Is the smoke detector working?
Is the smoke detector working?

“You seem crestfallen” A voice behind my back said. I was working on my computer, so I had not noticed my grandmother approaching me.

Illustration for article titled Cabizbajo

As the noise she emitted entered my brain, I realized I’ve never heard that expression in the past, I asked her what she meant by that, “You seem overran by problems, and you’ve isolated yourself.” she said, directed at me.

I smiled and said “it definitely sounds like me.” After delivering such devastating hypothesis of my state of mind she turned around and started crumbling a piece of paper with both hands, “I shall deliver this, for the girls, to the table over there” she said, and moved away in a ghostly fashion.


Suddenly I felt quite uncomfortable; my back started itching and my palms started sweating. This unease was not product of her comment, I think. But maybe it was. I wanted to find out, or maybe I wanted an excuse to get out of what was, in my mind, an uncomfortable chair. I stood up, and walked towards the garage.

When I turned on the car, the audio played Kanye West’s Drive slow, a song that was somehow in my queue. I thought driving would put me at ease, and let me finally concentrate on whatever it was that was making me uneasy. This escapade was initially fully unironic, and I’d soon realise why.

What I concluded, once I had parked on top of the nearest hill, above the fog, was that there was nothing. I could almost hear her say “ You seem like you’ve got shit for brains”, because that’s exactly how I felt.


Little is more mentally taxing for a writer than having shit for brains, ideas come and go, and you seldom think twice about their structure and complexity; what makes them good or bad, worthy of recording or forgetting. It feels like fishing with a broken net, or getting on the web with a failing internet connection.

and I try to cover my vague thoughts with intricate, convoluted words, to try and hide my absent mind from others. But in the end, when you’re on your own on the top of a hill, there’s no one to speak with to conceal the shit.

I in reality wasn’t escaping the noise, or the backache, I was escaping the thought that I had shit for brains. That it is true, what she said, that I’m wasting my time by being so rigid, that I’m too focused on finding new people to enjoy the ones I have close, that I’m too concerned with my future to actually prepare for it.


But this exercise of exploring exactly how much shit is in your head is not even the hardest part. The hardest part isn’t admitting that you’ve got shit in your head, the hardest part is to dig it out in order for your brain to come back to the surface.

In order to be bright, you can’t just be worried all the time, you can’t procrastinate, and put things off to prepare for things you’re yet to schedule. college usually takes a lot of time off me, so I can never think about the shit floating about my head; compressing my brain and giving me a hard time.

But just getting rid of responsibility creates a vacuum that draws in more shit, and I’m not getting ready for all of the shit. Hell, rather than typing out a new CV I’m typing this.


The saddest part was that, I realized all of this the moment I answered her; I didn’t have to leave my house to reflect about it...To notice that they knew. I really thought the drive would clear my mind.

But as could be common, it was only the shit talking.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter