When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Psychotic Break, And Other Tales

Many, many things happened over my vacation that made it a real report worthy event, and I am loathe to type it all out in prose form. Almost as though the magic would leech out of my mind if I were to type it all out.

But speaking of "out of my mind" I still will share it. Because I appreciate that there are eyes reading these words of mine at this very moment. Especially those of the Irish--(Scott, Steve, I'm sure you understand).

1. I rode on four planes and none of them crashed, even though as far as I'm concerned any one of them could have at any conceivable moment. Because I'm just saying. Six thousand pounds of steel jetting through the air thanks to the two explosive blenders nailed onto the shreddable, actually-shaking-when-there's-turbulence wings. I'm JUST saying.

2. The Star Wars Convention filled with my generation and down. Costumed, outfitted, brave community standing up in their element, ashamed of nothing and no one. I will have pictures and comment more when I post them. There were whole families of Jedi, which second to My Hero's (which is one-of-a-kind) is my favorite costume in the world. And so it makes sense that my favorite Convention event was the Jedi Academy where a curly-headed balding man and his lovely, red-headed assistant tutored kids from maybe 3 years old to probably 11 or 12, and most notably a lad in a wheelchair who appeared to have MS, in seven moves with their plastic lightsabres, and then they faced Darth Vader one by one. The Jedi Master had his hand on each of their shoulders and coached them through the moves, effectively fighting Darth like a true Jedi. Those who know me know what captured my heart and brought the tears to my eyes here; the guidance of a strong father-figure helping them each fight the battle against darkness. (That the Jedi Master had a slight Scottish brogue and enunciated like a Shakespearian didn't hurt either.)

3. Bonding more with My Friend The Doctor, and learning how to dislike him at times without hating him or wanting to flee forever away from him. Because despite all his qualities, he's got a pretty sour attitude about life. This is one of the reasons he doesn't appreciate my hero-worship. He seems to hate people. He has a bad temper and little to no patience. And here he is with a doctorate in psychology and is about to become a licensed psychologist. Yes, the stories you've heard about us are true. We're as crazy, if not moreso, than our clients. More's the miracle when we manage to actually do someone some good, which he and I have also done. So go figure.

Hanging out with My Hero. He let me into his life. I entered his beautiful home, I played with his dogs, and I rode in his economically friendly car. We walked and we talked and we walked and talked some more. Then we rejoined his wife and her family and I lived a new reality. One that didn't involve costumes. One where the superpowers consisted of Interesting Conversation, Appropriately Engaging Strangers, and Fitting In. I then used these powers again as he took me into the inner circle of his friends. The people in his life that did not live thousands of miles away and type their love to him through the internet. The people who "knew him when" and made fun of him as only real friends can. He brought me into his circle. He made me special because he trusted me with this secret life. In other words Jimmy Olsen got to hang out in the Fortress of Solitude while Clark hung up his cape, peeled off his boots, and had a nice cuppa joe.

California became solid in my mind. I will from henceforth understand most, if not all, of the vehicles in which California is the setting. I know what its' sky is now. I know what its' beaches are. Its' flat-topped, pastel-colored commercial buildings. Its' towering palm trees. The smog that makes every morning a day threatened with drizzle until it burns off near to noon. Its' internally lit street signs. Its' poverty. Its' immigrant population. Its' economic disparity. Its' breezy golden air. I understand it now and I like it.

6. I had a brush with real schizophrenia. I woke up one night with my palms afire. There were no real flames, and I didn't actually see any, but they burned. Like there were a billion bugs crawling over them, they burned. I rubbed my hands together so hard I thought they would combust. That scratched the itch viscerally, causing my heart to pound and my breath to ooze up from my lungs like the wax in a lava lamp. And then the itching would come back again, worst. I woke up MFTD with this and had to turn on the light. I enlisted his help by asking him to get on the computer and find out why it might be happening, all the while realizing that I already thought I knew why. It was all over. I had finally lost my mind. There was very apparently nothing on my hands, but they would not stop itching. I gripped handtowels and wrung them, pacing back and forth like Lady MacBeth cursing at her "damned spot." The coarse terrycloth scoured my flesh until the skin peeled. Meanwhile, I'm verbally diarrhetic with freeform prose, tracing my psychotic break back to my mother who was mentally ill. MFTD is trying to field my questions and reassure me that I'm not going crazy, but the more I think about it, the more my palms itch. Finally he calmed me enough to read his internet findings. I'm having an allergic reaction to something. Was it the shellfish I ate earlier that day at Rendondo Beach? Or was it the sand I scooped in my palms as I knelt under a hazy Pacific Coast sky? Or maybe my sheets were infested with the infamous bedbugs we've all heard about. Whatever it was, listening to the reassurances of MFTD calmed me down long enough for him to take me to the Rite Aid on Wilshire Blvd. at 2:00am for Benadryl. By the time we returned to the hotel, the pill was swallowed and the itching stopped. I put myself back to the same possibly lice-ridden bed, exhausted and embarassed. In the morning, I woke up bespotted in a rash. Whichever the cause, I was relieved to see it was indeed physical and not mental. As much. Benadryl is now my new best friend. The itching is gone and the rash is faded to just a stipling up my forearms. And I don't cough as much as I used to, as an added bonus. Well, in fact, I don't cough at all anymore--as long as I'm on the Benadryl.

