I'm sitting at my work station, which I will swear to you is not a cubicle as it only has two sides, every few minutes interrupting my typing or reading for my hands to gravitate to my face and make some minor adjustment. Maybe it's a piece of skin I can just feel is falling off or an imaginary itch around my eyes, or a real itch born from staring at two screens two feet apart. Maybe when I start towards my ears it's to reach in and pull out the drums that hammer from listening to four phones, four radio channels, an ancient dot matrix printer that conveniently lets us know whenever a child goes missing or police are after, say a suspect in a 1995 Ford F150, then that lovely satellite television behind me that goes into a hidden expense pocket in our budget so nobody knows just how cushy their dispatchers have it. My hands gravitate towards my mouth of their own accord, maybe to pry my jaw unclenched so my teeth don't shatter from the pressure I put on them to cease the vibrations coming from everywhere else or to gnaw my fingers to nubs so I can't type as fast and I have an excuse to slow the fuck down.
The point is that I've known this forever, this sick ritual, this preening bird behavior that doesn't stop until the crazed winged demon renders itself clean of all feathers, naked to the elements, shivering and fussing over down that isn't there. Then this weekend it stopped. We were in a cabin on the lake with no running water and no toilet. Now maybe I stopped picking out my eyes because had it followed a trip to the outhouse I would be in a world of discomfort. My hands were unrecognizably caked with layers of bacon fat, spilled booze, ash, rodent feces, dust, flies, rodent remains, egg, human urine, saliva, and regular ol' dirt until I knew them as some foreign appendage, a gross tentacular amalgamation of the disgusts of the civilized world. These wonderful horrors didn't grip the wheel of my beat up shitty car and they didn't wrestle with keys in the lock to my place. They held paddles and stoked flames and the handles of hatchets and kukris. But they didn't touch my face.
We rode back on a day so beautiful we would all happily have sacrificed the time from our lives to have experienced it even if we had a choice in the matter. In the fashion of many an outing such as this I lay doubled over in the back seat to avoid the eye contact with a horizon that would inevitably attack a gut bruised by a shade too much liquor. By the time I got to my own car my phone had turned itself on, a betrayal I'm sure on the part of my hands, which promptly upon its familiar and hated vibration in the right front pocket of my jeans brought my stubborn, wretched fingers to my face. Something needed adjusting.