Thursday, September 13, 2012

Productivity, or something similar to it

I had visited every horse carriage stable in the city by 10am.  It was a mixed feat of walking boots and curiosity.  I didn’t land a job, as I had daydreamed when I hatched this plan in my head yesterday after talking to a carriage driver, but I did get acquire a slip of paper with instructions on getting my carriage license.  So I decided I’m becoming a horse cabbie.  Hell, worse things have happened, and at least I get to wear a sweet top hat.  As long as I pass the free course, of course.  I swung by the ASPCA on my way home and picked up a volunteer application.  By 11:30 I was back in the apartment with nothing left to do until 4 when I have work, which brings me to productivity.  I’ve found the amazing thing about having a dog is I can do absolutely nothing for hours and still feel productive, as long as I did nothing with my dog.  Take Monday for example.  I got stuck in Connecticut because of some DMV troubles and unfortunately ran out of money for puppy day care, so I got stuck with Brooklyn for the day.  Technically, I sat on a picnic bench for 7 hours and drew on my knees.   But because I sat on a picnic bench for 7 hours drawing on my knees AND watched Brooklyn, I felt like the day was some sort of enormous success.  And then there’s today.  I got A LOT done this morning, but since 11:30 I’ve done nothing but watch soap operas (for god knows what reason) and a Merlin marathon on the SyFy channel.  However, because I did this periodically giving Brooklyn treats and talking to him about every bizarre thought that ran through my head over the course of the day, so I feel kinda, sorta, productive.   And that’s all I’ve got to say about that, now I have some Merlin to get back too….

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


On second thought, let me not publish that and tell you the briefer more appropriate version:

Things got really weird after I tried to kill myself.  The doctors said it was due to a month and a half long flash back I was suffering from without knowing it, but all I know is I went off the deep end for a little while there.  After I got back from the hospital Occupig died and my sister kicked me and my surviving animals out of the house.  She said we weren’t conducive to her recovery, whatever that means.  We sought refuge in the house on Mills Avenue with no utilities for a little while, until Tom Braddich and his partner in crime Ben found us in miserly conditions after helping me clean out a neighbor’s house that burned down across the street.  Tom took me and Brooklyn to the house where they were staying, the Lawn Mower Man’s residence, and it wasn’t a week later I moved in, taking Charlie and Sabina on one more long haul down the freight train tracks.  Almost a week went by, I started settling in and found new friends to play guitar for, but pretty soon the boys and lawn mower man got into a fight and I freaked out and biked to Maryland without telling anyone where I was going.  I got back 5 days later exhausted and strained, but I took some nice pictures at least.  About five days after that I freaked out again, started cutting thin lines into the flesh on my forearm and hitched a ride for New York City.  I made about $500 there playing my guitar in the subways and pretending to be a rock star.  I spent a lot of time talking to strangers on Coney Island, cutting myself and drinking copious amounts of wine.  By the end of the week I had a pickup installed in my guitar, my first amp and a new journal.  At 3am on July 4th I was drinking a bottle of wine and got the idea in my head to cut my arm over a glass.  I went to deep and severed an artery by accident, or at least I thought it was by accident.  I freaked out and went into a tailspin.  I’m not exactly sure what happened but I ended up hitch hiking to Troy, NY to see [R], the only person I trusted to help me fix the ever loving mess that I created of myself and my life.  A cabbie picked me up and took me as far as Putnam, I paid him in guitar case change.  I made it the rest of the way in two rides and had the smoothest hitch hiking experience of my life, but the details of that are for another tale.  By time I made it to Troy I was a mess, not to mention completely broken and out of my mind.  [R] and his friends practically baby sat me for a week, kept away from sharp objects and open windows, until I reluctantly agreed it was time to get some help.  From there I hopped a ride back to Queens where a family friend collected me and brought me to a hospital.  I was there for 26 days.  The experience some day will be written down, there were certainly some interesting moments and I made some new friends, but for now it is a series of rants that I don’t have the time to sort through. (And yes if you were on this blog last week, they are cringe worthy.)  In any event, my Dad picked me up from Glen Cove hospital in early August and we made our way back to Braddock.  I started to feel like things were looking up.  While I was in the hospital I made a plan to start living a normal life, so in Quincy, PA we stopped to look at a Jeep for me.  Up until that point I did not really know how to drive, but me and my Dad figured I’d learn on the way.  We bought the car and for the next two days I slowly followed behind my Dad on route 30, blindly into the mountains.  I was terrified.  But we survived, and I learned how to drive.  Back in Braddock is when things started to get weird again.  While I was gone Tom and Ben stole everything from me, my clothes, my laptop, my odds and ends that I had left.  They’d gotten into crack and were the center of an unfolding town drama.  I stayed out of it as best as I could.  That was the first sign of trouble.  The next thing I found out was that Sabina, my cat, had disappeared while I was gone and everyone was lying to me about it.  I was heartbroken.  Apparently Mr. Kevin had decided that cats should be free and let her loose.  I then discovered that Brooklyn had fleas and somebody had tried to shave him.  It wasn’t long after that that Mr. Kevin began changing.  He started getting controlling and putting me down.  He started screaming at me one day while my sister was present and it triggered her into a psychotic break.  I spent the next 48 hours taking care of her.  When she came to she suggested that I move back into the Rebecca avenue house since my own still didn’t have utilities and Mr. Kevin’s was becoming increasingly sketchy.  He had begun following me through town, and making passes at me in front of our neighbors.  But I declined.  She’s still unstable and I wasn’t ready to get into that kind of situation.  Then one morning I woke up and Charlie, my dove, was gone too.  There was no longer a safe place for me and Brooklyn to go, and everything was gone.  It was time move on.

