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Twisting all the bad things into good

Jan 28, 2012


"I'm not sure all these people understand"
  R.E.M., Nightswimming

            I want you to understand me. I really do.
            No matter how hard I try, you still won't.
            I have made my best attempts to explain.
            No matter how many hours and words, I still can't.
            Tom Petty was right.
            It is good to be king.
            I'm sure it is, but I wouldn't know.
            That's not the song I'm referring to.
            "You don't know how it feels to be me".
            It works both ways.
            You can watch my movie, but it's still my movie.
            In your movie, I'm not a leading man.
            A disposable supporting character at best.
            I'm that friend in the slasher flick. The one who shows up once in awhile and tries to steal the show with a few funny lines. Whether or not I succeed is irrelevant. Nothing I say or do is going to save me. Everyone knows I'm doomed. I make a few jokes in an attempt to distract from the inevitability of what I have coming to me. If I do make you laugh, as soon as the laughter stops, you whisper to the person next to you,"I kind of like that guy. Too bad you know that he won't be around very long". When I finally meet my demise, it's fadeout, closing credits, movie's over, time to go home.
            In your movie, my ending may only be briefly mentioned in your dialogue.
            You're the star of your movie.
            I'm just making a brief cameo.
            Then I'll be gone.
            Forgotten by the next scene.
            Your movie goes on.
            Life goes on.
            It's not easy narrating my own story without coming off as either completely self obsessed or just not a very good writer, if not both. It's been too much  "I" and "me".
            That's why "I" want to take "me" out of the equation for a moment.
            Let's give "me" a rest. We'll get back to "me".
            Let's watch a scene in someone else's movie.
            You should already understand how it must have felt.
            It's not your fault if you don't. It's mine.
            It's my failure as a writer.
            It's time to replace our "hero" with a "heroine".
            Different movie. Same theme.
            Let's not call it a "remake".
            Let's call it a "reboot".
            Let's call it "your movie".
            "You" could be anybody. Anybody but me.

            Fade in to you standing in the dark. You are watching your children sleep. You give them each one last goodnight kiss before leaving the room. For the first time all day, you have some time to yourself. Naturally, the first thing you want to do, after pouring yourself a well deserved glass of wine, is jump on your computer to check FaceBook for an eagerly awaited update of some amazingly entertaining and absurd blog written by some fucked up dude you went to high school with. Depending on how many glasses of wine you have, you may find it a deeply inspired work of a mad genius, or if your judgement is impaired, you may say, "What the hell was that all about?" Maybe you've just already invested so much wasted time reading it that you're just curious about how it will end, even if you sometimes wonder if it ever will. After you finish reading a chapter that went off on a tangent and never made it's way back, you decide there has to be something better on tv. You check all the channels, but The Real Cunty Housewives of Wherever is not on, so you decide to endure the next often vulgar and always long winded blog entry. These completely unfounded details do not matter, since this is your movie.
            What does matter is that your phone rings. You pick up to hear your husband's voice on the other end. He's been out of town on a business trip for the last 6 days, so before you can start giving him the third degree, he immediately asks what you are doing. You decide that the accusatory interrogation questions can wait.

            You say, "I was on Facebook for a minute, but I decided I wasn't in the mood to scrutinize everyone's feeble  attempts at pretending they are actually enjoying their unfulfilling lives".
             He wants to know what's wrong with you.
             "Nothing's wrong. I just haven't been getting much sleep, that's all. I'm fine. I'm sitting here reading this awesome blog that I am totally hooked on. It's written by this fucked up dude I went to high school with that I haven't seen since. I think he's gonna be a famous writer someday, if he can manage to stay away from the prescription pills. What are you doing?"
             You really want to ask him if that slut Jessica is also attending the convention. There's no point since he would tell you she wasn't just to avoid an argument. You trust him, but you're still irked at the thought of that bitch being four Cosmos deep and flaunting her fake tits in front of your man. You think she's so gross. You also think she's so fake, even though you've never actually spoken to her.

            Your husband wants to know if you took pills. You laugh.
            " No, I didn't take any pills, I was talking about the blogger guy taking pills".
            He asks you about something  about the blogger?
            "I told you. It's just this guy I went to high school with that I had a major crush on. He was so cool. Well, at least he and I thought so. Don't be jealous, honey. He's a total mess. He can't compare with you".
            He says he doesn't give a shit about some douche bag you thought was cool almost twenty years ago. He was asking you what the hell a "blogger" is?

