Sunday, May 25, 2008

good as gold

It's always Sunday night that I feel a desperation to post something, last minute before the sleeping pill kicks in. Sunday night, the brink of a new week of unknown, where my constant state of anxiety makes the probable monotony to come the welcome alternative.

Tonight I called my parents at a time that I thought they should have been home watching the news or reading in bed and there was no answer. I called my father's cell phone, and when there was no answer there, my mother's. My brother is in Israel and I know he has a bad flu right now. I contemplated calling his phone next, but it was the middle of the night there. There are times when the hysteria would win out over common sense, but I forced myself to wait a little longer. I tried the whole routine again: parent's house, father's cell, mother's cell. Finally she answered.

There were all kinds of things that could have been happening. I have an incredibly vivid imagination [if only I could harness it]. All kinds of things happen all the time, so you can't really say it's irrational. Bad things happen.

Sometimes the things that happen are so bad I find it hard to believe anything good is possible.

That's why statistics never worked for me. Do you know how many times people have tried to use them to talk me out of my fear?

"Do you know your chance of dying in a car accident is much higher than..."

There was a time in university where I went crazy over probability trees. None of my friends could figure them out, and me, the one who had a full-time math tutor from the seventh grade on got them right off. Even loved them perhaps. I thought I had finally discovered a way to take risk out of the equation, to make sure bad things wouldn't happen, but there was still this number at the end. No matter how many precautions there were or how many back-up engines a plane had, the risk was never zero. There is always something.

I admit, being afraid isn't a good way to live. I am so much better than I was. At least now after all of these years I know that calling my brother in the middle of the night on the other side of the world when he is sick with the flu is not going to change the outcome. If it is going to be bad [and I hope with all of my heart that it is not], no amount of vigilance will change that. And even if it could, do I want to spend my whole life in that state to prevent one bad thing from happening? I don't think so. I'm still a little too vigilant, but if it interferes too much with my life I have the capacity to walk away from it. I have the balls to do things I never thought I could do.

There are still things that bring it out in me; bad news and change to name a couple. And Sundays, which are basically a combination of the two.

Monday, May 19, 2008

fresh start

There was a certain comfort I got
From cleaning out the bathroom.
They were coming in the morning
To redo the ceiling in the shower.
I took every single item out.
All that was left was a tin sound.
A hollow echo;
An empty stomach;
An aching beacon.

I never know if I have come far or just gone in circles.
I'm flying in the dark again
Off the coast of Newfoundland
And most of the time
I can marvel in the thrill of it all.

There was a time I craved the comfort of a carpet.
Its feigned warmth and welcome
Like a paid professional
Pretending to be your mother.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

down the drain

I dropped a fake diamond stud down the drain; one of my favourite pairs of earrings. I could see it with a flashlight, sitting about 6 inches down, in a bed of who the hells knows what, on some kind of a ledge.

I was running late for work. I put in another pair of earrings and decided to think about what to do during the day and come home with a plan.

That night, I felt like I was at the hospital doing some kind of procedure on a patient, only the patient was my sink. I could still see the earring. I put the flashlight down for a second, went to my purse and took out a piece of gum, which I chewed while I looked through my utensil drawer in the kitchen for some kind of a tool. I found a chopstick that I thought could fit the bill. When the gum was just soft enough I stuck it on the fat end. Holding the flashlight with my left hand, I slowy lowered it into the drain. I felt like I was playing that old game Operation and that if I touched the side it would buzz. I took a deep breath and lowered the chopstick until it stopped. I pressed the gum into the earring trying not to think about what might come back out with it. I carefully withdrew. An inch from the opening, the gum fell off the chopstick, presumeably with the earring attached. And like that it was gone, into the abyss of hair and crud.

I gave up. I even ran the water, like if I wasn't going to get it, I might as well send it on it's way.

Later that night I stood over the same sink brushing my teeth and I remembered a phone call from many years ago. Tears rolled down my cheeks. It's amazing that it still does this to me. It's amazing that my brain takes me to these places. It's like acid flashbacks without the acid.

I was in my childhood room, but already in first or second year university. I picked up the phone to call Tamara back who was living in Vancouver with her boyfriend and their other roommate, the one who answered the phone. Tamara was out, she said, and asked if I had already heard the news.

"What news?"

She stammered something about how maybe she shouldn't tell me. Maybe I should just speak to Tamara. Blah, blah, blah.

"It's about Z", she said. "Apparently he killed himself."

"What do you mean, apparently? What happened?"

It had to be a mistake. Z lives in the same city I live. How would they know before me, all the way across the continent? I was angry at her for saying something like that.

"We don't have all the details, but he jumped off some bridge out there", she said.

As soon as she said it I knew what bridge. I knew it was true. I don't even remember her name.

Every once in a while I am hit with it, like everything else miserable in the world, it is hard to believe that humans can suffer as much as they do. It is hard to imagine he is dead, he died like that, that these events unfolded the way that they did, and that bad things happen every day, everywhere. It is hard to then get into bed and read a book. Hard to get up in the morning, shower and put your make-up on. It's hard to go look at condos with a realtor, to run on a treadmill at the gym, to sit in a theatre and watch the big screen. I've never been good at it; coming to terms with all of the crud. I can't figure out if it's guilt or fear.

It's so much easier when you don't look down the drain.