But now I know what it feels like to have a psychotic break. And I'm glad I'm in the business of helping the others who suffer from it. If for no other reason, I want to stay alive for them, if not myself.

7. I reconnected with my friend who moved out to the coast last year. By accident. He was lost at the convention and walked right by me as I sat on a chair feeling vaguely lonely. At that point MFTD was on a distant line in a galaxy far, far away getting autographs, and My Hero hadn't been available yet to meet me. I had been wondering if he ever really would (and I should've trusted him, but because sometimes disappointments happen, especially in This Redeemable Life of mine, I was gearing myself for it) and so I called Grim Reaper while sitting and watching people, but he wasn't home so I had to leave a message, and just as I closed my phone, this friend walks by me. I cried out his name and scooped him up in a huge embrace. (He is smaller than me). Coincidence? I think not. He at first could not believe it was me. Then he was mad it was me. Because I hadn't told him I'd be there. And I hadn't communicated with him much since his move. And out of the group of us (Grim Jester and my other D&D buddies) he and I hung out before when he lived in New York City. But when he left to pursue and achieve his dreams, I guess my jealousy made me leave him to it. He and Grim Jester kept conversation, but he was out of my sight, and so, out of my mind. We've made up now. I met his California friends and then we had dinner and pie the next night on a very Greenwich Village-type street in Northern LA.

8. On the plane ride home, I made Ali Larter smile as she boarded with us. YUP. Ali Larter, who played Nikki/Jessica on Heroes, the best show on television, was a passenger on our plane. And not in first class either. And that made two stars from the TV show that I've made smile. Both blonde. Both pretty. And before our plane took off, I called My Hero to let him know that I had gotten home safe the night before and that Ali Larter, a "Hero," was on my plane--and that I appreciated him more than I could actually, literally (and so didn't) say for the time he had spent with me. But he was the grateful one, he said, that I drove out to meet him since he had so much to do and couldn't really afford to spend travel time to hang out with me like I wanted. And I was just senseless with misunderstanding. He was grateful that I went to see him? HE was grateful?? And then he called me again today to make sure I was back in New Jersey safely. And I finally felt the wall come down. See #4 above.

So that's all right then.

9. My manuscript was waiting for me, returned unread, from the publisher. Seems they changed the policy I found on the internet. Either that or the nice secretary who I though had my back gave it to the wrong imprint. I thought I was submitting it to Patrick Nielsen-Hayden at TOR books, but the rejection form letter came from St. Martin's Press. So either that or Patrick found it so beneath contempt that he just slapped a generic "we don't read unagented materials" letter in my SASE. Even though his wife was nice enough to stop by my blog back in the day. So I guess I'd better start sending the manuscript to agents now instead of publishers. At least I have more "published work" under my belt now as I approach these landsharks.

So anyway I'm back. Let's talk!


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had an amazing vacation, bumps and scratches and all. Thank you for sharing (And making me jealous at the same time). If you still think your life is a mess after having all that great stuff happen to you, then I will need to drive to NYC myself to set your mind back on the wonderful things that are around you.

Because life isn't just redeemable, it's truly blessed in your case.

You know the acronym, so that's all right then.


Alan said...

I did war with myself about including the jealous-making parts of the narrative, but you did give me the order to report. Thing is, you know the guy. If you're ever out there, you'd best believe he'd scoop you up too. Remember, I'm not the first--Kommie was. It's just strange that Kommie vanished. If **I** lived in RC ... well, you can imagine.

No, yeah, life is still a bit messy, but I fully recognize the good times I just had and the installation of blessings. I still feel great, in fact, and I don't want this high to end.

Post Script; I have no pictures of my time with My Hero. I had the camera, but I wanted a different experience than that (and the whole 'his privacy' thing was on my mind) so I left it in the rental car and just relaxed. I do, however, have pics of the trip out to RC so I'll post those and you'll see the environs were the HQ is situated.

Anonymous said...

Peace, Alan.


Alan said...


I think it worked. I do in fact feel peaceful. This is the best Sunday I've had while living in Jersey that I've had in months.