Tuesday, December 14, 2010
(part 222) RUNNING ON EMPTY
In 1982-83 I took to the streets and got a job selling tools and machinery on the telephone at a place called Pacific Freight, in the San Fernando Valley. I rented a bedroom in a guy's house in Culver City, who was a member of NA.
Each day I drug myself through my life, despising it. There was nothing to shoot for, no dreams, just make a few dollars, keep going, and stay sober.
I dropped into AA and NA meetings all over, mostly where I was unknown. I would stand in the back drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and then leave.
I drove a lot, picking up hookers on the street. Relationships were out. Couldn't make any more commitments to human beings, they always expected too much, and I was tired of failing.
It was easier to admit I was incapable of living up to the standards set by others than try to do so and fail again. People looked down on me, but I knew they didn't have a clue as to what I was about.
"Why bother?" I thought to myself, "They'll just tell me to get off the pity pot, or verbalize some other quaint phrase from the program. No one's interested in the facts, so why bother tellin' em?"
Through thick and thin I maintained my sobriety, never wavering in the endless storms that kept on coming. It was like I finally realized the way it was gonna be. Exactly the way I didn't want it. I was just going to stay sober anyway...
I woke up one morning in the house where I had a room, and stumbled half asleep into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. "Hey Gary," I said to the guy who owned the house, "could you could ask you're friend next door to hold it down at three o-clock in the morning, he was......."
"Tell em yourself, Jameson, I'm not your fucking mother," he snapped.
"Aw shit, Gary, all I said was......"
"Don't fuck with me Jameson," he yelled, turning toward me with the top half of a blender in his hand. He'd been making his morning protein drink in it.
It was a heavy-duty restaurant version and was full of creamy liquid. He raised it up to shoulder level and swung it like a baseball bat at my face.
I remember the impact of it connecting with my eye as I stood in the kitchen still half asleep, dressed in a t-shirt and towel. It was like getting sucker punched with a hammer.
The metal bottom of the blender cut into my flesh and made contact with the bone around my eye socket. The blow nearly knocked me unconscious as I fell backwards. I crashed into the wall and fought to maintain my balance, not knowing what was coming next.
I looked at Gary's face, which was contorted in a way I'd never seen before. He looked like a madman standing before me with the now empty blender in his hand.
I felt the sticky liquid running down my face and looked down at my chest and waist. It looked like strawberry shortcake, blood and protein drink mixed together in a slimy mess.
I slid down the wall to the floor, realizing I was hurt bad and bleeding like a stuck pig from a gash around my eye. My head felt like I had been hit with a two by four.
I stared up at Gary's face. He seemed calmer, and showed signs of concern at the river of blood now pouring from the wound he had inflicted.
He set the blender on the counter and said, "Aw shit, man!"
"Damn Gary," I managed, "what the fuck is wrong with you?"
He didn't answer. He got a dish towel and handed it to me to sop up the blood. "Guess you gotta go to the hospital, man," he said, "looks pretty bad, I'll take you."
"Fuck you," I moaned, "I ain't going anywhere with you, man."
"Well then we gotta call an ambulance," he said, "and that'll just cost a lot of money."
I sat on the floor trying to gather my wits, knowing I was hurt bad and in need of a doctor. Calling an ambulance was bullshit I thought, so after a few minutes I said, "OK, help me the fuck up and we'll go."
He reached down and grabbed my outstretched hand and pulled me to my feet. My head was throbbing so bad I felt like I was going to pass out but managed to stay erect.
Stumbling into my bedroom I struggled to get into my levi's and boots, then yelled to Gary, "OK man, let's go do it."
I remember the feeling of riding in the car to the hospital with the guy who had literally just bashed my head in with a blunt instrument. "God," I thought, "my life just fuckin' sucks."
The doctor wanted to know how I got the wound, but I didn't tell him that the guy I was with hit me with a blender or he would have called the cops.
It would have been a felony assault charge with a deadly weapon, against Gary, and I wasn't into that kind of revenge, I had other ideas about how to handle it.
I had a brain concussion and a whole lotta stitches when I left the emergency room. I rode in silence with Gary on the way back to the house in Culver City. I knew I had to move at that point, so it just became another problem for me in a life filled with nothing but problems.