Monday, February 21, 2011

Same Day, Different Metaphor

Sometimes I feel like that little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike; like I was skipping down the street one day and I saw this leakage going on, and since I know the entire freaking ocean was out there I stuck my finger in the hole. I would have asked for help right away but it's not like other people hadn't already passed by and ignored the running water; I mean nobody really wants a leak to interfere with their day so the probability was if I asked for help I'd only be turned down, and getting turned down could affect me in a bad way. I might be able to just shrug and blow it off, but I might just feel put upon, like I'm absolutely alone with this dike thing and then, I might actually beg for help. But if I got turned down then it'd be humiliating, not to mention the possibility that it might enrage me to know not only am I alone but people are contemptuous of my position... had I just left the damn dike alone I wouldn't have this problem and while everyone might have drowned had not someone plugged the hole, that's really not my affair now is it.

So there I am trying to keep the world's oceans from drowning me and everyone I love and I really just want to yank the finger out of the hole and walk away; let nature take its course, cuz why should I always have to be the finger guy saving the world, or at least my part of it?

Well cuz the hole is really inside me and I'm really keeping out every negative aspect of my life so I don't get swamped by a flow of breath stealing liquid I can't stem. Knowing that I am the only person that can do this, I shackle my feet to the floor as a constant threat to myself to be ever vigilant or be the first to die by the force of 90% of the earth's raw materials first pounding me into the pavement, then covering me, blocking out all light, and then forcing its way into my lungs so I have no chance to breathe, much less the will.

So its a bit all or nothing as you can't really let in half the ocean and then plug it up again; once the dike is breached the ocean kind of has a mind of its own and there's no stopping an ocean when its on a mission.

Sometimes it feels like a shark is nibbling on the tip of my finger from the other side of the dike. And its painful and I can just imagine how chronically painful its going to be and I think if I don't get my finger out of there I'm not going to have a finger at all but a bloody stump. So I pull the finger to look at it and it turns out it wasn't a shark at all but a piece of seaweed floating past. But now the ocean's pouring in and no matter how frantically I try I can't get my fucking finger back into the hole so I rip my shirt off and try to stuff that in and the hole just gets bigger.

For a few minutes I think to call for help from at least those most devoted to me. But of all the people I know, most can't swim, some just don't swim because its all wet and stuff, some get hives when they touch the water and some just hate the whole idea that water exists in the first place. If I ask my wife, she'll drown before I do, at least I can hold my breath, she can't even do that...she hasn't had as much practice as I.

It's just like that as I feel the hole open wide and gallons and gallons of the wreckage of my life blows through the wall I've built to keep myself and those around me high and dry, overwhelming my ability to stand on my own, rising to cover my shoulders adding weight to the weight I'm already carrying day to day, and eventually rising to cover my face, sucking the very wind from my lungs with concussive force.

Sometimes I can break the chains that hold me underwater and rise to the surface where God willing I can stay afloat long enough to witness natural change, and sometimes I drown for yet another lifetime until low tide draws the Atlantic back into its crater, and I am left to repair what always ends up not as strong as I'd designed it.

I sat with a new doc the other day, speaking at light speed so as to cover an accumulated 100 years between Linda and I, in the 30 minutes they gave me. And as I was blithering about let's skip me and move on to Lin's problems because I really don't want to run out of time before I explain my case and try to psychically determine whether the guy was actually listening to me or just eyeing my insurance card, I was thinking to myself "what's the use, this is pointless, I look like a freak to this guy I'm sure" and my eyes got all watery and I'm trying to talk as fast as I can and keep my tears in their ducts and my finger is being shoved out of the dike and the freaking ocean is pouring in and I'm thinking "Jesus I'll bet this guy thinks I'm certifiable" and he says "I don't know what's wrong with your feet but I'll bet it hurts."

I stopped the flow for a while, I had to work that night, I couldn't afford to be overwhelmed. But as soon as I got home I was too damn tired to keep the ocean off my back so I just yanked my finger out and let it come. And so it did.

It's interesting the only thing that stops me from drowning is the guilt I suffer for the weight I'd put on others, the obligations I have that I'd not fulfill, the people I'd hurt, few as they are and short lived as it may be. It's never a matter of my suddenly figuring out that I actually want to live, that I'm a champion class swimmer and I can ride out the flood as well as any Loch Ness monster. Its only seeing Linda's imaginary face when she discovers I'm blue in my imaginary scenario during my imaginary last look around.

The dike's pretty screwed up right now, the hole's as big as a house. But the tide's still out and I've got a bucket of putty and a few bricks. Hopefully I can get it shipshape before the next wave comes in.

1 comment:

  1. Gee. I hope you have time to stopper that hole good and strong, old friend.