Tuesday, March 31, 2009

News of the Weird

Apparently, running hurts less than walking these days. Fucked up, right? Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, March 9, 2009

By Way of Explanation, or Maybe Just Thinking Out Loud

It’s been an odd couple of weeks, or maybe months. In some ways momentous, in others like a hard right hook to the kidney with a fist wrapped around a roll of dimes. As I blink away the tears and try to find a few hours to sleep I’m stuck wondering what exactly has happened. Sorry to be so oblique, but there are names that can’t be used and trains still coming behind the ones that I’ve managed to take as glancing blows. Those could still be direct hits and I’m trying not to tempt fate here.

What I’m getting at, I guess, is that I feel like I’ve been missing things lately. Mostly little things. I’m good with the big stuff. The stuff that casts a long shadow and makes a big boom when it lands, that stuff’s easy to see coming. The little things, the ones that slide in like razor blades thrown in the dark, those I’m not so good at. There have been a lot of those lately.

My last post? The one about sleeping only 50 minutes in one night? There’s a reason those things happen to me. It’s pretty much always because I’m sorting through something that I don’t understand, or because I’m beating myself up about something that I’m fairly certain I’ve screwed up. It was a healthy combination of both this time.

I walk on wounds
That seldom prove to slow me down
I laugh this constant pain away
So you can't tell
But there it lies under the smiles
It drains me mile after mile
But seldom proves to slow me down
Here I go

I find that this is a pretty good encapsulation of the way I feel most days. Despite the fact that I actually enjoy most of what’s happening in my world most of the time, there are those moments where I’m talking to someone, or leaving them, and I realize that I’ve missed something, that there was one more thing I should have said or done. That feeling that if I’d just been more alert I could have made something different happen. I’ve reached a point where I am well and truly sick of this feeling.

There are conversations that need to happen. Actions that need to be taken. Most are small things, little movements that can tie off loose threads and simplify things, but it’s also the smallest things that shake the biggest foundations.

As I lie awake at night, my brain churning through all my mistakes, both real and perceived, trying to make sense of what I know I should already understand, I can’t help but wonder where the ride ends. When do we pull into the station and let the safety bars pop up off our shoulders so we can move freely?

How do we know when to pull the trigger as opposed to the ripcord?

Don’t fall, I see lights in the distance
They’re not far away
Stand up because the sky is turning gray

There’s hope in these footsteps of persistence
So don’t go astray
These lights get closer everyday

If the lights in the distance are really getting closer, then the next question I suppose, is whether or not the destination on the horizon is the one we’re supposed to be aiming at. When the road runs out and we finally reach the lights will we find the answer we’re looking for, or just another turn toward a farther off horizon? When we’ve walked the soles off our shoes and talked ourselves right out of our voices; when all that remains is action, will we know what to do? Will we pull the trigger, or the ripcord?

These are the things I wonder about when I can’t sleep, and sometimes when I can. They’re the things that hit me in the shower in the morning and that only recede when I’m kicking the hell out of myself physically.

So if you’ve noticed that something’s not right, that I’m not reacting the way I should. If you think my actions don’t connect with my words. If you’ve seen me staring randomly off into the middle distance, then you’ve caught me square in the act of being out of my depth. I know I owe more than one explanation, and probably a couple of apologies for the last couple of weeks. I think I even know who’s supposed to get which. Now all I have to do is figure out how to deliver. I can say this, though:

A destination, a fading smile.
Another station, another mile.
Another day gone, I swore that I will.
Be there before dawn.
So be there, I will.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sometimes I'm Amazed That I Can Even Dress Myself

Since I haven't used this particular storytelling device in a while, we are going to revisit The Big Book of Stuipd Things Ryan Does.

Today's reading comes from chapter 972 (It really is a BIG book.), entitled "Insomnia, or How to Put Yourself in Physical Legal and Moral Jeopardy."

