She was victim of a motorcycle or automobile accident, been under a coma for too long. I’ve seen it before. She can’t talk so well since then, doesn’t have that kind of control over her tongue or her lower jaw. She’s just about the only person here who’s my age. She’s beautiful, and she’s not that much older than I am. A few months. I know she loves me. I’m not blind. I can see it plainly.
But I can’t understand her when she tries to talk. That’s why I don’t want to go with her. I told her something about being alone, as if she doesn’t know what it’s like to be alone. I was thinking about how I couldn’t be with Mary Kathryn. The woman sat there and wept. She showed me she understood exactly what I told her, and felt how she felt about it.
It was as if I were understood as well as anyone can ever hope to be.
I ask myself why it is I can never have a real relationship, why it is that I’ve had to reject everyone, over a whole lifetime of being a nice guy, being single? I think it’s because I’ve been hurt so badly, from my whole childhood, from even before I was even born. I think that’s the reason. I don’t trust anyone well enough to make a commitment to them, as if I don’t have any idea who they are.
How can I trust any of my instincts, when my most basic instincts have been scrambled for my entire lifetime? I can only live alone in a retirement community, because that’s the only comfort level I can find that works. I haven’t needed to be an insomniac, ever since I’ve grown accustomed to living here at Powder Ridge. Why tell more horror stories? I’m alone, and the woman cries about the idea.
The woman knows my loneliness, as if it were her own, because it is. I need someone who is that sensitive, who can do a little more communicating, that’s what. I can’t just overlook the fact that I can’t understand her language. That wouldn’t be right. I couldn’t have Mary, because she was going to throw the dishes in the kitchen, with me knocking her up a lot, and me not being able to work.
I was going to be unemployable, and I was the only one of the two of us who knew it.
It would have been just like my own parents’ marriage, all over again. It’s better to remember her as being young and beautiful. Our marriage would have become a nightmare, and I was the one who knew it ahead of time. The fact was that Mary Kathryn smoked reefer with me, and she was going to keep on smoking reefer with me, until I would stop doing it, myself, would not have worked out.
I didn’t stop until I was well over 30, and that would have been too long for both of us.
I know the time I was going to miss my therapy session. There was just no way I was up to going to my doctor’s office for therapy. It was too far. I was too sleep deprived, and fell asleep behind the wheel up the street from my place, ran my new car into a curb at an intersection. I was trying to do what I had no business doing. I was trying to maintain a lifestyle that I was too disabled to manage.
I was out of control.
Just hitting that curb head on, at about 35 mph, broke my uni-body chassis with one violent bang, and totaled my new car. The late model Hyundai Accent only had 38K miles on it, but the body shop I always took my car to, declared it a total loss with one glance. They said it was because the uni-body chassis was broken, and that was one thing that could not be fixed.
What a waste of money.
What could I do?
What I did do at that point, was to drive to the nearest car dealership, limping the wrecked Hyundai up the highway, with the four way flashers blinking, obstructing the fast lane of Baltimore National Pike, speed limit 45mph, going about 25mph. I was a traffic hazard. I bought myself a used Mitsubishi Mirage Coup before I ever got any sleep that day.
I was lucky I didn’t kill somebody falling asleep behind the wheel.
I was driving that Hyundai when I hadn’t had any rest for about 72 hours. My therapist was probably miffed at me, but what could he do? He wouldn’t come after me. Psychotherapists don’t make house calls. I was even using an oxygen concentrator whenever I’d lie down to try to go to sleep. It was impossible for me to find sleep. I had never once felt secure in my lifetime.
I couldn’t get my insomnia under control because I never felt secure.
Can you imagine buying a used car without even test driving it first? The second hand Mitsubishi turned out to be a good car, for a measly $10K, right off the top of my trust fund. I got a lot of good wear and tear out of that little coup throughout the time I owned it. It was made by the same company that used to make Jap Zero’s, back during the second world war.
The Japs bombed Pearl Harbor with a whole bunch of them, back in 1941. Bastards.
