(1) table tennis ball.
(1) pair of headphones to a device capable of MP3 playback.
(1) device capable of MP3 playback.
(1) strobe-light – or an iPhone that has a flashlight/strobe light app installed.
Optional: (6) bottles of beer* – the convenience being that beer often comes sold in packs of six.
1. Plug headphones into MP3 device. (It’s not essential that you use an MP3 device per se, but this is more enjoyable overall when you can later align it with a particular song, or band, that accompanied you during the process.)
2. Plug headphones into ears. Left into left and right into right, if possible.
3. Prepare that strobe-light/strobe-light app. Slide your fingers across your oil-greased screen and watch the glass casing smear outlines of your thumb across it’s meticulous display.
4. Start drinking. To open bottles, standard definition ‘bottle-opener’ is preferred. Also suitable: a roommate’s army knife (why would you have an army knife?), a neat kitchen counter (ha!), a sturdy set of canines (though the idea of pulling an aluminum cap from the confines of a long-neck’s tip is frightening), a computer desk, the corner of the wall, or a rippling set of abs still centered by a hairy bellybutton.
5. Slice, with the silent to-a-hair precision of a caffeinated Samurai, the table tennis ball into (preferably) even halves, though thinking back this is probably not altogether important.
6. Tape the tennis ball halves over your eyes. Seriously.
7. I probably should have mentioned that you will need to have the strobe-light appropriately positioned in front of your eyes before you tape over them. I figured it was obvious. If it wasn’t, I’m sorry, but still quietly amused by your situation.
8. Listen to music. Watch flashing lights. Drink warm beer.**
Alcohol isn’t essential. You could get this done without alcohol but hey, drinking makes activities like going to a nightclub bearable, so god knows what it could do for interesting afternoon time-wasters! I tried this once, situating myself under a coffee table in the apartment’s living room, and though I did not hallucinate, I went somewhere. I went somewhere for a little while. Until my roommate – and his friends – walked in holding three boxes of pizza and found me under the coffee table with table-tennis shells taped over my eyes.
Inspired and the Sleep’s While We’re Young is not the song I would listen to when doing this, no. It is the song I would listen to afterwards. The song that clicks along the tiled kitchen floors, that clacks while you bashfully help with the pizzas, that smiles when you’re bearing the cuckoo-grin of somebody with an afternoon free to themselves. If, as things do, this doesn’t work, then this song will render that sadness inconsequential. It will remind you, in both your best-dressed candor and your fuck-off bleariness, that an afternoon free of expectation, an afternoon unreserved and ripe for shenanigans, is a good thing, is always a good thing. [Listen.]
(illustration clara terne)