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Art by ROB BALSEWICH

THE S.S. RHODE ISLAND
by EDWARD KINCAID
art by TASHA SMITH

        I spend a lot of time eating in my bed lately. It’s a developing situation—not necessarily anything abrupt enough to make the news ticker on CNN, but it is something that should be addressed. Kind of like global warming.
        I didn’t used to do it. I started by eating dinner at the table like a regular, vertical person. But then I decided that I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts and so I started to read a book with dinner. This proved unsustainable as my attention span waned and I kept getting dollar-store tomato sauce on my overdue copy of The Corrections. More than that though, it just became hard to think about anything, let alone to dissect a book while dissecting a thawed meatball in Barilla noodles. Sorry to my gay friends for eating Barilla noodles. They’re just so damned cheap.
        So, I moved to the couch: dinner and a movie. I actually bought one of those TV dinner stands. You know, the little half tables that allow you to eat and watch TV at the same time. On the whole, I have to say that it was one of the more depressing things I’ve bought on Amazon. Nobody with their life on track orders a tool that makes it easier to eat microwave dinners while watching TV. A TV dinner stand can only portend decline. It’s not something you want to buy. It’s something you have to buy. The arrival of it via Prime was more therapy fuel than respite. But even after I got the TV dinner stand, I barely used it. You have to sit up to use a TV dinner stand. I was lying down too much.
        I became more and more horizontal until I was eventually just lying down on my couch while I ate. Then eventually I realized that I was already supine, so why not take things into the bedroom? The fait accompli came when I moved my Netflix-emitting laptop into my room and omitted my jeans in favor of just perpetually wearing pizza grease-stained sweatpants and lying in bed. Pretty soon I would just lay there for entire days, only getting up to force myself to go to class, pick up a book, or pretend like I was doing schoolwork—and getting my freshly-microwaved, MyPlate-noncompliant breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 
        So nowadays I mostly just lie in bed and eat, catching up on Ukraine or watching GIFS with titles like “Satisfying Acrylic Pour,” or “Bubble Wrap goes through Shredder (SOUND ON).” When I do sleep, it’s not a particularly pleasant experience—what with all the crumbs sticking to my naked skin. I feel like I’m rolling myself in breadcrumbs, being prepared for the fryer. Bon appétit.
        Really, I think it’s kind of funny—my eating in bed. Whenever somebody has the gall to call me during regular business hours, I grudgingly tell them “You’re interrupting my bed eating.” It’s nearly funny. And that almost makes it worth it.

        I’ve begun using my final notices as bookmarks, out of spite. It’s my own form of silent protest. I did the same thing with a parking ticket I got the other day, a charge which I found officious on the part of the meter attendant. Who gives a car with a busted taillight a ticket? What makes them think I have the cash to pay a $60 parking ticket if I can’t even buy a $37.99 taillight? 
        It’s the same kind of logic that informed my landlord’s policy of charging late fees on rent. If I can’t pay $1600 for a one-bedroom shithole with an air conditioner that emits cat piss odors, then what makes them think I can pay a thirty dollar late fee? Was my rent and a half deposit not enough?
        Want to give me a $60 ticket for parking in the University parking lot? Well guess what, you get to live between pages 231 and 232 of Klara and the Sun. Want to charge $30 for late fees and then tape a notice to my window? Guess what, you get to snuggle in the ample bosom of Dave Eggers, between pages xx and xxi of the foreword to A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I hope there’s not a fee for that.

        I keep the blinds down most of the time. I used to only do it when I napped. But now I’m pretty much always pre- or post-nap. If I’m awake. So, it’s more efficient just to keep them down. It gives the place a spooky aura. It’s atmospheric. Like my own haunted house, complete with cobwebs and poor ventilation. I should charge $3.50 upon entry and leave a bowl of Kit Kats on the doorstep.
        The darkness can be a bit depressing. But I feel like the energy saved by the blinds, coupled with the palliative effect of the soothing dark, more than makes up for it. Plus, it makes things look cleaner. Everything looks better in the dark. That’s why Hollisters look like they’re lit by tallow candles and rushlights. That’s (partly) why I never let the shades up. My house just looks better when it’s dark. You can’t see the pile of cans overflowing out of my trash can. You can’t see the ramen noodle crumbs on the counter. You can’t see the sink full of crusty dishes. You can’t see the Chick-fil-A bag full of trash half-shoved under my couch. Again, sorry to my gay friends for the Chick-fil-A; I might as well make a craft run to Hobby Lobby just to get the hat trick. 
        No. I never want to let the blinds up. Then I would see the mess I’ve made and I might even have to deal with it. Besides, I’m out of dish soap and trash bags and I have no plans for restocking. Sometimes I feel like offing myself just so I don’t have to go to Target in sweatpants and slippers again—the annoyingly telegenic door greeter beaming at me “Welcome to Target, sir!” With her fucking white teeth and khakis.
        I think I’ll just keep the blinds down. The packaging called them “Venetian blinds.” Venetian blinds. As if Scamozzi whittled each individual slat and had Da Vinci sign off on their design. Such a term just seems too highfalutin to denote something made out of maquiladora sweat and beige plastic. Maybe if they were gilt or had a few naked sibyls painted on them, then I could countenance such an appellation. But, as it is, they look less like Venetian blinds than they do a cost-saving measure by a miserly landlord.
        I think keeping the blinds down makes me stronger. Like you know how blind people are supposed to have a stronger sense of hearing and smell or whatnot? I feel like my spatial awareness and auditory capabilities are increasing. So really, it could only be detrimental to let the blinds up. If I keep going like this for a few more years, then maybe I’ll develop a kind of Spidey-sense. Like if someone is about to throw a punch then I’ll just dodge it and scissor-kick them in the throat. I’ll be able to feel things coming thanks to my self-imposed blindness. Homer, that guy was blind. And he wrote the Iliad. Or did he just tell it, it being an oral tradition and all? Either way, the old codger didn’t need to see to be a success. Justice—justice is blind too. And everybody demands justice. They don’t always get it—ACAB anyone?—but they certainly demand it. Really, letting up the blinds could only harm me. 