“Your bird’s gone.”  Mr. Kevin said casually, smoking a cigarette, when I walked out on the front porch.
“What?” I looked up at his cage and he was indeed gone.  Panic immediately began to seize my chest.
“You left the cage door open, something got him in the backyard, there’s feathers everywhere.”
“No, I closed the cage door.  You always open it.”
“Would I lie to you!?  What reason do I have to lie to you?
“Mr. Kevin…”
“Go find your damn bird!”  Frantically I searched the backyard but he was nowhere to be found.  This was the final straw.  I snuck out of the house later that afternoon and did the only thing left to do when all else fails, I called my mom.  We came up with a plan for me to return to New York.  I wasn’t sure if Mr. Kevin would just let me leave, so we agreed I would pack up my belongings while he was sleeping that night.  A little after that [C] called and we met at Tortilla Flat.  I explained the scenario to him as briefly as I could.
“Woa.”  He said exhaling a breath of smoke.
“I know dude.  I fucked up, I should have stayed here, I’m so sorry.”
“Hey it’s okay, your back now!”
“Yeah.  And I’m not giving up on this house.  Even if I’m in New York, I mean that.”
“I know.  Can I hop a ride?”
“Hell yeah.”  We spent the rest of the day talking about the good old days of Tortilla Flat, when everyone was involved and the dream was fresh.  Before things got scary and difficult.  I tied up all my loose ends.  I got the lawn cut and explained to the neighbors when I’d be back.  I called my adoptive parents and let them know I was coming home.  In the evening I took my sister down to Puhala’s the only bar in town one last time for a round of pool.  I told her I was leaving and she took it well.  Mr. Kevin tracked me down there.  Drunk, he slammed the screen door open and started commenting on our game.  He tried to get me to walk him home.  I turned my back and made my shot without a word. 
“Will you be okay?” [K] asked.
“Yeah, don’t worry about it.” I said, hoping she couldn’t see how scared I really was.  We finished our game and slowly walked home, reflecting on the year and saying our goodbyes.  About half way Mr. Kevin began calling me.  I ignored those calls, too.  When I got back to the house I locked myself in my room and pickup the next time he called.
“Get down stairs!”
“Why?”  I gingerly asked.  I was shaking.
“Do I need and explanation, GIRL.”  I began to stammer no, but then he hung up.  I tiptoed across the room and popped open the beer I’d been saving all day, hoping it would give me the strength I needed.  I silently packed my things, jumping at every creak in the house, terrified Mr. Kevin would wake up at any moment.  Things had changed so much since I had first come to Braddock.  From a chilly isolation to the rush of activism, family hardship and my own eventual loss of control.  Everything happened so fast and changed so drastically, I felt like I was still a few months ago, trying to catch up.  Fear and pain erupted in my chest as I dumped what little belongings I had left in plastic bins.  I lost almost everything, even myself.  I wanted to blame somebody or something, pin it on a scapegoat and scream, but I was too afraid to make a noise and there was really nothing I could blame but my own shitty luck and myself.  By midnight everything was ready to go and [C] met me downstairs as planned.  He pulled my car up front and I quietly unlocked the gate. 
“Ready?” He asked.  I took a deep steadying breath and looked back at the house one last time.  Did I fail to adjust, or was it just never meant to be?  Not now at least, at this point in my life.  Not the way things panned out, the choices I made and the circumstances that presented themselves.
“Yeah.” I sighed in surrender, and slipped Brooklyn’s lease into his hand. “Here we go again...”