Sunday, August 22, 2010

Here's yer sign

Rainy, windy days like this promote strange thoughts and recollections, at least here in my little, square flat in Sheffield. It's literally a square by the way, or a "square ring" as Lucian brilliantly refers to it.
So, as the wind is whipping violently outside and I'm wrapped in a shawl made out of a blanket and a few buttons, looking like a damned squaw, I am thinking about some of the times where I wanted out of something. I guess you could call it regret, but it's much more cynical and self-deprecating than that. Regret is for when you f*ck up your kids or kill somebody's dog because you're driving drunk. This is more bemused bewilderment at where you've found yourself and what you are able (if at all) to remember about that time.

I remember distinctly a stall in the bathroom at the train station in Galway, only because I barely made it into the stall emptying the contents of my stomach into the "great white ear" so to speak. I was sweating and swearing that I would never drink again, but wouldn't you know by lunch I felt like a million bucks and ready to eat some blood pudding and drink my weight in Guinness. The stall was green, by the way, and two of the floor tiles were cracked, I counted them between heavings.

Other key details include a very dark, musty hotel room on the 10th floor of an old industrial building in San Francisco. Of course, our room (our meaning my Pakistani boyfriend at the time and my reckless self) was on the tenth floor and the elevator was out. A ninety-year-old Buddhist nun insisted on carrying our luggage up all ten flights. Her had was shaved and she wore a red robe. The whole place reeked of pungent incense and I knew the smell was going to be in my skin for days. The trip wasn't going that smoothly and I remember thinking that maybe I could score some opium from the man at the front desk. Or just settle for some cheap rock from the hookers outside the hotel. I wonder, if I'd been successful on either count, if I would have laughed in the boyfriend's face when he proposed. Unfortunately, all I had was a pack of Camels and a bottle of Henessy, and those didn't help. I said yes. I wasn't even twenty.

And last, but certainly not least (actually, it's not even last, there's like hundreds is my life after all) I distinctly remember sitting on my rickety porch street side in the middle of the ghetto (where there is more than one crackhouse within a half mile radius, it is a ghetto, also there was a pharmacy that you had to ring the bell to get in). It was 5 o'clock in the morning, I was wearing nothing but a big plaid shirt and biker boots (no socks, of course) smoking a cigarette, spraying workable fixative on some charcoal drawings I had pieced together for an art class. Yeah, I know, way to go with the open flame around the aerosol can. I could've blown the place up. It never dawned on me. What did occur to me was how very fine it felt to be young, and cocky, and not care that you smelled like a distillery and that you weren't wearing socks and that whoever was in your bed would be out before you had to offer them a cup of coffee, and that it was only Saturday morning.

I don't want all of it back, but wouldn't mind chasing that confidence around for a little longer. Maybe without the drugs or the self-inflicted harm.
Is it even possible?

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