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Twisting all the bad things into good

Dec 8, 2011

The Nitty Gritty, 24: Misery Has Company

See, the human mind is like a pata.
When it breaks open, there's a lot of surprises inside.
Once you get the pata perspective, 
you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience.
          Jane Wagner


            I don't know if I slept. I don't remember waking up.
            At some point in the afternoon, random imaginary friends started dropping by my apartment. My visitors would range from people I loved to the only person I hated. My worst enemy would become my friend, while my best friend would become my enemy. My family would end up somewhere in between.
            I arranged some bar stools in a circle for my friends who were not there. I was telling them my Vegas story. I guess I was building up to the whole bullshit treasure discovery nonsense. It did not occur to me that I was the richest man to ever have an empty fridge.
            There was no dining room table in my dining room. It did have a desk and office chair in it though. It was the piece of furniture closest to the front door so it was mostly used for accumulating unopened bills that I had no money to pay. The desk was against the wall opposite me. My mom was slouched in the chair asleep. I could barely see the top of her head over the back of the chair. I figured I'd introduce her to my friends.
            "Mom". She must be passed out so I call her louder. "Mom".
            I remember feeling embarrassed. I thought she may have been passed out from meds. Even though my mother did not take drugs, I figured a doctor or her sister gave her some xanax or something after my dad died. I don't know if she really needed it. She seemed to be handling it pretty well when I saw her making out with that guy last night. Then again, for someone who only has an occasional glass of wine, a little bit of merlot and a benzo might explain the disturbing scene at the bar. I still had not confronted her about this.
            "Mom! Wake up, I want you to meet..." I forget who I was trying to introduce her to. I guess it doesn't matter since no one was there.

            My roommate was the only person who was there. How he had let this insanity go on this long still baffles me. He poked his head out of his room when he heard me. I turned and told him I was just trying to wake up my mom to introduce her to everyone. He didn't say anything. He just looked at me like I was crazy and then closed his door. I figured he was just annoyed that I had people over. I shook my head at my friends to let them know to not worry about him. I tell them he just gets annoyed if I have company, even if we're not being loud.
            My mom was now slouched too low in the chair to even see her head. I realized that I had to wake her up. Since she knew nothing about drugs, she could have easily taken too much xanax. It wouldn't take a lot to knock her on her ass, unlike her son who has built a tolerance over the years. Not enough of a tolerance to prevent him from passing out and totaling his Mustang.
            I had to make sure this rookie mother of mine was not in a coma. "Mom". I walked over and spun the chair towards me. It was empty. For a moment, I realized that something was not right. It made me recall how I had been ignored by people several times over the last few days, even when I was speaking directly to them. This was the only time I even thought  something seemed to not be right.

            I didn't have time to think about it long. There was a knock on my door. It was my uncle. Even though he lived in Philadelphia, I fully accepted that he lived in my building. He told me I needed to come out and keep an eye on my grandmother while he went to get something to clean the hallway carpet. Even though my grandmother was in a nursing home in Philly, she was standing against the wall at the end of my hallway. She had left a trail of shit behind her. I went out there and tried to get her to come into my apartment before any of my neighbors saw me. She look petrified and would not come away from the wall no matter how much I pleaded with her. I stood at the end of the hallway and put my hand against the wall so she could not get to the elevator area. Behind me, I heard neighbors approaching from the opposite hallway to get on the elevator. I just looked down at the floor and hid my face behind my outstretched arm. The seconds seemed like minutes as this woman and her son waited for the elevator. I could not handle the humiliation and frustration.
            "Grandmom, please. We need to get out of the hallway. You can't be out here doing this".
            I felt like if I did not acknowledge my neighbors, they would go straight to my property manager. She was probably already irritated with me for always paying my rent as late as possible without getting evicted.
            "I'm so sorry about this" I tell them. "We're gonna get it all cleaned up".
            They looked at each other and then at me but did not respond. What could they say to someone talking to themselves in the hallway? They would say something to somebody though. This would be another incident mentioned when I would be told how "neighbors were starting to talk" about my behavior.

            I kept pleading with my grandmother until they got on the elevator. My uncle finally came back. He said he was going to bring her downstairs where she would be picked up and taken to a nursing home. He wanted me to hold the elevator door while he tried to get her to the elevator. She wasn't budging. I figured this could take a while and I could not handle anymore humiliation. God forbid my neighbors would talk about me. Plus, the sight and smell of feces makes me want to fucking throw up. Between the shitty hallway and me dry heaving bile in the hallway, I don't know, neighbor's might say something, if they weren't trying too hard to hold back their own vomit. Lovely, huh?

             I wasn't going to stand there all afternoon like some psychotic elevator operator. Instead of getting a chair out of my apartment to hold the elevator door open, I went down to the first floor to grab a chair from the lobby. I decided I'd use the yellow sofa chair...that would never fit in the elevator. Whatever. It didn't stop me from trying. I tried maneuvering every possible way. A couple who lived in the building entered the lobby as I tried to force this chair in. I was irritated so I just ignored them and decided that they could wait or take the stairs. After a minute, they asked if I minded if they took the elevator. I gave them a look to make sure they knew that, yeah, I fucking mind. I made it clear that they were bothering me, then I pulled the chair away so they could get in.