            "Are you drunk? A blogger. As in someone who has a "blog". Like a "weblog". Like an online diary that anyone can read. It's on FaceBook".
            Your spouse asks what the hell a "facebook" is?
            "You are drunk". You continue the sarcasm. " It's an exclusive online club with only 800 million members. You have heard of "social media", where you have hundreds of friends that you have never met but they still share the most mundane details of their lives".
            He wants to know what you did today.
            "Well, I took the kids to Disney this afternoon. And now, the kids are asleep and I'm here all by myself". You're wearing an Origins pore clearing charcoal mask along with your least flattering pajamas,  but he doesn't know that. You know what get's Tomcat's attention. "I'm just sitting here, having a glass of wine, wearing nothing but my overalls, wishing you weren't so far away".
           Tom is at a loss for words. If he could only see you right now, sitting there looking like you're ready to put on a minstrel show for nobody except that dirt bag writer guy on your computer screen.
           "Tom? I'm wet".
           Tomcat says he's on his way. You laugh.         
           "I'll be here", you say.
           He tells you not to leave.
           "I'm not going anywhere. Call me back. Love you".
            You realize that you have not eaten all day. Actually, you can't remember the last time you did eat. You pull out a butcher knife for cutting up some steak or chicken. You open the freezer. There's no steak. There's no chicken. There's nothing in the fridge that isn't expired. You decide to go to the grocery store. You go to your bedroom and put on some jeans. Luckily, you catch a glimpse of Al Jolsen in the mirror that reminds you to wash off your blackface. You go to your garage and get in your car. The garage door opens as you drive under it, you see a police car pull up and block your driveway, so you reverse back into your garage. You think you closed the garage door before going back in the house but you must have hit the wrong button.
              When you get back in your kitchen, you start to make a grocery list. Someone calls your name and you turn to see a police officer in your kitchen. You are startled, but not scared since it's a cop.
              "Yes, that's me. What's wrong?" you want to know.
              The cop says that people are worried about you.
              "Who is worried about me? I'm fine".
              You notice that the officer has a look of concern at something behind you and asks "What's that for?". You turn to see the butcher knife still on the counter.
              "Oh, that's nothing. Just a knife".
               The cop says that you need to go with him.
              "What about my children? I can't leave them here" you insist.
              He tells you not to worry and that everyone is going to be okay. He is just taking you to talk to somebody. You have no choice but to go.
               "I can't leave my children". You make this clear. He makes it clear that your children will be fine. Everything will be fine. He tells you that you are not under arrest but he still handcuffs you. You are humiliated to know your neighbors will see you put in the back of a cop car in handcuffs. When you get outside, you see Tom standing there. Your mind is overwhelmed by every possible reason of why your spouse would bring the cops to your house. He must be having an affair and wants you out of the picture. He has either wrongfully accused you of being a criminal or maybe being mentally ill. All you know is that this whole charade is so he can have custody of your children. You will only be able to spend time with them under the supervision of him and his new wife. All of this, you figure out in less than two seconds. You are lead passed him towards the cop car, and he asks if you are okay.
                "I can't believe you did this. How could you bring the cops here? What did you tell them? Who is she, Tom? It's that slut, isn't it? You are not going to take my children from me. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE MY CHILDREN FROM ME!" you shout. You don't care what your neighbors think anymore. The cop opens the back door and tells you to watch your head. Your spouse lies and tells you he loves you and that everything will be okay.
                "FUCK YOU!" you shout before being put in the backseat. You sit there, your hands cuffed behind your back, and watch the cop listening to all of your husband's lies.
                You are taken somewhere you do not belong. A place for people with mental health issues. You are given medication that suggests you are suffering some kind of psychosis and another to help you sleep.
                When you wake up the next morning, it takes a few minutes to start making sense of what has happened. You ask yourself the same questions your husband asked. What is a "facebook"? What is "social media"? You begin to realize there is no such thing as a website where you have hundreds of friends that you have never met but you still share your life with them. You wonder how your mind could even create such nonsense and believe it to be real. You saw it though. You can still see it in your mind as if it were real.
            "What is a "blog"? What a ridiculous sounding word. It's an even more ridiculous concept. What kind of idiot would put the kind of things that should be kept in a diary on the world wide web for anyone to read and judge? That defeats the whole purpose of a diary. A "blogger". My God. How did I come up with this shit? And what made me think that it was by that guy I barely knew in high school? Why of all people did he become part of my hallucination? That is so random. I haven't even thought about that guy since graduation, so why would I have any interest in reading about his life? I can still see his website. He was standing against a brick wall trying to look cool. It wasn't a dream. I remember every detail. I don't understand any of this".
           "Disney? How could I have went to Disney and been back by dark? I live in Pennsylvania for God's sake. I don't know how we got there, but I remember being there. We went on It's A Small World and I told the kids how it used to be little animatronic dolls from all over the world singing. I don't know when they replaced them with real people from every nation singing We Are the World. I tried to sing the kids the old song, but all I could remember was "It's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small, small world". I knew every word when I was a kid".
           "The kids. Where are my kids? Who has my children? Oh my God, my husband disappeared with my children. I have to get out of here and find my children. I can see their faces. I don't know my own children's whereabouts. I don't know my own children's names".
           "There are no children. I can still see their faces. I know that I loved them. How can that not be real? How can I still see their faces? I still love them. I still don't understand".    
           "I've never been pregnant. I don't have children. I've never been married. I don't have a husband.
           Tom is not my husband. Tom is not even my boyfriend. Tom is like one of  the girls.
          My children are imaginary and my imaginary husband is gay. What a fucked family I have.
           I am so embarrassed.
           Like most women, all of my girlfriend's are bipolar to some degree, whether they admit it or not. I'm a woman so I can say that. But even Danielle during her most manic episode never did anything this crazy. She would shop a lot more than usual, have a lot more one night stands than usual, and try to make very ambitious travel plans with me. Then a week later was too depressed to even answer her phone. She never had any hallucinations. She never suffered from any delusions that she did not already have".
          "I'm not bipolar.
           I don't take drugs besides the occasional adderall when I clean.
           This was a psychotic episode.
           This must be what schizophrenia is like.
           I think I am a schizophrenic.
           As horrifying as that thought is, I think it's almost kind of funny that I can remember the rest of  the song all of a sudden".

              It's a world of laughter, a world of tears
              it's a world of hopes, it's a world of fear
              there's so much that we share
              that it's time we're aware
              it's a small world after all.

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