Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Avoidant Personality Disorder On The Lam, Take Five

“I had a dream you tried to kiss me while I was pretending to be asleep. You didn’t seem like your old self at all.”

            The alcoves bottom-lit over the lancet windows of the church’s façade; something to see as you go by on the bus before the AA meetings got fully going, before you knew there really was enough time for slunk-and-smoke loitering around in your days. Fill up your Styrofoam cup with coffee from that big old silver urn. Take your time. Sit down and cross your legs, tip your make-believe hat to folks milling around the fold-up chairs. Run your fingers through your hair and sigh. That stuff. There’ll be time for it all. Mess around with ogling the ceiling; the cheap gaudy folds of plaster and bland, strobe flicker of bad lighting; the stained and scuffed-thin, gray-and-pink-dotted carpet; the whole multipurpose-room stink of it all. Something that reminds you of grade school assemblies, the stifling brunt of forced attendance weighing you down with girded ennui and dullness. But you’re here by choice, at least in the willingness to try to lure the unwilling sides of you into a trap, or perhaps that’s just a ruse you’re unable to convince yourself is actually not one, or something like that. But, goodbye to all that, you’re here, and that’s at least more than you’ve been able to do thus far in the folds of your attic-scrounging lifestyle. The PA sounds like a principal’s morning announcements. There’s static roaming staid in your amygdalae. Nobody’s playing it dangerous. Sprained ankles be damned, you’re in it for the short haul. Choking the wildness propagating in your nights, the rococo patterns of wishful forgetfulness, this all pleads no-contest to what’s been getting you by this far. When every day seems like just another laundry day, and your most common saying gets to be, “Just what was it I was going to say?” It’s move-over-or-be-done-with-it time.
            You need a cigarette. Go outside. Stand around and lean against the Masonite sign reading: “God Is Love.” Think about Columbo’s wife. Make small talk with the hands-stuffed-in-jacket-pockets crowd. There will be much dirt and pebbles to kick around uncomfortably with your shoes. Go ahead. Make a difference. It’ll have to do until the crows get back in town. 
            The backs of people’s heads, that unaware clump of blank surrender, is what you focus on. You sit in your metal fold-up chair, your hands folded together on your lap in a limp praying-type position; but you are not-- praying, that is. You are about a quarter listening to people who are taking turns standing in front of the podium up front and who are saying things like, “Hello, I’m Raheem, and I’m an alcoholic,” and then go on to tell semi-twisted and surreal and somewhat ordinary and boring stories about their lives: the things that have happened to them while under the influence of a combination of alcohol and/or drugs. You try not to tap your shoes in the linoleum floor too loudly. It is all that you can do.
            A splurge of hope idles in your thoughts for a second. You scoop it up and toss it around, and then place it carefully in your jacket pocket, like a piece of candy you’re saving for later.
            You think you hear someone saying, “Let us build our own caskets, and then borrow the remainder of our time from those who would’ve wasted it anyway.” But you look up and there’s nobody left in the room except you and some sidewinder of a janitor in ripped jeans who’s sweeping around the edges of things with a sickly looking broom. You look at your hands; they’re alabaster and shaking. You get up, walk slowly towards the exit, nod to the janitor who doesn’t pay you any mind, and you continue on, going out of the room, and you are not thinking about making movies or sense-- not at all.
            You keep walking, heading in the direction of fancier parties, somewhere glitzy and Corybantic; somewhere where you can feel a bit more free and unlike your usual self; and you start telling yourself another story. Something more rainy and hardboiled. The cars of Ares are honking their brains out. Go with it.
            Look. Just up ahead. That’s the signpost you’ve been waiting for. A dimension of silence, blindness, and corporeality. Shadows flustered to grainy substance without things, without ideas. Cross over. Go ahead. That door ain’t going to just open itself.
            So, tell yourself this:
            People and their damn dogs. You check your valuables at the door and fumble around with a bottle of Chimay, spill your worst-kept secrets on the carpet, and laugh at the doorman’s white sneakers. It’s chess time in Dourville. You’re ready for none of it. There are probably people to be seeing, making the rounds, but you’re not seeing anything except cigarette butts and xylophones. Trumped-up Chinatown blues getting grilled to mincemeat pie on the floor, your better bet’s off. Country last; supper first. Treated to strange business-suit expectations and cold coffee. There’s no fortune in those pants, kid. Hi to bye in a matter of seconds that never help. So you find yourself running uphill screaming, “I’ve been poisoned!” Everyone’s got their own alibi, and you’ll be around, here or there, for as long as it takes, hiding out and growing dust like hair in some dark bar somewhere. There are no rewards for suckers like you, no reasoning with or without whatever’s left scrambling around in the dregs of your bottomless-mimosa soul. Hide and sneak; it is all you’ve got. So, go ahead and pound out your sorrows on the hood of a Lincoln Town Car. It’s worth less than you’d figure, like an empty racing form or a lost dog sniffing at your heels. Make it all up and wish it all home. You are in keeping with what you’ll never be. It isn’t necessary, but it’ll do. You sing when you make your exit, like you’re Kate Smith or something. It’s over. It’s all over. And you find yourself somewhere where you can’t possibly be, but it’s all a lullaby of coins never picked up, dice never thrown, and a god whom you wouldn’t mind sitting down and having a beer with. Yep. People and their damn dogs. It’ll always just be that way. You’ve got Fritos in your back pocket, a cigarette in your shoe, and a grumble in your voice like Jack Webb on a bad day. Nothing’s showing. Nothing’s for sure. Lost a grip. Prance out of it. You will not be the laugh of the party. Not for anybody who’s left to care. A book of stamps for your worst nightmares; that’s about it. Take it on the chin, kid. You’ll get lucky enough before it’s too late to matter, probably. Because eventually you’ll be old enough that you won’t be able to listen to certain songs anymore, or look at certain pictures, and you’ll get sad and ornery and inept at everything you used to ace. Well, it sounds like rain; your best ideas come to you on the shitter, and there’s everywhere left to run. You’re biding your time in the bar car of your life’s train. Be for and against all of it. You will always matter to yourself, at least.