If I wanted that I would have stayed married. There have been other things since the spring, such as the summer, the fall and the winter. Anxiety. I lose track of time and dates, not because I’m feeble-minded but because one day seems to run into another. Life is all about events which get filed like index cards in a small metal box. Even when I’m profound, I date myself.
But as I said, I don’t date. I have events. Last spring I had an event. It was a panic attack. Demetri Martin says in his comedy act, “When someone asks you the question, are you ticklish, it doesn’t matter if you say yes or no. They’re going to touch you.” When the wiry red-head touched me last spring in the middle of the night, she didn’t know what to do when I screamed. When you don’t know why you do things, it makes you panic.
So I pray. God will keep me calm. It’s a lot to ask. Mostly, these days, people only ask me to “like” and “share” things. It’s a simple world, when you don’t leave the house. It is God’s way of answering my pleas for serenity, he tells me, “Don’t leave the house.”
This is how I lost my job. It wasn’t much. I parked cars at the wharf. I tried not to think of someone loving those cars, giving their cars names and such. My panics got so bad, it was all I could do to not to freak out and drive the cars into the water. It’s never been as bad as this.
It’s why I don’t drive anymore. That and the time I forgot my dog Chi-Chi on the roof. No, this was no Romney move as the dog was not strapped on. I needed to remember to get an inspection sticker so I went into the glove box, to check if I had my paperwork. I mean, I was distracted. Then I started the car.
Now I walk when I can, but when can I? It’s crazy when I stay inside. I use positive imaging. The sun shines brightly on the blazing sidewalk and the green buds have started on the trees. My neighbors start lifting their hands a full block away to say hello. Someone rides a bike with a bell that rings. Ting-ting. Smiles all around. Smiles. There’s a coffee shop on the way, where the workers, know my name but also my drink called “The Usual”. If everything was this simple it would all be fine.
But it’s not fine. I’m sweating through my shirts. I am still inside my house. I have visions of the girl from last spring inside my head. She’s downtown walking toward me. Her red hair glows in the sun light and her round sunglasses are as dark as a welder’s. She says, “Beep-beep. Beep-beep. Yeah.”
I say, “Baby, I no longer drive” but it doesn’t matter what I say to her at this point. More cars drive by and I can hear the music from their radios. “It’s a Beatles song,” I say to myself. I hope more cars drive by. I wait. Here one comes now.