Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Saturday I was at home alone getting ready for my weekend restaurant gig and slipped on the no-slip mat suctioned cupped to the perfectly finished floor of the deep porcelain tub in my tiny apartment. In one fell swoop, a thousand sacks of potatoes went crashing to the ground and I edged up the sides like an X-gamer shooting a halfpipe. When my battered-but-not-yet-bruised body finally found inertia at the bottom of the bath, I laid frozen for an hour or more as I let the falling water muffle my wails and shower away the thousand gallons of sadness flooding the drain hole. I didn't know if my body was hurt, and I didn't care.

All I could think about was my aloneness at the bottom of a tub or a well or whatever stupid metaphor works at the moment. Instantly, I knew I could have died there and nobody might have noticed until today. And then I wondered if I did die, would The Manny care? Likely not. I mean, why would he care about me if I died if he doesn't care more than this about me when I'm alive? And what busted ass story would he tell the kids? And what if they coincidentally sent my former fireman friend to fetch my bloated, naked corpse from the bottom of the bathtub -- which is entirely plausible since his firehouse covers my hood? Boy, wouldn't that be embarrassing? He always told me that the dead ones are always naked for some reason. And never dead, naked, and good looking. Just dead, naked, and gross. Not ideal.

But that's not why I was crying. I was crying because I did that thing that you should never do. I imagined my funeral; you know, should I have met with grave misfortune at the business end of that bath tub fall. Instead of a well-attended funeral I envision much more of an interactive online thingy where face/twit/blog networks implode from the simultaneous news spreading. "DING-DONG the bitch is dead! Release the gimp hounds doves!" But then I got real, "eh. nobody's heard this tree fall in the woods for aaaaages..."

I have no In Case of Emergency contacts. Not one. In case of emergency, nobody who cares is close enough to do anything, and nobody who's close enough to do anything cares. I learned that in April. And I'm all, "Aaaaand if nobody else cares about me, then why should I exactly?" Easily my life's most painful realization to date.

Ironically, I also have no will. I've not one thing to leave my children in case of eternal emergency. Not one. Easily my life's most painful realization to date.

I took inventory of my limbs and lumbars, and diagnosed myself as pretty banged up. The base of my skull felt achey, I somehow managed bruises on both the inside of my forearms and my elbows seemingly simultaneously, besides my right knee being pretty effed. But I was alive, able to extract myself from my embarassing folded state, and well enough to grab a towel.

I wasn't even dry before morbid curiosity got the best of me.

Alone. People say that's how we're born and how we die. I say that it's how you spend the days in between that matters more. And based on the past year of my life, I have no faith in the buddy system whatsoever, so the status quo set at either end of the continuum is where I'm (and you are, to be honest) safest. Alone. Easily my life's most painful realization to date.

Without people there are no networks. Without friends there is no support. Without partnerships and trust there is no building of anything. Families, businesses, communities. All the things I thought I wanted to do can't be done by me alone, and even more pointedly have been done better by worse. It's humbling to come to the realization that you're not as much of a genius as you are a plain old pain in the ass.

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