        I’m a big proponent of adding a candy coating to SSRIs. Maybe some chocolate, too. I think it would decrease rates of depression. I’m not saying all SSRIs should have a thin candy shell—but there should be an option. I know that if I had some chocolate and nougat to look forward to, then I would probably remember to take mine more often. It would be something to look forward to. But, as it is right now, taking my little blue “friends” is—maybe ironically—one of the more depressing parts of my day. Which is kind of funny now that I write it down.
        Sometimes I’ll try to sneak it into a mustard sandwich. Or shove it down between gulps of a Coffee mate-laden Folgers Classic Roast. But I never look forward to it. Maybe they should just start putting it in the water supply. Like we do with fluoride. Hear me out: since the John Birch society isn't around anymore, there probably wouldn’t even be that much kvetching. 

        Okay. So, maybe it’s not such a great idea to put SSRIs in the water supply. But it would certainly help me. Maybe we could bake it into Wonder bread. Or randomly throw a few pills into every SweeTarts packet.

        Everything I eat is either microwaved or from a can. My personal chefs are Messieurs Boyardee and Campbell. Either that or it’s freeze-dried. I call it the Fallout Shelter Diet. But I wouldn’t judge if I were you. Granted, I’m not you. But still. Don’t judge. “Ye who is guilt free shall cast the first stone,” or something like that.
        I get all my vegetables. If you count the Lucky Charms vegetable bits at the top of a Cup O’ Noodles, then I get at least a serving every day. I even get in my grains. If you count the bezel of a Pop-Tart as a grain.
        Look, I know it’s not the best. But it’s just so damned easy. Every time I microwave a can of Campbell’s Vegetable Soup, that’s a night that doesn’t have to be spent cutting up vegetables, using the rough side of a sponge to half-clean the stove top, and remembering to pick up the soiled dishes off the edge of my mattress when I’m done. Plus, you have to remember that I’m doing most of this in the dark. Because letting up the blinds could only hurt me, etc.
        And using a toaster—well, don’t even get me going on that. There’s nothing more satisfying than that initial click. When you push down the plunger, you can feel the mechanical apparatus lock into place. More satisfying yet is the finishing pop. Some toasters even ding. But I like the spring-loaded pop most. The pop of a fresh piece of toast, ready for Country Crock—it’s like an orgasm. I wish I could change my ringtone to it. I probably could, but who has the time?
        The pop of a soda can tab, too. To a lesser degree, but still. It lets you know that there’s a delicious, frosty Coke or Dr Pepper or Mountain Dew waiting for you. The beep of a microwave is slightly less satisfying—this, of course, depending on the model of microwave. But the suggestion of it is enough to make the mouth water. Or the eyes tear up. It means there’s a Hot Pocket steaming, its tantalizing cheese and pepperoni frothing under a few millimeters of mass-produced dough. Maybe you even splurged and got a Red Baron microwave pizza. Toaster pops, soda tab clicks, and microwave beeps. It’s all good shit—a symphony of Capitalist calories, lulling me off to my pre- or post-nap torpor. If I lived the best life possible, I think that it would begin with a toaster pop and end with a microwave beep.
        I can’t help but tear up just thinking about it. 

EDWARD KINCAID pursues a double major in Art History and History with a focus on growing a thin hipster mustache as a super(-duper) senior at CU Boulder. After graduating from CU, Edward hopes to study the migratory patterns of starving artists. Edward, a feisty Sagittarius, enjoys reading the New Yorker and has a crippling fear of intimacy. He likes to take long walks on the beach with his pet snake Theodore, who also has a crippling fear of intimacy. Previous Managing Editor of Hindsight, his work underwent a blind review to get published.

TASHA SMITH loves local art and music, reading, and spending time outside. Tasha submitted her work while at CU Boulder as a senior.

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