I agreed to go to Mt. Baldy on Saturday to get in one last day for the season. All I had to do was get myself to Dieu's at 6:30AM, load the truck and head for snow. Sounds simple, right? Well, I had dinner plans Friday, and we were well behaved. Then I had to run down to South Park and meet some people at Hamilton's. And you CAN'T go to Hamilton's without trying at least one of the beers. Look it up, it's a law. And once you have your beer, it would just be rude to say hi to your friends, pick up what you came to get and leave, right? Exactly.

So I get home at about 1:00 AM. Five and a half hours to go. My phone rings. I answer. At 1:30 AM, I lose signal and the call ends. Five hours to go. The phone beeps. I have a text message. I answer. An exchange ensues. It is now 2:30 AM. Four hours to go. I have stuff on my mind and can't get to sleep so I lie there in bed and watch the ceiling fan until 3:00 AM. Three and a half hours to go. at 3:50 I sit bolt upright in bed, waking up shaking and sweating from one of the most vivid nightmares I've ever had. I don't get back to sleep. At 5:50 AM I shut off the alarm before it goes off and grab a shower.

To read about the nightmare itself, go to the Creative Blog.

Total sleep: 50 minutes.

Between my house in Kearny Mesa and Dieu's in PB, I knock down 40 ounces of soda and two pop tarts. At our breakfast stop, I drink yet more soda. I am now on something less than an even keel.

I drive like a demon to Mt. Baldy and we beat the other car by almost an hour. Finally, they arrive and we can all suit up, cash in our $5 ticket vouchers and hit the slopes.

On my first run, I manage to bury my nose in a slush pile and flip multiple cartwheels down about 50 yards of wide open groomer. I take a second and laugh it off, after making sure that all the parts move properly, and bomb down the rest of the run. My riding never really recovers. I'm jittery and gun-shy the rest of the day, and manage a couple more hard falls that I'm lucky didn't hurt much more than my pride.

We had agreed to meet at the cars at 3:00 to head down and find food on the way back home. By 2:00 my foot hurt so bad and my control was so shot I had to stop. I made my way back to the lodge where I grabbed a Gatorade, a soda and some cookies to get my energy levels back up.

We get back to the cars and head out, stopping for lunch/dinner in lovely Rancho Cucamonga before making our way back to I-15. At this point, everyone in the car is asleep except for me and Dieu. He's in the back seat, playing with my digital camera. I am trying to stay awake while driving by calculating just how long I've managed to be awake, assuming that the 50 minutes of sleep don't count.

This is when my phone beeps. I've got a text message. Now, I know just how stupid this sounds, but I answer the message. An exchange begins. I'm driving down the freeway with a bum foot, exhausted by 36 hours awake (interrupted by 50 minutes, of course) with a carload of sleeping friends who have entrusted me with their safety. And I'm texting. This is because I am a good friend. Hear me out.

I drive a Ford. It has the sync system, so the phone is connected to the car stereo via bluetooth. If I take a call, it goes onto speaker phone. This would wake up all my tired passengers and make them cranky. No, far better to let them sleep and risk their lives without their knowing, not to mention the ticket I'm up for by now. So I'm texting and driving, like a champion, I might add. Thank you for keeping me awake in 160 character chunks my friend on the other end of the phone.

I get home at about 7:30 and shower, planning to have a beer and fall blissfully asleep watching a DVD. Fantastic plan, right?

My phone rings.

I'm back in the car, driving off to watch movies somewhere else, drinking yet more soda to stay awake. As these things go, I manage to be up and in hang out mode (with a few interruptions for unconsciousness and station identification) until 5AM. Well, 4 AM, but daylight savings started so take your 4 AM and stick it. It was 5AM. At that point, I pass out.

So the upshot of all this: I am an idiot. Yes, I can still go for two and a half days on no sleep. Woohoo! It's like college all over again, but without the Jack Daniel's and Jack in the Box. And Mark, thank you for not taunting me into working out this morning. I think I would have died. Those aero bars would have made too tempting a spot for a nap.