Sunday, February 5, 2006

Bicycle Races Are Coming Your Way...

I went to bed in a very bad mood. I had been writing a depresso/tragique blog post; I had allowed myself to get very upset at very familiar alcoholic behavior, and then had allowed myself to get upset at my own response to the behavior, and was on the verge of getting upset by my response to the response when a still-developing reflex kicked in and I just let myself fall, fall--into the black night, into Laura's arms, into peace, begging my Angel "Save me, save me."

Laura has her own transhuman set of priorities. I could tell She found the circumstances surrounding my anguish quaint and amusing, though She accepted the anguish as something separate to be addressed quickly, efficiently, with a loving eye towards frames of reference longer than the next 5 seconds. I felt like the boy who's fallen off his bike, allowing himself to be distracted into believing, as his mom cleanses his scraped knee, that his recent collision with the pavement just might not stand forever as the most catastrophic event of his entire life.

So--wrapped in her wings (her chubby arms) (my imagination of an ideal love) (a neural feedback loop I've created over years of meditation) I fell asleep, rather than lie there itself a minor miracle. Early this morning I had a dream which I can only call an "overcommitment dream," much as one has school dreams (you're 40, but you remember that calculus class you haven't attended all term) or wish-fulfillment dreams (you're marrying that unattainable perfect One on the field in Candlestick Park while simultaneously pitching a no-hitter)...

in this dream, it was a Sunday afternoon and I knew that sometime in the next few hours I was to participate in a relay bicycle race. Our opponents were tough and I was slotted into a crucial part of the race: Everyone Was Counting On Me, the codependent's dream/nightmare. There were the usual dream-dystopia details: I didn't have the right kind of bicycle shorts, I wasn't sure of the route (other than it was 50 miles long)...and I wasn't sure when the race started.

This important bit of information, I was pretty sure, could wait until I'd taken a walk to limber up. I was very worried about leg cramps and knew I hadn't been stretching like I needed to. As I went out to walk, I ran into an Al-Anon friend, who asked about the race, and for some reason this prompted me to run back inside my house and find the starting time. Which turned out to be two hours ago.

Now I was a failure. Worthless. I'd Let Everyone Down. I hated myself. If there was something stronger and more negative than hate, I would have thatted myself. But as I sat around dejected in the kitchen with my Al-Anon friend, she reminded me "You know that class you took with me? That you failed? You just took it in stride. You didn't come to me whining about how you neeeeeded to pass." (In real life, this person doesn't teach any classes, but used to work as an RN; does this mean I'm "failing" (outgrowing) being a compulsive caretaker?)

And I thought, "Shit, yeah--I'm too old to be in a goddam bicycle race. What was I thinking? And what's so horrible about screwing up once in a while?" In fact, being a failure was suddenly a huge relief, not just in the sense of missing out on a 50-mile road race, but in the new way I was seeing my life: as my life. Through which I'd walk or ride wearing no number and fearing no Or Else. That dream gave me such a sense of relief I happily got right out bed afterwards, to face the day--though it was an unthinkable hour.

And now I'm sitting here listening to Louis Armstrong's cubist solo in "Potato Head Blues" from about 1926, the solo that many think created jazz as we know it...I'm feeling brand new; my knees are fine, I'm drinking some Oaxaca and eating dates and pecans and wondering if it'll snow tomorrow and I'll be forced to miss work and sit around reading H. P. Lovecraft. And let down some co-workers...and fall behind...well, worse things happen at sea.

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