This isn't working out for me. Here I sit in the wreckage of dreams not quite deferred, a pale, fragile, digestive hazard of last night's sleepy-time litany of drunk-driving Mack trucks off cliffs, one-eyed monsters of ill repute, baby-sitting adventures with cracked-out Elisabeth Shues and single-engine airplane thrill rides bumping off giant bouncing beach balls strewn across a stormy lake, always waking up before the crash.
Hello, Freud. I'm on the couch staring at a blank screen and I'm a listless wreck.
It shouldn't be this hard. After all, I've cobbled together asymmetric shards from a lost three-day weekend with my visiting California friend Peaches (a Thurston Moore of thirsting more) and our surrounding pectoral patch of hot straight guys doing hot straight things in the heat. There was the Friday boat ride replete with shirtless abandon and crawling through muck on bushy islands, the ironic stewing in the hot tub with some cabbage stew, the requisite queer moment of the new Pet Shop Boys album following me around in a car when it was actually just blaring from my pocket, the picking of pecks from Peaches' pickled prescription marijuana in a well-known downtown eatery, the whippets at the Bohemian, the accidental punching of the girl in the face at Stardust Lounge and the top-heavy wobble of the shame-walks home. Just throw them in a mental blender set on "debauchery" and there it would be. These are the things Blister is made of.
"I just crashed," comes my husband Alan's voice from my procrastination telephonic device. "Let me call you back."
These are the things blisters are made of.
"What? Hold on!"
I resort to the reflexive externalization peculiar to the codependent bottom and cast thought lines around to explore the semantics of the news I've just been handed.
"Do you say crash without saying what you crashed into?" I quiz Karen Leigh like she has nothing better to do at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon. "I mean you wreck your car, right? You crash your plane."
"Not necessarily?" she meekly thesaurusizes. "I mean, it could be either."
"He must mean his car," Roy grease-monkeys an opinion. "He wouldn't be answering his phone if he crashed his plane. He'd be …"
And now it's a Lifetime movie. Just last night on the phone from Georgia, Alan was a sputtering off one-word answers to the various stressors I tend to apply unsympathetically in times of crisis. His business in Georgia was burned to the ground in January, setting off a series of meetings, evaluations, budgetary restrictions, romantic fights and hell. I'm always good for a "What's wrong? Is it me?" because that's how I operate. However, if last night was the end of his rope, then what exactly is this "crash"? My head spins in a thousand directions. What the FUCK is going on?
An hour into this self-involved tragedy explosion, the phone rings.
"Are you at home?" Alan's voice cracks a little. I mumble back an affirmative. "I need the insurance information for my plane."
"What? What? WHAAAAAAT?" I start to cry. He cries, too, as I read off the numbers.
"I crashed my plane, I don't know what happened, I think I'm fine, I've got to go." Click.
Within moments, everybody in my phone book is sinking along with me into the wild-eyed misery of I don't know what to do. I become a living switchboard of unanswerable imperatives, a futile dust cloud of impotence and a little drunker by the minute. Next stop, Facebook. It's there and then, as I'm typing things like "Billy is … a plane crash," that I realize that all of this violent excretion is just a defense mechanism to avoid any fair absorption, which, all too soon, becomes a pretty sharp analogy for my life in general. Fortunately, both my friends and my "friends" understand. The bright sides start popping up, like "You've got yourself your own Sully Sullenberger!" and "This will probably only make your hair whiter!" and the vanity storm starts to subside.
In the next few hours, the Associated Press will wire out the story to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chicago Tribune and even our own beloved Orlando Sentinel. Finally I'm convinced that it is a really big deal and I'm not just overreacting. My husband, by most laws of gravity and small planes, should be dead. It isn't an easy pill to swallow.
"Dammit, it's in the media?" is Alan's reaction from beside the lake he was just fished out of. "I'm not a celebrity. I don't want people knowing my business."
We are complete opposites.
A few minutes later, he sees himself on TV and calls me back to say, "Damn, I'm handsome!" Love!
Somewhere in the melee, I shot out some versions of the story from varying news outlets to important people (like, say, my boss, so that he wouldn't think I was just acting out my 47th histrionic play of the year) and heard little back. Dave Plotkin, wonk extraordinaire and longtime friend, receives my missives but doesn't read the details. (Actually, he does. One report says that Alan "didn't even get his feet wet," while another says he escaped with only wet feet. He shoots back a joke about how the media always gets it wrong. Hilarious.) To be clear, Alan's feet did get wet, because he crashed his goddamn plane into a lake, climbed out and stood on the wing. Just like Sully, a Georgia reporter gesticulates wildly on WSB-TV Channel 2 in Atlanta. My hero.
The next morning, I know that he's OK. I know this because he's back to being an ass.
"I just got in a wreck," he grouches into the phone. "Just kidding! It was all a dream, like in Dallas. Bobby's back!"
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