            While I waited for the elevator, one of my phones rang. It was the blue one that had not worked in 2 years. I had been carrying the blue phone and the red phone with me since Friday. The red phone actually did work. Luckily, all my calls had been coming in on the magic blue one.
            It was Jeff. He told me that all the treasure finder friends were going to invest in some conglomerate, or maybe it was a corporation? Doesn't matter because Jeff had already made the absolute dumbest choice of his life. He made me CEO of the corpomerate, or conglomeration, or whatever the hell it's called. How could we fail when the guy running the show is the worst decision maker since Eve decided to take a bite out of that Granny Smith?  Jeff told me that he made me CEO because he wanted to give me a chance to turn my wasted life around. He still never explained what this, um, uhh, I'm just going to refer to it as the fucking "company". That way you won't get confused by my big business jargon. I accepted this most vital of roles without even thinking about asking just what exactly this  "fucking company" of mine would be doing. Basically, we'd be turning millions into billions, which sounded profitable to me.
            "Thanks, bro. Thank you for having faith in me after all the mistakes I've made. I'll dedicate my life to making this thing work. But I'm kind of the middle of some bullshit with my grandmother right now so I'll have to talk to you later". I hung up. What could he say? I was his boss now. I was "Jimmy Mac: CEO". The fucking Company's Emperor... Organizer (I think?).

            This CEO lacked a mind for business as well as the muscles and common sense of a mover. I started with the chair nonsense again. Still no luck. I could have a used a gallon of Astroglide and still wouldn't have been able to fit that huge thing into such a tight space ; )
            I would pay to see that footage from the lobby security camera. You know that shit would be on YouTube.
            Just as I was giving up, the elevator opened. I pulled the chair away so my uncle could bring my grandmother out. He had found a dolly to strap her to. He wheeled her out on it as if she was Hannibal Lechter minus that creepy mask.
            I peace'd out and went back to my apartment.

            My dickhead friends had left without saying goodbye so I went in my room and laid down. I was stoked to find that my cable was working for the first time in months. Only one channel, but that was cool. It happened to be showing one of my all time favorite films, Vincent Gallo's flawed masterpiece about blown potential called Buffalo '66. I had seen this movie several times, but I could not remember seeing this sequence before. The film scrolled vertically from bottom to top of the screen. I was amazed at this seamless montage of the main character's numerous failed attempts at finding his identity. As the film scrolled, he was shown going through one phase after another, unable to discover a social role that he was comfortable in.
            As I watched this imaginary director's cut that was really about me, I faded out.

            When my eyes opened, I saw my friend, Eric, sitting on the floor with my brother, who was suddenly 10 years old again. Even though he was really 18, I thought nothing of it. Eric was sorting through my small mountain of dirty laundry on the floor. He was showing my brother how to dress like a rock star. Once my brother realized I was awake, he looked at me, proud of his outfit that fit as snug as a 3-person tent draped over the shoulders of a 5 foot scarecrow.
            "Don't I look like a rock star?" he asked.
            Poor kid. He looked like a caricature of the lead singer of some 80's glam rock band who borrowed his outfit from his obese roadie.
           "Yeah, you look cool" I tell him. I really wanted to ask Eric why the fuck is he playing dress up with my little brother?

            I realize that my movie is over. This unknown channel was now showing amateur music videos. I guess I'm only insulting myself by calling the videos "amateur" since I was the genius behind them. My first piece of shit video was an Enter Sandman rip off. I laid there watching this metal band playing and sucking. I look a little closer to see the face hidden behind the ridiculously long hair that made Slash look like a Marine. I realize that it's Eric playing guitar.
            "Eric, you're on tv".
            He turns and looks.
            "Oh yeah. This is from when I was in a metal band in the 80's".
            I forget the band's name. You most likely never heard of them. They only played gigs in very small places, like my brain.
            After a distorted guitar solo and some dark lyrics I was making up as quickly as they were being sung,  my very first music video mercifully came to an end. This channel's content made the natural transition from 80's cheese to mozzarella. It was a no budget commercial for a local imaginary Italian restaurant called Shazio. It should have been called Mafi-O-So-Gay. Some awful song played over shots of people eating, dancing, and pretending to be a having a lotza funza. It's full of guys who look like Big Pussy but clearly do not like any sized pussy. One after another that?... nessuno me lo ficca in culo! There he goes again. It's Eric. He's sharing a romantic candlelit dinner and a bottle of wine with his date. In a moment of undeniable brilliance, the editor perfectly times it so that as the song abruptly stops, Eric turns and looks directly at the camera, opens his closed hand as if he were David Copperfield spreading pixie dust, as he says,"Shazio!" as if to leave no doubt in the viewer's mind that this place is the shit...if you're a closeted confused mobster.
            "Dude, you're in this commercial'.
            He turns towards the tv again.
            "Oh yeah. That's my friend's restaurant. We should go" he tells me.
            Too bad I'm busy that night.

            After this ridiculous commercial that I created, it's back to another music video with bad lighting. It is some 3 member reggae band in a small hotel room. They were playing on an undoubtedly bedbug infested queen sized Serta that served as a stage while stoners sat mesmerized on the floor. I remember actually liking this song. Then I notice one of the twins sitting on the floor. They are identical twins, so don't ask me how I knew which one she was.
            "Look, that's Betsy!" As soon as I say this, Betsy walks into my bedroom and looks at the tv.
            "Oh yeah, I remember this. I got high with those guys".
            Hopefully some weed was the only thing she smoked of theirs. 
            I had not seen her since we got back from Vegas on Saturday morning, but here she was. She seemed really at home so I started to think that maybe she had been shacking up with me since we got back. I decided against asking her how long she had been there. I had not been with a woman in over a year, so I wasn't going to cockblock myself, just in case we were sleeping together and I couldn't remember.
              A few minutes later, I faded out again.


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