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Twisting all the bad things into good

Feb 17, 2012


"I've been silent so long now it's gonna roar out of me like floodwaters and you think the guy telling this is ranting and raving my God. You think this is too horrible to have really happened, this is too awful to be the truth! But, please. It's still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it. But it's truth, even if it didn't happen."
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest



            In the past, a prolonged conversation about my prolonged erection with two girls I just met would have lead to places more pleasant than a room in a crisis stabilization unit. That was also a lifetime ago when my jeans were size 34 and my safe was full of hundreds. Now, my age is 34 and my safe is empty.
            For the first time since my days of wine and rose colored sunglasses, I have a chance to sleep in between two other singles. Unfortunately, the three singles in question are beds for three dually diagnosed dudes. This is one threesome I will not be bragging about.      
            I size up my bed. There was no hypoallergenic memory foam body pillow, no goose down duvet, and the sheets appeared to have a thread count of about 4.
            The tech shows me an armoire where I can keep my stuff.
            Great Gatsby! I was worried that I would have no place to hang my white Armani suit. Even though Labor Day was 4 days ago, the South Florida temperature is well above 72 degrees, so I figured it might be my last chance before Memorial Day to pull off my "Hey, ladies, check me out in the white suit, but please be careful with your cranberry and vodka" routine. I unpacked my Louis Vuitton duffle bag and placed the rest of my clothes in the bottom three drawers.
            No I didn't.
            If that cop had allowed me to pack a bag, I probably wouldn't have been brought here in bare feet, and I probably would not be wearing tan ballet slippers with happy faces on them. All I had was what I was wearing when I left my apartment, minus my red flip flops, wherever the hell they are. I'm stuck with my white t-shirt with it's yellow pit stains, my boxers, and my Abercrombie jeans that were ripped from above the knee to just above my ankle. Even if I told anyone that I really did have a Louis Vuitton duffle bag, knock off or not, they wouldn't believe me. If they did, they would most likely assume that I lifted it from some rich guy after I sucked him off for a couple pain killers. They would be wrong, mind you, but who knows what kinds of thoughts go through the sick minds on the inside and on the outside of a mental facility? Not me. I don't want to know. What I do know, is these people would never believe that this dirtbag had over twenty something pairs of shoes at home, and almost as many pairs of jeans that were not ripped. For some reason, I have a feeling that if I do end up talking to anybody, fashion will not be part of the conversation.

            Besides the beds and unnecessary armoires, the room was empty. I was glad that it had a bathroom with a shower in it. I was thinking that bath time would consist of one of the techs gently rinsing me off with a fire hose while I cowered naked in the corner of some filthy wash room. I also was not up for a group shower, unless that group consisted of me and two bipolar chicks at their most manic.
            It wasn't the thought of bathing with and banging bipolar beauties that made me want to take a long shower. Even though I knew it would feel good to wash off for the first time since I don't know when,  my main objective was to delay facing whatever version of reality that I would find in the recreation room.
            The tech gave me a cashmere robe and a set of microfiber towels for my face, body, and hands. I definitely appreciated the assorted towels. Call me OCD (just make sure you do it eleven times), but I was never a big fan of drying my face with the same towel I used on my sack. I might as well just blow myself while I'm at it. Maybe there's a difference.
             The tech also gave me an Anthony Logistics plastic travel bag with a glycolic facial cleanser, an invigorating facial scrub, coconut shampoo, and a citrus body cleansing gel.
            No he didn't.
            He handed me one towel for my whole body. I made a mental note that my junk would have to remain wet until the rest of my body had been dried by this towel that I wouldn't have washed my car with. As for the produits de toilette pour hommes, I was given a plastic bin with sample sized products that looked like they were stolen from a hotel that charges by the hour. It had a little bar of soap, a little bottle of shampoo, a teeny tiny toothpaste, a toothbrush that after one use looked like it had been used to scrub a toilet with by a scorned ex girlfriend, a shot of mouthwash, a tiny stick of deodorant that would have fit in the kung-fu grip of an action figure, and a raspberry vanilla body moisturizer that would have to double for a hair product due to my lack of my Murray's, a pomade that was actually designed for black dudes to hook up some waves, but also comes in handy when I go for the Jimmy Neutron look. Maybe I could borrow some from one of the male techs since they were all Afro- Americans, even though none of them had an afro. Maybe I shouldn't bother them about my hair or anything else, besides a new towel before every shower. Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut so I can make it to Monday without getting the Reginald Denny treatment.

