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Twisting all the bad things into good

Feb 24, 2012

CHAPTER 9: THE PATRON SAINT OF . . . WHATEVER. With Friends Like These

 The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four
 Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness.
Think of your three best friends.
If they're okay,
It's you.  
Rita Mae Brown


            My peaceful nap has just ended.
            The movie is over, but the drama continues.
            "Bitch, what is your fucking problem?" I hear one of the girls say.
            Now this is more like it.
            The girl who was yelling is getting in another girl's face.
            "DJ," the tech calmly says. "Relax".
            The tech sitting behind the counter is simply referred to as T. T is a former college football player who looks a bit like Biz Markie, but not really. (Not everybody has a doppelganger). This almost one of a kind tech is so cool that he doesn't even stand up or raise his voice. He speaks to them like a father who does not even bother to look away from his newspaper when he tells his kids to stop fighting. If I couldn't see him, I would assume that his feet were up and his eyes were closed. I like him already.
            "Then tell this bitch to quit following me around," DJ demands.
            "Stop following her around, Viviana."  he says.

            The girl annoying DJ is the one with the voice that makes Rosie Perez sound like Adele. The one who was being tortured by the dude with the dick when I got here last night. For some reason, the kid with the cock missed the cut. I guess he wasn't disturbed enough to be kept here. That's comforting.
            "I am only just trying to talk weeth her, what is wrong weeth that?" she asks in Spangleesh.
            "Don't try to talk with her" T says.
            DJ keeps spinning records. "You're always up somebody's ass or trying to fuck any guy who comes in here who will talk to you."

            "Do NOT talk to Viviana" I tell myself.

            I probably should also avoid starting a conversation with DJ or shadowing her around the room.
            DJ is not a small woman. She would kick Viv's ass. She might even land a few punches on me. "A few" being however many it took to put me on the rec room floor.
             Like me, Viv doesn't know when to shut up.
             "I'm only trying to make friends" she admits.
             "You're not here to make friends" T tells her.

             Hearing the word "friends" reminds me of that dick, I mean, my best friend. The call I placed to him last night was my final delusion, I think. In reality, the last thing I said to him was "FUCK YOU!" After all, he was complicit in having the cops come get me and having me held here involuntarily.
             I should call and thank him.
             After T tells me it's cool for me to use the phone, I go to the back of the room and take a seat under the phone on the wall. I wish I would have called him while the girls were yelling. He would have probably liked that. I'm sure he would have pictured this place to be a lot more exciting than it really is.

            Jeff answers, "This is Jeff".
            "This is Jim".
            "AY! You're back" he says.
            "Yeah, I'm back." I say. "Fuckin' A, bro".
            Sounding somewhere between trepidation, fascination, and wanting to break out in laughter, Jeff asks,"Duuude. What happened to you?"
            "I don't know, dude. I went so long without sleeping I just lost my shit".
           "Yeah you did" he says. "What the hell? What were you on?"
           I get that question a lot. Nobody ever believes my answer.
           "Nothing" I tell him.
           "Nothing? What do you mean, "nothing"? Let me guess, you were just really tired?"
           We both laugh at his "really tired" reference to the time he found me passed out on my bathroom floor about ten years earlier. That was the first time he found it hard to believe that a lack of sleep was a valid excuse for my condition.

           "Ever since I got arrested, I had been trying to get off the painkillers and the xanax on my own, and being all stressed out, I just could not sleep. I was maybe getting eight hours of sleep a week, I don't even know."
           "How long were you like that?"
           "For months" I tell him.
           "Months? I just saw you like two weeks ago".
           "Oh, the hallucinations. I thought you meant the insomnia. I think that all started on Friday".
           "Man, you are Tyler Durden", he says. We both laugh.
           In my twisted mind, I thought that was pretty cool.

           "Your dad called me saying that your roommate called your mom and told her you were talking to people who weren't there for the last week."
           "You would think he would have called the first day" I point out.
           Jeff agrees. "Yeah, really. He never said anything to you, like, "Hey, you're talking to yourself"?"
           "Nope. I don't know. Maybe he was scared."
           "That's even more of a reason to call. What the hell's wrong with that kid?"
           "I don't know. He's got problems. How did my dad have your number?"
           "I sent him a message on FaceBook a few weeks back about how I was worried about you but I never heard back from him.
           "Yeah, I don't even know why he has an account. He never uses it. I'm surprised he even saw the message."
         Jeff continues. "He called me and then we both talked to the cop. Bro, I thought you wanted to kill me yesterday. The cop said you would have definitely swung on me if you weren't cuffed".
         "Yeah, sorry about that. I thought we were starting some conglomerate and you were having me arrested to save it."
        "What the hell?"
        "Yeah. That's why I thought you brought the cops over. I don't know, bro. I thought all kinds of crazy shit was happening. I didn't even realize that I had been hallucinating until I woke up this morning". 
        "Did you talk to your dad?" he asks.
        "Yeah, dude. I decided I'm going to move up North."
        "Good" he says with noticeable enthusiasm. "I mean, I think that's a good idea. Everybody's gonna miss ya, but you need to go somewhere and recharge."
         "I need to do something", I admit.

         "I was telling the cop, "Look, Jimmy's my best friend, but that's not Jimmy". I called him after he dropped you off and told him I was concerned. I didn't know what was going on with you or what you thought I did to you. I just knew you were crazy. I told the cop that I thought if they let you out, you might come over to the house and want to kill me or something. He was like, "Oh, don't worry, they definitely won't be letting him out for a few days"."
         "Yeah, bro, I was spouting conspiracy theories the whole ride here" I tell him. "Man, I can't believe I'm in here."
         "What's it like?" he asks.
         "It's not what I expected. I didn't get admitted until this afternoon, but so far, everyone's just sitting around watching movies. Still, it's embarrassing that of all the fucked people we've known, I'm the only one who ends up in a place like this."        
         Jeff says, "The only person who knows about it is Jamie. I had to tell him. He called and said,"Did Jim go to Vegas? He left me a weird message". What did you say to him?" Jeff asks, laughing.
       "I really called him? I wasn't sure if that really happened. I thought I was in Vegas on Friday night and that him and Kelly met us out there. I left him a message to call me and fill in the blanks for me. I remember saying how it was the best time in a while, and how I was glad we went, but I just couldn't remember the details of how we all decided to meet there, or how we got home. Jesus, imagine if he would have answered, what that conversation would have been like."
        "That would have been awesome" he says.

        I have a very comforting thought pop into my mind out of nowhere. "Dude, thank God I did not go on Facebook all week. I would have been posting about being in Vegas and my dad dying. Then everyone would have known about this. I'd never get laid again."
        Jeff says,"Well, besides Jamie, I haven't said anything, and I told him not to."
        "Thanks, man. Nobody else needs to know about this shit."
        Then again, maybe I'll write a book about my secret humiliation one day.
        "You wouldn't believe some of the stuff I thought happened. Trust me, it's a long story, but I'll tell ya all about it when I get out of here. I should be out Monday. They don't release anyone on the weekend. You think you can pick me up?"
        "Yeah, of course. If I can't get out of work, I'll have Kimmy come pick you up" he says.
        "All right, thanks, dude. I'll let you know what's up".

        After we hang up, I imagine how awkward it would be to be picked up and driven home from a mental joint by my best friend's wife, who has never known me when I wasn't "all fucked up", to use her exact words.

        It occurs to me that I either just got off the phone with the best friend ever or the worst husband ever.




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