A Dark and Scary Place

June 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm (Drunk and disorderly, That's not funny...)

It’s been a rough week.

From missing work, to missing teeth, to missing my weekend.

But I’m much better now!

From Wednesday afternoon until this morning, I’d spent almost all my time in bed. I can blame part of it on my own stupid behaviors, and challenging limits I can no longer push. Thanks to a royal toothache that had gone on forever, I didn’t eat for about five days. I knew I couldn’t go through this in public. Master P and Dr T facilitated a couple days off in addition to my usual weekend.

Wednesday morning I returned to the gauntlet of voicemail that led to the uninsured dental clinic for the county. After an hour (and three beers) the lady came on the line. “I can get you in at 10:30?”

I did the math in my head. “I’ll be there.”

Little Sister drove me, tired of the grumpy old man prowling the property. She dropped me off, and within a half-hour I was X-rayed and in a chair, waiting. The dentist, a certified dental hit man, looked at my tooth. ‘You should probably lose the one next to it. I can do it now, if you want?”

“Do it.”

After two or three (or five) shots of Novocaine, it was showtime. A flash move with a silver utensil, a thunk in the tray. “ISH THA Ihh?” (“Is that it?”)

“For that one.” The bonus tooth was better grounded, and took him about five minutes. Almost wish I’d kept it. Soon I felt a snap, and it was gone. He none-too-gently rooted all the fragments from the crater, and I was given a gauze to bite on. I was woozy, but ready to go.

Southeast Portland can be a gritty place, even at noon. I went to the bus stop. There was a fair crowd, including parolee-types trying to give me the jailhouse eye. I must have given it back properly, because they looked away. I noticed a significant amount of dried blood on my hand. Maybe that helped?

A visit to 7-Eleven yielded a pint of ice cream. It took a day to eat it. The kid at the counter eyed me with caution. I caught my reflection on the way out and realized why. Wild hair, three days beard, a rim of blood around my mouth. I could give the mug shost of Nick Nolte, Glen Campbell or Rip Torn a run for their money.

The second day I bought a half-gallon of chocolate ice cream. I’ve almost finished it.

Last night, it was time to try real food. I started with scrambled eggs, then tuna, then found a box of microwave burritos. It was ‘clean the pantry out’ time of anything not too gritty.

Food would last about an hour, then I’d be starving. So I kept nibbling, my blood sugar returned to normal. I’d stopped drinking as soon as the teeth came out. (Well, I finished the three beers left from before the appointment.) I consumed them with utmost caution. There were to be no leftovers to tempt, and no dry socket. Soon I was curled up in bed.

And there I stayed. I’d lay there, feel like I was in an accelerating car. I must have had the same recurring dream five-hundred times, before I had a real nightmare. (Nuclear lava washing over my loved ones and I, melting our fingers into deformed crab-hands.) The cringe of awakening to a wash of depression every time I snapped to? It took me back to the teen years. I didn’t know about depression. I thought everyone felt that way. You wake up, feel the crush of life, and then tell yourself “It’s all better from here.”

I’ve not been this depressed since. So I took advantage of the down time. I laid in bed. And thought about things. And sweated. And hurt. And had more fucked-up dreams. Finally, yesterday, I started coming around.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I can no longer hang around friends when they are drinking. I’m not saying they have to be teatotalers, but I’m taking a break from buying girls beers and watching them drink it. I have to be cautious when visiting friends in bars. Although I was strong for a long time, I am not immune. It takes nothing to get me reverting to my evil ways.

I need to spend more time being quiet, curled up with a book or taking a long walk. Chasing girls is fun, but I’ve wasted too much inner energy trying to force something that should come naturally. And, frankly, what’s the point? They won’t like me until I learn to like myself.

I’ve spent a lot of time with the family this week. Told them I loved them, now I need to show it. I don’t want them worrying about me. I’ve worried about everyone enough for everybody lately. I’ve only been fifty for two weeks, but I feel like I’ve aged ten years in that time.

I need to stop worrying about what might happen and start enjoying what’s going on NOW.

That sounds like A Nicer Place.


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