What a relief! Here I was thinking the satanic synapses finally got to me, that the voices in my head were speaking up and taking hold. But it was actually my water bottle doing that little pressurized air noise that happens for some reason.
And, yes, my overactive imagination probably had something to do with it too. You know me, always getting carried away!
Here I was thinking I’d lost my mind for good, that there’d be no chance of returning to my serene former life. That life would be a distant memory as my once quiet subconscious would be overrun with utter madness. It was a good thing to be wrong about!
It was disturbing how quickly I just accepted it. I felt a weird sense of relief almost immediately. I remember thinking “Well, I made it pretty far before finally slipping into the abyss. Gotta be some kind’ve record. Should have our own Olympics for people like me. I could compete. Probably do well.”
Alas, my water bottle was just making the tiny man screaming noise. I guess it occurs when the seal is not completely airtight or something. It’s hard to say. Or it really is a tiny man screaming. I think he’s screaming something about self flagellating 22 times on the 22nd night of February 2022 at 22:22 military time as foretold in the scriptures.
Nah! Though, it did sound like my sleep paralysis demon’s second wife so I shouldn’t judge myself too harshly for jumping to conclusions.
Well that’s strange because just as I was thinking this whole thing through, I seem to have misplaced my water bottle. Did I imagine it was there the whole time? That’s odd. So I guess that means I’m hearing and seeing things that aren’t really here too. And there’s that sound again. Sounds like a couple discussing an upcoming trip to the pharmacy while an episode of NPR’s Fresh Air plays in the background. Their tea kettle is coming to a boil. Yeah, it’s coming in clear now.
Oh, here’s my water bottle! I set it down over here! I am such a klutz today.
My last bout with this sentient tinnitus came from the same water bottle a few months ago in the middle of the night. The squealing interrupted one of my recurring dreams where I was Jack Nicklaus on the 18th hole at Augusta in the 1986 Masters Tournament. I was lining up for my final putt when the noise started. Storm clouds rolled in and the wind tussled the blonde hairs of my signature bowl cut. Something was very wrong.
Distracted by the sudden weather and not wanting a possible rain delay to kill my momentum, I rushed my final stroke and missed. The crowd groaned in disappointment. As I trotted off the course in defeat, I saw one man tear up his “Jack is back” sign and mutter to his friend, “Jack is wack.” My long-time caddie Angelo Argea could barely look me in the eye. I would not overcome the largest deficit in my professional career and my ears would not stop ringing.
I woke in a frenzy, running around my house destroying everything I thought might be creating the noise. No matter how many holes I created headbutting the walls in search of the noise or plates I smashed over my ears or mattresses that I tossed out the second story window, nothing was working. I was panting, convinced the noise would never stop. Needing a drink after the melee, I unscrewed my water bottle. The noise ceased.
Looking around at the broken glass and furniture all around me, I realized Boy oh boy, do I sure feel like a goofball.
If I had any sense I would’ve thrown the water bottle away with the mattresses. Instead I vowed to never let it happen again because my ego wouldn’t let me admit defeat against the slightly trill noise generated by a stationary Nalgene. Lesson learned.
What I should do now is use a gasoline jug to carry my water in because only gasoline jugs have that little valve that allows air to escape noiselessly! Sure, it might raise some concern that I’m drinking from a thing meant for machines but at least it won’t scream inexplicably to a point where it’s causing me to question my own sanity. The tradeoff there is good enough for me.
On one hand, I’ll have people calling the police because I’m pouring water on myself out of my gasoline jug after a long run around the neighborhood. But on the other hand, I’ll have a great way to carry your water around without it making high-pitched frequencies that fray my nerve endings.
Maybe dehydration is to blame for this whole “going insane” debacle anyways.
Plus, it’ll make way better noises like when I swoosh it around and it makes that glunk, blunk sound. Now that’s actually soothing and way better than a screaming wraith activated by a slight temperature change or atmospheric gasses.
Could a crazy person think up that solution?
Robert Criss is a writer from Pittsburgh who writes to save the family farm. You can find his work right above this biography or below depending on where this biography is placed on the page in relation to the work. Follow his instagram @robertcriss