Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Caffeine sickness

It has been 4 days without caffeine now. That’s not entirely true – I have been drinking a half glass of Coke in the morning to ward off the horrific headaches. Yesterday I didn’t get a headache, but today I did. I’m hoping that if I make it through the weekend, I’ll be fine. But I’ve been having strange hallucinations. Not the bugs and locusts kind of thing, but I see somebody and I think they are somebody else. Like I see a too-strong resembelance between someone in the grocery store and someone famous. I do that a lot when I am really sleepy, but now I do it all the time. I am hoping that after the withdrawl goes away and the energy from eating real food kicks in, I will balance out a bit.

I’ve been listening to this Shadowfax CD that reminds me a lot of the summer 4 years ago. I lived in Elkhart, but worked so much I didn’t really notice the city. When I have time to mess around in that city, like on a vacation, I really notice all of the things that are different or gone. But that summer, a lot of my surroundings just felt the same as when I was in high school. For a big part of the summer, I worked two full-time jobs and slept a couple of hours a week. Those five days, I’d be perpetually covered with grease, oil, dirt, metal filings, cardboard dust, or whatever. But on the weekends, I’d sleep in, take a long shower to get decent, and sit around listening either to metal or to new age or ambient stuff, while I ate real food that didn’t come off of a break truck and do a little writing.

I had two dreams at that point – one was to go back to Bloomington and move into a really nice apartment, and get some good furniture on the cheap, and have a real place to live. I spent two years living in a boardinghouse apartment about as big as a walk in closet, and wanted more. I wanted to be able to invite over 10 people, cook a dinner, and watch some movies with plenty of room. I spent my few odd moments that summer rounding up furniture: a new bed, a new couch, a new chair, a new computer table. Well, not all of it was new – but the new stuff was discounted through my mom’s job as a decorator or my job at Monkey Ward’s. So I collected the furniture in the basement and daydreamed of having some posh living quarters after I moved.

Incidentally, I have almost none of this furniture, except a nightstand and a small halogen lamp. I sold almost all of it when I moved to Seattle.

The second thing was not my girlfriend, although I did spend a lot of time daydreaming about her while she was in Tampa, Florida. I guess the second thing varied. One week, I would think about buying a car. The next, it would be a 20,000 CD collection. I did not have a major in college that summer, and I thought about what I would do. I wanted to somehow get involved at NASA, and thought that maybe there would be some kind of technical writing gig there. I also wanted to start another magazine for a while, or do some other writing for bands. It always changed, which means I can sort of map the different things to the different points in time over the summer.

I shot 5 or 10 rolls of film on this new camera I bought that summer, partially intending to send photos to my girlfriend, and partially because I wanted to learn how to use a camera for art and journalism purposes. I took a lot of photos of me and my house and my back yard, and some of friends like Ray and Tom. Not only was this project one of the only ones with a concrete result that I still have today, but the photos are all indelible references to the past.