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Twisting all the bad things into good

Jul 28, 2012

CHAPTER 23: The Thorn With A Boy In It's Side

You may not realize it when it happens,
but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
Walt Disney

MONDAY 9/13/10 

       "They're saying this Winter's gonna be a rough one. And it's gonna be here before you know it."
       I didn't need Dean's forecast or an Old Farmers Almanac to tell me it would not always be sunny in Philadelphia.
       Maybe I did.
       Sitting in Dean's office was the first time I began to really consider the reality of the choice I made, which did not seem much of a choice at all.
       This is not some flashback to my high school Dean, with whom I never discussed the weather or anything else with. If he even knew my name, it was because it appeared on his rumored "drug list" of suspects/students whose biggest crime was smoking weed...and maybe occasionally tripping on acid on the weekend...and at Disney World on Grad Night...when I not only tripped, I also rolled on ecstasy for the first time.
       When I did Disney on drugs, I started out trolling along as smooth and cool as Disney on Ice.
       I wanted to walk on water instead of take the ferry. If the first time euphoric rush of ecstasy would not have been enough to keep my head above water, swimming the rest of the way would have still been a pleasure. In that state, sinking would have seemed fun.
       The acid first showed it's face on my own while I floated with a permasmile through A Small World that was no longer the same one I saw as a kid.
       In The Haunted Mansion, the drugs made it impossible to know if the ghosts had always been there, or if they were only in my mind.
       By the time I reached Tomorrowland, it was not how I remembered it.
       Even tripping on psychedelics didn't make Mr. Toad's Wild Ride seem all that .....
       Why I made the "dean's list", I'll never know.
       I know it wasn't for my 3.4 GPA.
       I can't help but wonder what my GPA would've been if I studied.
       No reason to dwell on the past.

       Back to September 13th, 2010.

       This Dean had no suspicions regarding my drug use. It was all right there, in the file on his desk, and it went way beyond me smoking pot on the weekends...and after school....and before school. At least I wasn't one of the morons who got expelled for taking one hitters in homeroom.

       This Dean also had a list of names.
       He asked if I recognized any of them.

       Never heard of them.

       Bryn Mawr.
       Places I had never been.
       I knew they were in the Philadelphia area, a place I had heard of.
       A place I had even been to.
       A state I had never lived in. 

       I point to the only one that sounds vaguely familiar. "I'm guessing this would probably be the closest. I think it's the next town over."
       Dean marks the list and hands it back to me. "Hold on to this copy, you're gonna need to call there to schedule an assessment, and I'll make sure they get a copy of your file."
       Dean continues getting my shit together. God knows I couldn't do it on my own.
       He's a good guy. Not once did he look at my file, then at me and say,"You really did all this shit? You're a fuckin' mess, James. Bad childhood, huh?"

       It must have sounded like I was laughing.
       I wasn't.
       Dean looks up, asking "What's so funny?"

       I must have looked like I was laughing.
       I wasn't.

       "Funny? Nothing's funny. I'm not laughing, I'm just sitting here wondering what happened to my life."
       I look down at the list, reading the highlighted location, shaking my head in disgust and disbelief. "I'm sure my parents will be wondering the same thing every time they drop me off so I can get therapy and psychiatric meds at the fuckin' Montgomery County Mental Health and Retardation Center. Wow." I look at Dean. "So, what, I'm like legally retarded now?"
       "It won't be forever. And no, you're not legally retarded. Recovery from years of an addiction as serious as yours is enough to try to deal with, moving home is gonna be a major life change in itself. It's not a bad idea to stay on medication and go to some kind of therapy, at least, while you're adjusting to a life completely different from the one you've been living. Like I said, it doesn't have to be forever, but I think it will help you with the transition. How about friends?"
       "How 'bout 'em?" 
       "Do you have friends in Philadelphia?"
       "None. Most of my friends are people I've hung out with since high school. I have a few cousins up there, but they're all fucked up too. Or else married."
       "You've been in Florida for how long, twenty years now?"
       "Twenty two."
       "Twenty two years in South Florida and now you're gonna have to deal with winter before you know it. A lot of people in the North East get depressed during the winter."

       It's called Seasonal Affective Disorder.