Thursday, April 17, 2008

In These Rooms

To fill the silence on the way to the meeting, he turned on the radio and a spacey electronica groove flooded the car. "All my frieeeeeends get hiiiiiiiiigh". The Universe is having a laugh, he thought.

The meeting was in a back room on the first floor of a hospital he had driven by a million times but never been in. He was ten minutes early so he waited by the door. The meeting room was occupied by a group of green-scrubbed hospital workers throwing a cake and paper plate office party for someone's birthday. As the hallway begin to fill up with addicts impatient to continue the recovery process, the party was brought to a hasty conclusion. He followed the others in and took a seat in the corner. The others immediately went to work assembling the room with well-oiled efficiency. Table opened, literature set out. Chairs in a circle, close but comfortable. Coffee brewing, doughnuts released. Let the healing begin.

Directly across from him sat a ragged scarecrow dressed all in black. The scarecrow's forearms were tattooed in large block letters. Left: GIMME. Right: DANGER. He thought of Iggy and the Stooges. He thought of what led the scarecrow to carve that on his body. He thought of where the scarecrow ended up. Lord, gimme danger, but not yet.

The meeting began with the ritual incantation of the Message. "We are a fellowship of men and women who lives have become unmanageable due to drugs..." Then the room hushed and a woman with long beautiful blond hair and a missing tooth began to tell her story. "My war's been over for twenty years," she said. She talked about hating herself and the daily contemplation of suicide. She talked about keeping life simple. She talked about staying humble. She looked at him while she talked. "All I can control," she said, "is my actions."

The circle nodded. When she stopped talking, the circle shared. Broken lives, smashed lives. Lives picked cleaned, lives drained by vampires. Yet these lives continued. Shredded of everything, these lives walked on, bare bones and beating hearts. He wanted to shed tears for these lives. He wanted to shed tears for his own life. But everyone was smiling as they talked.

He looked at their faces and watched how they shook hands and hugged each other. Thank God, he thought, thank God we have each other. Thank God we have tomorrow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Great Thing About a Conversation Like This Is That You Only Have To Have It Once

What a piece of shit is a man, how lacking in reason, how
finite in faculties, in form and moving how clumsy and
unbearable, in action how like a donkey, in apprehension how like
a squid! the bore of the world, the parody of animals—and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of delight?

Over the past couple of days, I've been feeling very low. Overwhelmed, scattered, and unsure of what to do next, I woke up early yesterday morning with a knot in my stomach and a crease in my forehead. But suddenly, like a fever, it broke and I snapped back into my life. I got out of bed, went running, drank some tea, called a loved one just to say hello, and ended up having a pretty cool day.

I feel as if my body got impatient with my brain's inability to accept reality - the reality of who I am and where I've put myself - and decided to bypass any and all cranial authorization for action. My body simply went about the business of living. "You can lie here and pull out what little hair we have left, o brain my brain, " said the body, "but I'm going to get up and go see how the sunlight looks coming through the trees. Have fun stewing in your own juices!" All the doubt and fear and negativity pooling in my mind was not forgotten, it just wasn't given undue importance.

It was a good lesson. Whatever fear I have about meeting the challenges today will bring won't stop me from meeting those challenges. I cannot erase those fears and I cannot pretend they don't exist. All I can do is keep moving.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Emma Woodhouse Vs Steve McQueen

Now that I wear the One Ring, I've come to see the value of communication. Honest, open, active communication. I've learned the hard way that not wanting to talk is fine, but not saying out loud, "I don't want to talk right now" is not fine. Sooo not fine. It took a few lumps and bumps on my thick skull before the message got through, but I get it. I am not a silent partner in this partnership.

That being said, it still amazes me how differently men and women define communication. I took me a while to get used to it mainly because of the amount of questions involved. Men rarely explain themselves to each other. For good or for ill, we just don't feel the need. Say I'm watching television with a guy and something makes him laugh. If I ask him, "Why did you laugh just now?" he's going to tell me one thing and one thing only: "Because it was funny." Yes, but why was it funny? Why did you find it funny? Why? Why? Why? At this point, I will get one of three responses:
1. "I don't know, I just did."
2. "Who cares? I just did."
3. "Do I have to kick your ass?"

End of conversation.

I know that my wife asks me questions in order to know me, to share experiences, and to know that I know myself. I cherish the fact she wants to do that. It just makes me wonder why guys don't care about that stuff. I have a friend I have known just about all my life. I consider him my brother and I regard his family as my family. But I don't fucking care why he does the things he does. I just want to be there when he does them or hear him tell stories about them if I wasn't. Either way, I'll probably end up laughing my ass off.