It had some of the best gas mileage of any car I ever owned.
The day I bought that Mirage, I knew better than to drive it home myself. I had one of the employees of the car dealership drive me home. I rode shotgun, for the first time. The distance from the car dealership to my house was farther than it had been from where I wrecked the Hyundai. All I had to do was throw away another $10K investment, trying to get myself more transportation.
I asked the car dealership to drive me home, after I had declined to even take the car for a test drive. The salesman must have thought I was nuts. The Mitsubishi turned out to be just fine, though. I was lucky. I was the one who was not hitting on all four cylinders that day. The car was doing just fine. I went home and went to bed, but could not find sleep for the remainder of the day.
That was the car I used to drive around the countryside, all over the tri-county area, as if there were no tomorrow. That was the car I drove everywhere and nowhere, in a big way. I had become insulted by the ostracism in the program in one of the counties, and decided to go riding around the country in the middle of the night, instead of attending meetings of the program any longer.
There wasn’t anything wrong with me.
It was everyone else’s problem.
I ended up picking up some crack head woman, who was hitch hiking along the side of the street in the middle of the night one night. I almost threw away my sobriety over getting an attitude about the program. I spent entire nights driving around in circles in the countryside, until late at night. My Higher Power came to me and told me to avoid putting my hand on that woman’s crack pipe.
I think that instruction was the only thing that saved me that night.
I had driven that woman the whole way down into the war zone, into the darkest parts of the City of Baltimore. I had not gone there since the times I’d been there, looking for hashish, some thirty years earlier, while I was still using such recreational chemicals habitually. I had to sacrifice a phone number, and unplugged my phone all weekend thereafter, to get a crack addict woman off my back.
My Higher Power came and told me that the trip to the city was not about drugs; it was not about sex; it was about loneliness. I’d better be doing something about getting more people in my life pretty quick, or I was likely to get drunk or something. He pretty well commanded me to get back to the program, and be quick about it. The very next night I was at a meeting, in a different county.
I needed the program that much in those days.
I didn’t talk about that fateful trip I took with that woman too much, to very many people, until I had made peace with myself about it. Eventually, I was able to talk about it in public, but it did take me awhile to get to that point. At this point, I’m able to write about it publicly. I’ve forgotten what the woman’s name was, or any other distinguishing characteristic about her, but I remember that night.
I might have died that night, destroying myself over the idea that I was lonely.
Or one of those Yo’s downtown might have shot me dead, and nobody who loved me would have ever known a thing about it. There would have been a notification from an inner city precinct that some car had been found, and maybe some unidentified White male. Nobody who would have cared would have been contacted, because they would not have expected I would do such a thing.
There would be no ID on the body.
I could never figure how I’d ever do anything without driving a car, at that point in life. That crazy apartment and those crazy cars of mine were all I knew at that point. When I moved into a retirement community in Ellicott City, my sister suggested, over the long distance phone, that I should not need my own transportation, with the retirement community providing all I was going to need.
If you asked me, I wanted to buy a hybrid, even though I could not control my right hip. But necessity is the mother of invention. Sure. I’d have the big bucks, and spend it on getting a good car with alternate controls installed. How expensive can that be? Well, too expensive, that’s how much. I’ve gotten so I’m a homebody down here in Ginger Beach.
So, I moved down to Ginger Beach, to get away from some girl up North, who put a DNR on my chart before I’d gone into surgery. I was honestly afraid of her, by the time I’d promised her a place in my will. She and that boyfriend of hers were all about to become a couple of homicidal heroin addicts, who would do whatever they had to do, to get the money to drive their own addictions.
I found I needed assisted living, and a driver of my own, as well as a med tech, and assisted living is where I found them both. That’s where all the bucks are going, in larger the scheme of things, I’m not spending as much as I’m saving. I’m not buying a car, gasoline, car insurance, AAA, and all the rest of it. I’m letting Powder Ridge spend all that money, and I’m riding shotgun all the time.