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

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Difference A Day Makes

Yesterday I played hooky and almost paid for it with my life.

So yesterday I woke up late. After Friday and Saturday of roleplaying games, I was supposed to get up early Sunday AM, get to the mid-Jersey site by 8ish or 9ish, and join them in a walk-a-thon. But on Saturday a confluence of events happened; mostly Grim Jester did the pool thing again for the girl host of our Saturday get-togethers, which means he was in swim trunks before I got there, but when I did arrive, he was in her shower. They like to have me jump to conclusions, but this time I didn't take the bait. Either they are or aren't. So what if Grim is hot. On my laconic way driving up to Westchester, I had eaten three cupcakes piled high with buttercream icing. I had already lost my trim midsection gained a few weeks ago. And I was never going to get laid. So what if Grim is bumping his manlies with out host? So what? Then later on either all the buttercream, or the dicey dim sum we ordered from the Chinese restaurant, forced me to admit to my peers later in the night that I was entering a battle vs. explosive Hershey(TM) squirts. Then, that night (morning, really), when I finally got home, I had to park West of Broadway. Which meant I'd have to go on a safari the next morning to retrieve the car.

So when I woke up late for Sunday work, I had no inclination to limp into the day. Not when the day had promised to be so incredibly beautiful. It was Sunday, dammit! I needed my space!

So I put on my gym togs and packed a change of clothes for after the gym when my Friday night DnD pal (through which I could have pursued Irish Girl) texted me and invited me out to Central Park again for another afternoon of frolic and fun. Would Irish Girl be there? Maybe! But I decided not to ask him, lest I convince myself not to go.

So I copied Day One of a stunning muscle-building routine from the first (okay, second) muscle mag that I've bought in five years (such ridiculously attractive men in those effing things that it's crazy) and took it to the gym. I successfully fulfilled the routine and felt hella good afterwards. I had eaten the right breakfast and was planning the correct after-workout meal as I left the gym. My DnD buddy texted to say he and his fiancee were running late (she's not that big of a gamer, by the way--so yeah, I see her as Yoko) and as I'm texting him back I look up to see there's a Suburban backing up laterally along the sidewalk towards me. Apparently, someone blocked him in, or blocked off an available parking space by double-parking in the street, so Suburban Man decided to ride the sidewalk to get where he wanted to go. Well, he was going slow enough for me to step back against the wall, leaving some belly room for him to pass.

Which he does, until the passenger-side rear view mirror reaches me. At that point he decides to angle his drivers' side rear to the street, which physics being what they are, turned his passengers' side front towards me. The rearview mirror missed my head, but the truck and tire didn't miss my body. The vehicle, now angling, presses into me and pushed me up against the wall. And while I'm thinking "What?!" the passengers' side front tire mounts my left foot, ever so gently, having somehow missed my right foot. At that point the man stopped--not because he was crushing me, but because he was still looking over his shoulder to see what to do with this truck and how to get it back into the street (where it belongs, btw).

Before he accelerated again, completing my grisly death, I slammed his hood with my free hand (not the one holding my phone mid-texting) and finally getting his attention, I jerked my thumb into the direction he should drive to save my life rather than end it. Fortunately, he didn't panic, and shifted into forward, and rolled off me.

In retrospect, I was in shock. Because I finished my text message to my DnD buddy and walked up the block to get my protein shake from Starbucks, testing out the flattened foot & toe. (Ironic I have to talk about these bodyparts of mine now, isn't it?) There was no pain. I didn't want to look, but there was no pain. There was sensation--not a nerve-destroyed numbness. I had been aware of the pressure of the tire on my foot, and the fact that it had rolled on me enough to prevent me from jerking my foot loose, but there had been no pain. So after I got my drink and headed back up the block towards to Park to the rendevous.

And there was the Suburban and the driver, completing his parking job into the street from the sidewalk.

And suddenly I realized--that parking spot wasn't worth my life. This man needed to answer to that. So I stood there waiting for him to finish his parking and just watched him.

