okay. i was going to just go to bed because i'm tired and it's going to be a comparatively early morning. church is at nine in the summer. i really like it better at ten, but i don't get to choose.
i don't necessarily need quiet to sleep, but my neighbors (mere children, they appear to me. ...hear that, mrs. crashco? these kids are twenty-somethings and they seem very, very young to me. we're middle-aged, babycakes. get used to it. and while we're at it, looked in a mirror lately? salt-and-pepper is an attractive look for you, but those are still grey hairs.)
my neighbors are having a party and there's at least one guest who's had enough beers and they're very loud. i don't mind steady party hum, music and such, but intermittent shrieking at irregular intervals gets on my nerves at about the same level as the presence of small children.
i am not fond of small children.
if you give me a choice between two happy toddlers and a whole roomful of sullen thirteen-year-olds, i know who i choose. no contest.
so i'm not in bed yet. soon. i'm thinking maybe of pressing the ipod into service. but i have a few minutes more and i'm writing this, which is a pleasant enough way to pass the time. gives me some time to absorb dinner, too. leftover chinese. it's what my mom brought over yesterday. and i was plenty hungry.
i went for a bike ride, which was good in itself, but actually pretty close to a small miracle if you're following along.
'member last week, when everything looked all good and everything? sometimes life throws you a curve ball. on thursday rumblestrip went with me up to the building where i work, just to check out my room and to walk around some. get the feeling of the place. i've been away a long time.
and things look pretty daunting and i cry some, but i still manage to get to my race and i manage to improve over my last time on that course by FOUR MINUTES. it's still four minutes slower than my best time on that course, but that was last year and i was fifty pounds lighter.
but everything felt like it was going to be all right.
and then on friday around noon the phone call came. i don't feel like telling you the whole story, but it cut me off at the ankles and all of a sudden all i can do is cry.
and at one point i call rumblestrip, which turns out to be a mistake, because she is unable to help, but still in a position where she can worry. she has a meeting she has to be in, and then she's going to be on her way to some place in maine.
but then i get a grip i think i'm going to be all right, and i tell her so. i talk to my mom, too. and i go to the post office to pick up the certified letters. 'dja ever notice that good news rarely comes in certified mail?
and they're worse than i'm expecting and i don't think i can hold up under the strain of it and all of a sudden i don't think i can go back to work. come to think of it, i don't think i can continue to draw breath; i wish to be excused. i am toast. i am finished.
there's a lot about this next interval that i simply don't remember. i know that some of the people i would call are too far away, either because they live too far away, or because a they have chosen THIS day to go away to maine or seacoast new hampshire or what-have-you, and finally i reach my mom and spend a lot of the next couple of hours trying to explain to her that i'm done and it's time for me to go.
just imagine for a moment what it must be like to be the mother who loves me so.
...okay, you don't have to think about it anymore, but it's not so easy if you're my mom. she doesn't have the luxury of not thinking about it.
and at one point one or the other of our phones drops the call and all my mom knows is that i'm out there somewhere, and it's not good. and i don't know who-all else she might have called, but a message comes in on my phone.
my mom has called rumblestrip.
'member? i told her i'd be all right. the one thing i know for certain is that i want her to be able to enjoy her weekend and not worry about me. and now she has grounds to really WORRY and she's out of range. for the whole weekend. blast.
i know i got home somehow. and i know i was on the phone with my mom when there was another dropped call. why would a call get dropped?, i think. because they're coming out here. i have to get away from here.
so i grab my bag and a few things and i get out. i call again from someplace but i won't tell where. i am stunningly out of my head, paranoid and out on the road. but somehow i get it into my head that what i would really like to do is go down to the church and sit there, preferably with the pastor, but i do not have her number, nor do i have a key to the church.
i try to call some of the people i think might be able to help, but either cannot get their numbers or they are not at home. i do finally get in touch with the (proper name)s, but as luck would have it, they're on their way to maine.
i'm on my way to hell. could be i got there. it's hard to tell, signage on that particular road being what it is.
but they're tenacious. they have a phone book in their car. they give me some numbers and apparently they make some calls as well. 'coz a couple of calls come in that i'm not expecting. and DJ calls in the middle of it, and he is not expecting to hear any of THIS. he is expecting to talk to the lighthearted flask, the one that goes out and finds geocaches.
at some point in the evening the pastor reaches me. we talk for a while, which helps some. and i have already decided due to an amazing little piece of warped reasooning that i am not going to try to explain that i'll wait until at least monday to check out.
it's really stupid reasoning, but at least it buys us all some time, eh?
and today i discover that i have run out of paid leave (not a surprise, but it sucks when it happens, just the same) and i have $401.09 on which to live for the remainder of the summer.
and i am not in the mood to think about how i will proceed if i am going to recover my life and return fully to the realm of the living. it is very hard to plan for difficult circumstances if you're already of the opinion that none of it matters because you'll be dead anyway.
but eventually i pick up the thread and decide i'll give it a try. so i'm kind of back to where i was last monday, only now i think things are actually going to be easier.
try to follow this: up until things hit crisis proportion yesterday around four, i'd probably have just continued on, barely keeping my head above water. but now we have a plan, and possibly some solutions.
so i go for a bike ride.
i head out of richmond up to the gore road, only i don't go through huntington. i decide that i will get there by way of hinesburg and bristol. bristol, for goodness' sake. go ahead and have a look at the map.
i didn't bother to really look at the map when i left; if i had, i might have noticed that it's forty-three miles. i knew about all the climbing, though. i just figured to take my time and go easy.
there's only so easy you can ride going up route 17, though. any way you slice it you're still going up over the mountain.
i'm out of water by the time i get to the jerusalem corners store. lately i have learned that in a lot of places if you stop to buy a gatorade or whatever, they'll fill your water bottle from the tap, saving you a dollar and a half.
and i have a lovely conversation with a guy on a motorcycle who's on his way home to concord, nh. rubber side down, i tell him. i drink my gatorade, toss the bottle, and resume climbing.
i am tired and pleasantly surprised to find that the descent actually starts way before you hit the gore road, so i was going pretty fast when i started to come down it, but then i had this weird sense of jamais vu and thought i'd taken some other road; nothing looked familiar until i got all the way down to van dine road, and even then things looked foreign, but the street sign and the cemetery were proof positive that i was where i was.
i kind of chalked it up to being kind of tired. kind of a hard day.
as i was going by i noticed (and not for the first time) that texas hill road is only marked if you're coming up from richmond; maybe they assume that if you're coming from huntington proper you know where it is.
and i'd forgotten, but you actually have to climb again a little on the way out to richmond, but then when that last descent comes you FLY. i don't know how fast exactly i was going, but i know what it feels like to be in excess of fifty miles an hour on a bike, and it was a lot like that.
no brakes. not 'till you get down into richmond. and i almost timed it right to get the green light at the bridge. almost. the second i footed down, the light turned. and then i couldn't quite clip in with my right foot, but when that light turns you really have to book if you're on a bike.
so i got home. had dinner. leftover chinese. a fairly large pile of it. and now the neighbors are a little quieter, and i have church in the morning. they'll be looking for me there.
sometimes when things are at their worst, somebody hands you your helmet and tells you to get back out on the course. sometimes it takes a lot of people and some careful stepping, but you get there anyway.