12 April 2012

Testing Your Mettle (And I'm Not Talking About Slayer)

It is with the pressure of outside forces, that vice grip of circumstance that can really test your mettle. At the core is internal struggle. The outside world bares its fangs. You stare into the void for what seems like eons, when it reality it's only been two days. Some times the only option available is to grit your teeth and carry on. You find reserves of strength hidden deep within. You raise your banner high and charge into the fray.

It is in these kind of times when your subconscious self comes to the forefront. You might regress into bad habits. You might develop a devil-may-care attitude and pick up new ones. You can also revert back to handy survival instincts that have gotten through the storms so many times before. I have tapped into these resources.

After the car accident and in lieu of insurance claims being processed, my immediate defense mechanism was to drink a bunch of beer. I was at the mercy of said companies and in turn decided to build up a booze-soaked wall to defend against the hordes. I woke up the morning after hungover, with a relatively clear head on my shoulders. I had already come to terms with what was at stake and simply had to come to terms with it. Fine. I'm driving a new(er) car with a half-tank of gas. The city is still at my disposal.

I spent that day with Amber while Robin was at work. We perused aisles upon aisles of thrift stores, desperately searching for that perfectly creepy coffee mug for a friend (I found one). We tossed aside rusty kitchen utensils and eyeballed vintage electronics. Afterwards, we ate cheap at my local grocery store and headed into town for some book-shopping. We wiled away an hour or so at Powell's. I spent the entire time in the Blue Room, drooling over the small press publications as well as the Celine books I will eventually own.

Afterwards, we had a quiet dinner here at my apartment and spent part of the evening wrapped up in our own devices. Jared arrived around 9:30 and the plan was to drink more beer. It was the best, if not only, option that we had to combat the dreariness of life that can some times get heaped upon our shoulders like a canvas bag of dirty laundry. I told Robin I would pick her up from work because I was not comfortable with her walking home late at night while if I was sitting on my ass drinking beer.

Upon our return, Jared and I shared a couple beers. We talked with the girls and Robin passed out early. The night was quickly coming to a close and I hadn't even finished my second beer. My self-medication would have to wait for another night. Besides, I didn't feel like spending a second day hungover. It was almost midnight and, although I didn't want to, sleep was the only option. I locked the doors, hit the lights and resigned myself to it for the night.

I woke up this morning in a shit fucking mood. Clear-headed, without the hazy swirl of alcohol, things seemed different. I was (and still am) at the mercy of these outside forces. Accepting the fact is easier said than done. It's the waiting, the stagnation that is the most trying. Bivouac was my backbeat for the morning. The beautiful spring morning contrasted beautifully with the wall of sound that Jawbreaker was pumping through my computer's speakers. It was another wall that I had built up so perfectly and in such a little amount of time. I became untouchable for the time being. I spent an hour and a half talking to my mom on the phone. It was good to catch up with her. Coming to terms with the fact that your mother is more of an activist than you have ever been in your entire life is an entirely different paradigm.

I picked up Robin from work at 11am and we came back to our apartment to waste time until her doctor's appointment. By noon, I was overcome by weariness. I hit the wall. The outside world seemed a little darker, monochrome. It might have been the rain clouds moving in. It might have been my own storm front moving in. It was probably a shitty cocktail of both. I began dozing off, sleep clawing into my bones faster than I could fend it off. My snooze only lasted a couple of minutes and I was wide-eyed and awake in no time. I began daydreaming of sleep. "You know what sounds fucking awesome right now?," I asked Robin as we walked into her doctor's office, "a couple beers and a nap." She agreed.

I read cooking magazines while she was seeing her doctor. My stomach rumbled with every turn of the page. Turns out, she wound up with a torn muscle in her back. It's nothing serious, but it will take about four weeks to heal. Again, I go back to how much worse the accident could have actually been. After the appointment, our gameplan for beers and a nap were tossed out the window. Not only did we have to go to the infamous Fred Meyer to get a prescription filled, but we needed to rustle up something for dinner. We opted for four-layer dip with tortilla chips and I picked up a couple of 32oz. bottles of Pacifico.

I had figured on eating said dinner, drinking said beers and passing the fuck out. Walking out of Fred Meyer, the storm clouds had broke and gave way to bright, beaming sunshine. It clashed quite well with how I was feeling. The two of us smoked a cigarette on the curb by my rental car and we made our way home.

Now, at almost eleven in the evening, I have yet to resign myself to sleep. It's something that I have never been good at. "Sleeping it off" isn't in my vocabulary. I simply cannot grasp the concept of it. The O Pioneers!!!'s album Neon Creeps is partly to blame for it. On the song "9am Everyday", Eric Solomon spews with ragged recklessness the following lyrics:

"And I'm hoping I can sleeping it off. Forget about all of the depression and forget all of the debt. I know I'm gonna die from this. So get up. You can't sleep this off. So get up, get up. You can't escape these thoughts."

These words changed my life. Couple that with the hard-lined, sleep-deprived integrity of Henry Rollins' "Get In The Van" and you've got an idea of my ideals as a person. I've taken more away from those guys' words than I have a lot of albums in my collection. They came around when I needed it the most. They're both a huge inspiration for my zine.

My defense mechanism is sleep-deprivation for some fucked Freudian reason or another. I soak my self with booze or coffee and in return soak up words of those wiser than me. My tried and true defense mechanisms has never failed me. Coffee and Leatherface. Booze and Razorcake. Lack of sleep and classic literature. Tonight, with Robin sleeping next to me and Amber on the Mod Pod, it's all I've got to get me through. For that I am thankful.

1 comment:

  1. You know what?

    I love this post.

    All the bull shit aside, you've got everything you need. Anything else is just passing, and will eventually fall by the wayside. But the important stuff? That's here to stay.

    And when the shit hits the fan... We've got you covered, buddy :)


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