             The tech finally left the room. I think he was expecting a tip. Unfortunately, I haven't seen my wallet or any other of my personal belongings since I was handcuffed and had my pockets emptied yesterday. That cop seemed cool so I doubt he left town with my thirty dollars and my three credit cards with a combined balance of zero. It could be less by now, but I wouldn't know because I had lost interest in useless things like mail and self improvement.
            I stepped into the bathroom through the kind of swinging door a swinging dick cowboy walks through as he enters a saloon. The door had a slide lock on it, though it would not have stopped a five year old from kicking it open or just walking right under it. I started thinking this is probably the first shower I've had since Sunday, when I was weeping over my dead father while he was at a movie in Philadelphia with my mom, who I thought was making potato salad in my kitchen in Florida. I shake my head in disbelief at my delusions and try to wash myself clean of any remnants of psychosis. When I close my eyes to wash my face, I can see things that I now know did not happen. I was able to remember every detail of the afternoon. One thing I was not able to remember was the last time I washed myself with a bar of soap instead of the bottled kind. I made sure not to drop it on what I imagined must be a germ infested shower floor. Even when I could not get any cleaner, I kept washing. I just wanted to stay in there until Monday. It was the first time since the hallucinations stopped that I had any time to myself. It was also the first time in months that my body was not feeling the effects of opiate withdrawal.
            After the longest shower I ever took alone without a prolong direction, I put my dirty clothes back on my clean body. When I ran out of ways to waste time, I put my hands on the sink and took a good look at myself in the mirror. It wasn't one of those mirror moments when you compliment yourself by asking,"Man, why did God make you so good looking?" It was also not the kind where you insult yourself by asking,"How did you turn into such a fucking loser?" It was the kind of staring contest that you can't win or lose, no matter how long it goes on. You might not know how to feel about the person staring back at you, but that is okay. Not knowing means knowing that it is up to you to decide. Whether you decide to make that person your best friend or your worst enemy, you know that you are in it together, alone.
            I wanted to convince myself that everything would be different this time, but I didn't even know where to start.
           It was like trying to find the right thing to tell someone who walked out on you when you want them to come back and love you again. Before you can find those words, they've already left the room.  

            I enter the rec room and look for the seat that is furthest away from everyone else. I sit down with my back to the wall next to the entrance door. I kept telling myself that maybe this whole experience will give me something to finally write about. I thought of how Ken Kesey wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest after he had spent time in a mental health facility. Unlike me, Kesey was actually working at the facility. Whatever. The point is that he was inspired to write about his experience while he was there. I hoped that maybe, if nothing else, I could walk out of here with some material.....and, I don't know, maybe even some stuff about addiction and mental health.
             After about three minutes, I'm already bored as shit.
             There are no padded cells. There are seven bedroom doors and walls lined with sofas. The back of the room is a large wooden table with about twenty seats around it.
             I scan the room for someone I can observe, and later exploit.
             Nobody is wearing a strait jacket. A few men are wearing hospital gowns. Everyone else is in street clothes. Nobody is swimming around the room like it's their fish tank. Nobody is getting their ass by the techs. Nobody is shouting conspiracy theories or talking to themselves. In fact, nobody is doing or saying shit, let alone fingerpainting the walls with it. These inmates have no ambitions of running the asylum. It doesn't take long to realize that even if I was allowed to wield anything as lethal as a pen, pencil, or crayon, I don't have any material to work with.
            Who would waste their time reading about this?
            This will not go down as a classic.
            This could never be a movie.
            What sane person would even waste their time writing about this?
            Not me.
            I'm all better now.
            This is not a book.
            I don't know what this is.

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