I am completely alone in a dying world. All I can do is record the mess. I catalog the dead bugs as they fall from the leaves. I sit in a one-window room that feels like a pod on some space station -- just a fake atmosphere outside, not real air. The earth has been charred, left behind, forgotten. I actually have three rooms at my disposal. I wander through them endlessly, usually in the dark, sometimes with my eyes closed, feeling the walls as I pass, trying not to trip over the ottoman or laundry hamper. I see my shadow in the long mirror, with the off-darkness behind me -- but there's no face for my eyes. Light slowly comes, and I'm occasionally struck with the notion that this day might be pleasant. That passes with the slightest mix-up, and I recall that I should have stayed in the dark, reversed my sleeping order, drank coffee at night and alcohol in the morning. Or at least it seems like all literature that I read points towards this suggestion -- perhaps as a new theory of human evolution, a shift to nocturnal living. I alternate the temperature between sixty-nine and seventy degrees. At the former I wear a sweatshirt, then remove it at the latter. I wear moccasins until my feet get sweaty, then expose my toes to the cold. I eat cereal with milk, every day, and often concoct a beverage using orange juice and lemonade, about half of each, measured by sight. I have become extremely picky about things that never before concerned me. I brew low-acid, organic, fair-trade coffee from a certified sustainable company, using a French press. I warm approximately three ounces of organic milk in a glass by microwave. The coffee takes four minutes; the milk takes thirty seconds. I pour milk into coffee and watch curiously as shades of white and brown swirl around the surface of the liquid. I see galaxies, skulls, and dandelions take shape and fade away, sometimes in the same instant. In this way, I can achieve a semblance of balance, if only in a cup of coffee. It's so balanced that it still tastes wonderful when the warmth has dissipated. I sit at my small, wooden, natural-shade desk for most of the day, typing on my electric laptop. The computer has wires fed into and out of it on either side, wires that drape down the sides of the desk and connect to other electrical devices, wires that will strangle me if given the chance. I glance to the side and see my entire collection of books situated on a single shelf. This glance endows me with a sense of accomplishment for having procured all of them and read some of them. But the glance also sends a pang of disappointment down my spine, as if I haven't collected or read enough in the time that's been given to me. So many minutes are wasted each day. But who's counting? And what does it matter? I begin one project, advance a second, finish a third. I am distracted repeatedly by flashing icons on the computer screen. One notifies me that I have received an e-mail. I click a button that opens a browser, but the subject line of the email doesn't grab my interest. It occurs to me that I never purchased the limited edition vinyl pressings of Radiohead's albums released earlier this year. I open a new tab in the browser and retrieve vinyl rips of both Amnesiac and Kid A. Less than three minutes later, both have been added to my media player. On my ears I place over-sized headphones -- the ones that, about a month ago, I purchased on Ebay as an open-box item at a discounted price -- after checking the volume to make sure I do no permanent damage to my tympanic membrane. (Before typing this, I open up my college Biology textbook, which I have made a point of keeping throughout the years, when I could just as easily open Wikipedia and type in "human ear," without having to stand up and lift the gargantuan book off the shelf. But in fact I wish that I had also held on to my Neuroscience, Physics, and Organic Chemistry books. The term I was envisioning in my mind was actually "cochlea," and not the aforementioned one at all.) The earphones cup over my ears, but don't cancel all ambient noise, so they are therefore worth even less than the discounted price at which they were purchased. I forget this and sink into "In Limbo," a digital version of a vinyl copy -- but I can see the black record rotating in my mind, in slow motion. This transforms into the spiral horn of my cochlea, slowly spinning in the void of my skull, while a needle held against it extracts these ephemeral sounds. "You're living in a fantasy world," he says, and I can't argue. But what other choice do I have?