Community Standards

It’s five minutes round-trip to the Milky Way for drinks and cigarettes. Three minutes if there’s no one in line. Rarely, a half-hour if I end up behind some moron who’s surveying the smorgasbord of lottery tickets. (“Um. Give me one with the balloons. One with the cowboy. One of those with the stars…do you know any slow or special people?”)

I mean it’s a very short trip. Last night I timed it to make sure it wasn’t an hour. I want to convince myself that my trips to the store are no big deal.

But still. When I get back in to the house I’m out of breath and I’m giving thankful prayers, like I’ve been through a terrible ordeal.
I guess my nerves are just raw.

‘Nerves’. I watched a 1932 Edward G. Robinson movie the other night. He played a skyscraper riveter having a nervous breakdown. He couldn’t climb those heights anymore, they made his head swim. The doctor made a house call and said something like “Oh I know it’s very real to you, but it’s still psychological. Nerves are tricky, you have to keep a strong grip on yourself or you’re through. Let them take over once and you never forget. Here are some sedatives.”

Everyone goes to the Milky Way. I’ve probably written about this before.

I could be standing in line there with a 12 pack, get a tap on the shoulder and find my grade-skool music teacher there offering a hug (she is a sprite, Mrs. Davis). Or maybe the mayor will walk in and be all mayoral to me, while I just remember him as a squirrelly kid in 7th grade.

I attended AA here for a few years, and chaired a meeting for six months. It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve had complete strangers approach me and ask, “Aren’t you a friend of Bill’s?”

Admittedly, I have a low threshold for trauma.
Some encounters make me feel like I've been shot like a cannon-ball into the future. Sometimes I marvel that I've had a good life, other times I feel like I've landed with a sickening thud.

Friends like Lunkhead can get across to me how I waste time worrying. And in retrospect life always looks good, except that my anticipation of the future always produced needless emo-seizures.

What's on my to-do list now? A long stubborn wait for inspiration.

I wish the yellow pages listed cults and communes.

Actually, I still want to go to the 4th floor with the mental patients. Not detox, with it's rote 12-step training.

I mean with the sweet people who just became a little over-whelmed...

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