What people don’t understand is that the blood we drink has deep and lasting effects on our psychology. We essentially assume the mental disposition of whatever creature’s blood we drink. I’ve seen it all (PTSD, depression, OCD, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, etc. etc.), not in my own psychology but in the psychology of acquaintances, friends and loved ones.
Most recently I decided, after months of deliberation, to drink from the forearm of Dr. Albert Hamoudi, a small Iranian history professor whose blood I’ve avoided because, frankly, I like the guy.
A divorcee with two children, he’s profoundly lonely yet kind-hearted, gentle, and even somewhat of a philanthropist, judging by the number of family members he bankrolls, leaving little, or, sometimes nothing, for himself at the end of the month.
Albert (not his real name, but I don’t know what his real name is), has several outward psychological problems, not debilitating, but obvious nonetheless. His OCD, for one, is frightening. His kitchen cupboards are organized by both size and color and even function, and his apartment is spotless, the carpeted floors always combed over from recent vacuuming.
In any case, I recently injured my wing and am unable to go the long distances I once was in search of blood that was not Albert’s. So I drank from him. What a profound mistake.
Of all the problems Albert obviously has, I did not realize the debilitating extent of his anxiety. Even though my stomach is now empty of his blood, I still feel like there’s a hot stone or pebble just sitting there, weighing close to a ton, and extremely uncomfortable. I’ve begun to worry about things I did not know a mosquito should be worrying about. Against my will, I’ve been developing feelings for other insects, sympathizing for the relative boring and sedentary lives of house spiders, even finding some compassion for the rather mindless regiment of ants that march along his ceiling.
Normally, when Albert showers, I tend to stick myself onto the ceiling because the steam from the hot water feels good, the aroma relaxing. But recently I’ve begun to notice that when Albert showers, he cries. Perhaps a shower is a difficult place to determine whether or not someone is crying, but his sadness has all the sudden became palpable to me.
As he cried, all of his anxieties and worries suddenly transferred into me. I now cannot stop thinking about a woman named Sheila, who apparently broke my heart and corrupted my children, and I have no money and a job that’s ill-fitting, my colleagues hate me, and I am suddenly terrified of death. It is not the act of dying I am afraid of (this being old news to me, as I’ve seen my comrades smashed to bits by sandals and magazines, etc.) but it’s the thought of what happens after, which I’d never considered before Albert.
Albert (and I) are worried about the loss of control that comes with death; who will water the plants and organize the kitchen and clean the bathroom and iron Albert’s suits when he is no longer around to do it? Logic dictates that none of these things will need to be done after he is dead, that the world will go on. Believe me, I know the world will go on, my ancestors drank from the necks of velociraptors, and none of them knew a meteorite the size of Manhattan would annihilate their entire species, so it’s in my DNA to think about this shit.
But I’m not worried about the world. I’m worried about Dr. Albert Hamoudi, and his routine, and the tiny but positive imprint he makes on the world, despite, what I’ve now come to learn, is nearly crippling anxiety. What will the world do with the void left behind by the small but great, great man?
Written at 4:02 in the afternoon, in my office, in Agoura Hills CA, before taking a nap.