SUNDAY: THE ONE WHERE EMIL LOSSES ANOTHER PAJAMA-BOTTOM; AND A GIRLFRIEND
As Emil woke up from unsettling dreams one morning, he found himself completely bottomless.
‘Perhaps I should go back to sleep for a while and forget this foolishness,’ he thought, reached beside his pillow for his phone, pressed the snooze button, and went back to sleep.
At 7:10AM, experiencing a déjà vu, about being completely bottomless, he opted for a similar course of action as before, pressed the snooze, and went back to sleep again. At 7:20AM, he forced his eyes open, and seeing no change in his predicament, he decided to get to the bottom of his acute bottomlessness and nose-dived underneath the blanket, sniffing around for his polka-dotted pajama-bottom. He fell asleep thirty seconds later in a fetal embrace. At 7:30AM, he pressed snooze again and promised himself, ‘I absolutely, bloody well have to get up at 7:40AM.’ and went back to sleep again. As he finally emerged out of his warm cocoon at 7:45 AM, donning an outfit at the height of impropriety – shivering a little, to which, wrapping his arms around himself brought no solace – he had to conclude that it was all Blankie’s[i] doings, that matters were now out of his hands, chalked his loss off to providence, and absolved himself of all responsibility.
Emil lived alone in his 500 square-feet one-room apartment[ii]. It had a large window on one wall overseeing a panoramic-view straight into the kitchen of the next apartment. A few inches closer and Emil could have permanently stopped worrying about buying spices. A few feet further away and maybe he would not have had to worry about the heat from their stove keeping his room at a balmy 90 degrees. He usually kept the curtains drawn.
His apartment did not have a geyser but on account of the water-tank being situated under the open sky on the roof, Emil was privy to scorching hot water during the summer months and freezing cold water during winter months. Water supply was intermittent, gas often elusive, and electricity non-existent. His neighbors were not too keen on him either and did not seem to be particularly comfortable with the very idea of Emil in general. They did not like the fact that he shadily lived all alone, neither did they like the fact that occasionally he had friends over at his house and as a result, was not quite alone. Emil concluded that it was this general back-and-forth agnosticism of his situation that made his neighbors so very edgy.
At least they steered clear of him and did not include him in the Owners and Tenants Committee discussions, which was just fine by Emil. He had no interest in casting his vote on building matters such as Should servants be banned from using the elevator? or How to enforce the servile ban on the elevator? or How much to fine the tenant whose servant is found riding the elevator? or If you are not allowed to enter the elevator with heavy luggage, should extremely fat people be banned from the elevator as well? or Should hiring extremely-fat servants be discouraged? or Should calling a person fat on building premises be considered offensive? or Which healthy servant’s fault is it that the elevator broke down?
Emil was not necessarily very healthy, quite the opposite in fact, but he avoided the elevator nonetheless lest the blame fell on him somehow since he lived alone and why would anyone live alone unless there was something fundamentally wrong with him? Also, he had no servant and ergo could be considered his own servant.
The last time he had used the elevator, he was in there with an entire family; the parents, the daughter in her early- twenties and the son still in his early teens and aging grandparents and the servant girl. For the first five seconds, he tried to figure out which one of them he was supposed to acknowledge or say hi to and what would be an appropriate elevator-conversation topic. Then he looked down and busied himself with his phone. When the elevator reached the ground floor, he was further puzzled by whether protocol dictated him to get out before everyone else and clear the way or to wait in a corner and let the elders debark first. As a compromise, he had pretended to have forgotten his wallet, stayed back in the elevator and gone back up to his floor and walked down the stairs.
He has refrained from using the elevator ever since; another cause of friction between him and the neighbors. Why was he going out of his way to avoid them after all? What was he trying to hide? Was he defacing the stairway somehow? They had no way of knowing because none of them ever took the stairs. Why should they with a perfectly functional elevator available? But they knew Emil was up to some mischief.
There could be no doubt over that.
All these, and much more, Emil enjoyed for a surprisingly low rent helped by the fact that the homeowner was renting out the garage linked with Emil’s apartment to a third-party for a tidy sum since Emil had no car. He had a girlfriend instead, Sania, with whom he had been going steadily rocky for almost two years. She refused to live with him in his apartment; or even in his garage. He had broached the subject of living together on numerous occasions, but she always assumed that they were just another one of his schemes to try and get into her pants.
Emil had thought long and hard about it and concluded that they were. ‘Why not get it over with?’ he thought.
She wanted to wait until marriage[iii].
Emil and his girlfriend lacked permission from society to do things Emil desperately wanted to. So he lived alone.
It was not all that bad, as far as Emil was concerned. It could be worse in any case.
As far as he was concerned, the worse part of his day, every day, was waking up in the morning. And he always made sure to get the worst out of the way at his earliest convenience. After that, all he had to focus on was getting out of office by 5:00PM, and if he managed to do that, he considered it a day well spent.
[i] What is a Blankie?
Blankie, AKA blanket-monster, was Emil’s guardian angel who had the tendency of making away with Emil’s pajama-bottoms and the occasional socks from under the blanket.
Why did Blankie do that?
Either to remind Emil that he has not standing-up for himself lately, or, to warn Emil that a challenge lay ahead where he would need to stand-up for himself. Therefore, Blankie’s visits to Emil were both retroactive and proactive.
What made Emil believe in Blankie?
The best answer we have right now is that all of Emil’s metaphysical quandaries, questions such as, ’Why do I keep losing my pajama-bottoms under my blanket?’ or ’Is there anyone out there looking out for me?’ could be neatly explained away by the existence of Blankie. A better answer, lying in a repressed portion of Emil’s memory, is inaccessible to us right now.
[ii] The landlord, during negotiations, was of the opinion that since the apartment had the holy trinity – a bed, a commode, and a stove – it was really a three-room apartment. If that was indeed the case, Emil said in his rebuttal, he would like to be shown a one-room apartment, which was all he was interested in. The landlord, exasperated, said, “Oh don’t be absurd! The three are inseparable from one another!” “Aha!” was what Emil said in response.
[iii] What is marriage?
Marriage is something two people do to receive permission from society to do things with and to each other, in the privacy of their homes, that was never society’s business in the first place. If it was up to Emil, he would take society’s opinions and shove it so far up in a place, he would have had to marry society first to gain access to.