I’m not sure what to tell you. It was kind of all over the
place. You seemed, I won’t say “drunk” or “into your cups,” but you seemed to
be… having a really good time. By your account, you’d just moved (today) and
you’d just gotten divorced, so I can’t really hold any of your words or your
antics against you. A lot of it, to be honest, was bullshit. Especially the
stuff about your family. Some of it was weirdly on-the-nail. I was fucking with
you a lot, because, well, because it was easy, I guess. Don’t sweat it.
YOU ARE IN THIS WAY OVER YOUR HEAD. You’ve taken on more than you can
possibly handle. You’ve sacrificed your own standards. No one’s going to bail
you out. No one wants to. This will end in tears. This will never be over for
you. Nothing to do but reflect on all the many chances you had to extricate
yourself from all this, chances you didn’t take. And ponder what you might do
when it finally collapses. You can apologize, but that will just make things
worse. You can run, but there are a lot of people who’ll hunt you.
You know… I learned something today. Kinda took me by
surprise when it first hit me. If you’re true to yourself, you’re living a lie.
Just as there is great wisdom in great stupidity, the greatest truths conceal
the greatest lies, or vice versa. You know what I’m saying? You do. You get it.
I think we’ve all had a long week. We could probably use some down time, some
time to reflect, before we draw any conclusions. But, you know what? I’ll tell
ya. You can’t sell your soul until you’ve made all the payments on it. Weird,
“Sometimes,” he said, “ I come up with good shit when I’m
drunk.” He chalks the tip of the cue. “Brilliant shit.” Leans over, squints one
eye, lines up his shot. “But…” CLACK… Clackclackclackclackclack. “I can also
spout nonsense and be just generally an unnecessarily confrontational asshole.
So I’m going to keep writing when I’m drunk. It’s a responsible way to go,
considering. I’m just not going to TELECOMMUNICATE drunk. I’m going to leave
that .doc file on the desktop. I’m going to SAVE DRAFT. That way, I’ll wake up
with funny-ass, outrageous-ass shit AND the chance to EDIT it.”
I’ve lived here for a minute. Selling anyone else on it
would be relatively easy: It’s got mountains, beaches, enormous parks, palm trees,
cacti, pretty people, unapologetic social outcasts… If you’re lazy and poor,
it’ll make you feel like shit, and you’ll bust your ass to accomplish
something. The weather’s always beautiful, as is the generous amount of space
between you and the next person. And the next person is, by the standards of
any other place, invariably knock-out gorgeous. Because this place makes those
rules. To you, the best I could say is: It’s earthly paradise for sick fucks.
A rapid puppy. A truck full of gasoline barreling toward a
tire fire. A film of a naked woman jumping off a clip into the ocean, run
backward. The sound of a stylus on a 12” “Hawaiian” pizza rotating on a
turntable. A prankster blowing his nose from the top of the Empire State
Building. A man with a joy-buzzer trudging through airport security, barely
concealing an impish grin. Our
hero getting fellated on a moving motorcycle. His antagonist, shooting fancy
teapots off a fence. Earth, the sun and Jupiter colliding. The title appearing
in a cloud of pot smoke.
Whenever I think about that night, I expect to be happy and horny, and find myself depressed and nauseated. To my credit, I’d spent a lot of time alone leading up to that. I hadn’t had much of a sounding board. And I was convinced that acting like a defensive prick was better than nothing. But I’m not going to rationalize it. I could’ve handled it better than I did. I could’ve received what you were saying instead of just waiting to blurt. I could have had a sense of humor about it, in real time, instead of in retrospect.
My credo was always thus: The More It Hurts, The More True It Is. At least as long as I can remember. So I dedicated myself to picking every scab, to pouring gasoline on every open flame. In my “work,” at least. I wrote hard, lived like a refugee. But my work has ever worked anything out. In person, I’ve always been polite, direct and shapeless, relating OK while resisting the hurricane and the brush fire. And always seeing You as an enemy. Just in case. The more I knew, the worse I felt. In my exhaustion, I asked questions.
Get out of the house. Get a dog and walk it. Talk to your
friends. Talk to strangers. Talk to people who enjoy the things you enjoy,
whose lives are something similar to what you’d like yours to be. Learn to cook
something. Block off one day for juicing, drink yourself silly, and then don’t
spend money on it for a while. Get a bike and ride it. Spend eight hours today wholeassedly
looking for a job – one that’s right for you. Learn an instrument. Write until
your hand aches. Take a long shower. Walk outside. Or just kill yourself.
A suburban living room. A pretty teenaged girl in black
jeans and a black leather jacket, hair dyed black, nails painted black, sits on
a white couch. An older woman in a red sweater, hair dyed brown, paces,
lectures, and balls her fist for emphasis. A sunbeam sneaks between the
curtains; it hits the dust particles in the air. In the basement, a black and
white cat bats at a black snake. Across the street, a retired man finishes
mowing his lawn, then starts over again from the beginning. An airplane soars overhead.
Some cough syrup sits in a cabinet.
When you were a child, something rather unpleasant happened
to you. You were humiliated; your life changed rapidly for the worse; you didn’t
get the nurturing that you needed – something like that. Whatever it was, it or
something like it is probably about to happen again. If it does, there is
nothing you can do about it – it, and your response to it, are out of your
control.. The most you can do is strive for perfection, attempt to influence
your circumstances for the better as much as possible, and give yourself hell
when you fail. That’s how you learn.