his life, in paying back the bills for the room and the interior. What Egg does know is that he spends too much time looking at the shadows. That is the more straight forward analysis. Take away the unnecessary layers of meaning that he paints so thick on the surface of his mind, lead paint applied repeatedly to rationality. He is not to blame.
Egg can only focus on the worst.