When he finally stopped, he rolls his window down, recognizing me, and begins to sputter apologies. They are, of course, not enough. The man could have killed me. Slowly. Painfully. Crushed the life out of me in a true gory "Final Destination" way. Blood pooling out of my mouth as the Suburban compacted my vertebrae into my lungs and heart against the brick wall. But God damn this cursed world, I wanted his apology. I stepped to him and asked him if he did that as a regular course of action--just run people over? His apologies devolved into self-debasing, ill-worded assurances that he was a good guy and he never did anything like that and how scared he was. (Didn't stop him from getting the parking spot he wanted, though, I should like to add.)

And then I let it go. I was fine. I told him so. (No, I'm not interested in trying to sue him for any money that I won't see until WAY AFTER I've already met my own financial goals anyway. This litigious society can kiss my ass.) But I insisted to him that he try to have a better day, and implicit in my tone was every bit of "and try not to run anyone else down today, you utter and complete asshole," because that's what I was feeling and I let it soak my voice. But there was no need to say it aloud. Because he was remorseful enough.

But I guarantee you. And this I coldly know, just as I know I am moderately intelligent and possess some writing skill--if that man had not apologized to me yesterday, I would have been in my first physical fight since 7th grade. Because you are not just going to run over me, you stupid son of a bitch. F*ck YOU.

Okay. Got that off my chest, like I did the Suburban. (Don't think for a second that I didn't entertain the possibility that I was like Bruce Willis in "Unbreakable". Why didn't that Suburban do more damage to me? I'm not even sore today. No foot pain or damaged big toe. Take THAT!)

Anyway, the outing was great with my DnD friend and his pals and his fiancee. Like with DnD'ers, I love hanging out with people who give good verb. Language is a joy to hear when its done right, and these folks had good food and lyric.

And Sheep's Meadow is a total meat market. And so, I share my pics with you in celebration of life. In addition, I'm back on my diet. I'm going to go topless with pride by next summer. (If you can, click on the pics and hopefully you'll see some of the detail that I saw. Hubba hubba. It was like a beach for models, only with no ocean.)


Eliel Mamousette said...


glad to hear you survived your ordeal. Would not want you to make it to the evening news that way.

Anyway, I guess since you were rattled you forgot the salient detail of your hang out: was she or wasn't she there?

Alan said...

She was not.

Eliel let's just give this up. It's not going to happen. I have relationships with pixels and words on a screen. I can't leave my "comfort" zone --which is not comfortable, but it is safe. I can't leave "safe". I need to stop talking about it so I can stop wasting you guys' energy on me.

Trixie said...

Wow, you really WERE lucky to come away unharmed! I would have bought a lottery ticket after that!

The Neighbor said...

Eliel, let's NEVER give this up. Can't - that's bullshit. It's WON'T. And I'm right there too, ALan. It's almost more than I can do to just go to a coffeeshop and sit and be present and approachable. When I do, I find myself feeling. and therefore looking, kind of surly and pissed off. All I need is that one point of connection, and I can talk for hours, with a like-minded individual. So that's what we need.

On one hand, yeah, we do have some kind of mutual personal need to validate ourselves by looking svelte and pretty, but the reality is that we - you and I - we are both good people, and that's enough. We just need to make friends with folks, and move from there. Lots of friends. Staggering amounts of friends.

We need to win by attrition. And we can, but we don't. It's not an ability thing - it's a will thing. Which is worse, feeling lonely or feeling exposed? Where's the tipping point?

Alan said...

I vote for "lonely" as the worse feeling. I've gotten fairly used to being exposed.

Next year the Heroes Con will be happening again in Charlotte and I'm going to go again, and I need you to come find me, Ned. I need to have a day with you, or an afternoon at least. I need that coffeeshop conversation with you. I need to give you that point of connection you so damn deserve and I need it hella bad myself. Would that be alright? My fellow geeks won't mind.

The Neighbor said...


I give you my word.

Alan said...

That works. :D