Frat House Bathroom: (St. Louis, 1998)

It’s midnight; my head is four inches from the porcelain of the American Standard toilet, the kind with the industrial steel big boom flusher that never leaves skid marks. If I stretch out past the end of the cot, my toes can touch the wall. This is my bedroom. My earplugs are in and Sketches of Spain is playing as loud as my little RCA CD player will go. In September I tried sleeping on the bed in the other room, but they woke me up, the frat dudes. I’m their frat daddy, the one who lives in the basement, the one the University hired to keep them in line. I imagine myself setting an alarm every night for 2am, going room to room with my Maglite, “guys turn off the music, put the beers down,” Clint Eastwood in boxers and flip flops, but I need to be up at 6am to run and get ready for my early class on Chinese intellectual history. With the bathroom door closed, I sleep through the keg parties, the thrown bottles, even fire alarms, if the place ever went up in flames, I’d die, it is a risk I take every night. Truth, it is the best sleep I’ve ever had, it is my tiled cocoon, nothing can touch me, not ex-girlfriends, future girlfriends, no one except Miles Davis. His dulled trumpet lulls me to slumber, and night after night I’m with him, in Aranjuez, in my bathroom.

Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis:


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