Every day I hear Billy Joel in my head.
You’re havin’ a hard time, and lately you don’t feel so good/You’re
gettin’ a bad reputation in the neighborhood.”
I run through the lyrics of the song, Second Wind, like a mantra.
It’s either supremely important or supremely insane. I’ve yet to
figure out which.
“It’s alright, it’s alright/Sometimes that’s what it takes”
More often than not lately, I sit in front of my trusty iBook and
feel quite un-trusty, myself. I stare at the blank window. It
stares back, unblinking. Empty space. Waiting for a Universe.
Big. But no bang.
“You’re only human/You’re allowed to make your share of mistakes.”
It’s something between my shoulders. A…something. In me, but not
of me. I can feel throughout tissue and bone. Wrapped around,
engulfing each individual cell. Squeezing. And yet…emanating?
Like it can’t decide what to do next. Implode or explode? …That
is the question.
“You better believe there will be times in your life/When you’ll be
feel like a stumbling fool.”
It’s a parasite, it is. Uninvited, unwanted. There nonetheless. No
picture of cooperative symbiosis here. No happy little yellow bird
merrily cleaning the big croc’s choppers sans concern. I wish it was
a little yellow bird. At least that would be cute. This thing is
black. No…it’s negative color. Beyond black. Black hole color.
Nothing cute about it. It sucks in light. It feeds off my color.
My light. It leaves me exhausted and, more often than not,
“So take it from me you’ll learn more from your accidents/Than
anything that you could ever learn in school.”
I wake up each morning praying it’s gone. Sometimes I think it is.
I lay in bed, still. I feel like myself. Like the morning of my
worst hangover ever. Open my eyes. No problem. All is well in the
world. Eventuality, however, is the winner and still champion. Give
it a minute, and…hmmm… “Why is my arm screwed around like that?
Why is my face jammed against the wall? Why am I sleeping in my
pants? Why am I missing one sock?” Apologies to Mr. Joel, it is at
this time the words of Peter Gabriel are most profound: “Here comes
“Don’t forget your second wind/Sooner or later you’ll get your second
Functionally, it blocks impulses from my brain to my fingers.
Experientially, it stops me dead in my tracks. Makes every day
exponentially more difficult than it should be. And when I try to
push through in spite of it, you better believe, baby, the empire
truly does strike back. Forget whatever shit Darth Vader pulled on
Han or Chewie. That’s got nothing on that which I have come to term
“fuzz and fog mode.” Oh, yeah? Think you’re tricky, eh? Well, how
about I block every coherent thought in your pathetic head? How’s
that work for you? I put one foot in front of the other for as long
as I can stand it. Sometimes, though, the mud is simply too deep.
My legs get tired. I thought so.
“It’s not always easy living in this world of pain/You’re gonna be
crashing into stone walls again and again.”
When I’m not directly impacted by it (read: when I’m performing one
of the few impressive feats of which I am currently capable, which
include guessing the ending on Law & Order: SVU reruns and clicking
through craigslist), I think about it. Worry about it. Obsess over
it. “What is it? How did it get there? Why is it there?” And the
most pressing question: “When will I be free of it?”
“It’s alright, it’s alright/Though you feel your heart break.”
Even worse, there are times, like when I’m running, when suddenly
it’s gone. Thoughts and ideas and insights and to dos come flooding
into my conscious mind. Okay…they’re tentative at first. Little
Munchkins, poking their heads gingerly out from behind oversized
daisies and gingerbread houses. But as soon as they sense the all
clear, they break out into song. They party like it’s 1999. It’s
overwhelming and euphoric all at once. And for those precious
minutes, I am once again on my game. I can feel the zone. I party
with them. Too bad I just can’t keep running. Again…my legs get
“You’re only human/You’re gonna have to deal with heartache.”