Saturday, March 12, 2011

Going Down?

If it wasn't ironic I wouldn't write it; it was hardly a watershed event. But if there ever was a moment to think that Loki indeed exists and we are only here at the pleasure of the gods, having been created solely for their entertainment, this would be one such moment.

It was drizzling and cold, and I would need to go from an appointment directly to work where I would spend the afternoon hopping in and out of a truck; so I'd worn my slicker, or Aussie cowboy coat for those hopelessly out of touch with manly man style. It's great gear for 'tween weather; not hot enough to make me sweat inside the truck yet plenty warm and solid enough to stop the frigid north wind.

I will admit, it only makes me look all that much bigger; and I suppose as it's Minnesota winter it might seem odd to some that I would be wearing oiled canvas cut in wild west gunslinger style. But I'm not a creature of vanity, I rarely peek in the mirror to see if my hair is combed much less fashionable, so I wouldn't be the guy to ask if I looked particularly scary at the time. I’m a clothing utilitarian; I wear what works for my health versus the elements.

My appointment was with a shrink, a nut doctor, a loony tuner, whom I was consulting among other reasons for insight as to what it is about me people think so unattractive, if not frightening. My first visit was tinged with hopelessness. I'd felt obliged to fix my many glitches to honor my wife more than make my life a thing of beauty. I'd not really considered it helping me, but perhaps I'd learn a trick or two about constructing lip zippers and hand clamps, so I could stop the incessant waving my arms and screaming bloody murder after each perceived inter-species confrontational foul. But on this the second round, I actually felt a draw to the building, as if there might be something inside just for me; a life lesson all wrapped in "you're the best" paper,  topped by a purdy blue bow and an address card signed

So while I was not oozing joy, I wasn't smelling of sulfur as if I were a direct conduit to the lair of Baal either.

I was limping, ok I give you that; I have a disease that causes my hobble, it’s not like I can turn it on and off. And with the limp comes an occasional grunt. I do try to keep that inaudible, but sometimes it slips out; when it feels as if someone's driven an iron rod through the ball of my foot I once in a while say "Urgh" or something to that effect. But beyond my personal struggle to walk there was no aura emanating from my Aussie cowboy clad body... I swear, I looked in the glass as I swung open the door, there was no red glow coming from my hands or eyes.

So I clomp to the elevator and press up, and three folks come into the office building behind me; two girls perhaps 18 and 25, and a guy maybe 30ish. The door opens, I step in; there's room for a dozen... they remain outside. Girl one chuckles, that nervous titter they do, like when they're caught by gramma playing with gramma's vibrator. The group kind of shuffles stage right, out of my periphery, as if their feet are tied together as participants in a three legged sack race.

I laughed. Ok, I laughed with malice. Ok, I laughed in a contemptuous fashion. I grant I couldn't have thought all I've written here in such a short time, but the gist of my reasoning was: they'd apparently impugned my character on the basis of my appearance alone, and let me know they were afraid enough of me to keep themselves off my elevator; just in case I might have a hockey mask and machete under my raincoat, if not a naked pelvis and a desire to show it off. I was befuddled and hurt and ridiculed and angered all at the same time, so I laughed, just a little, kinda quietly, but loud enough they could hear; in hopes I might make them feel like fools in return.

And then the door shut and I thought the circus over. But no. In their zeal to not waste any more precious time they thought to signal the next elevator, assuming they could still get quickly to their destination, yet not have to share a car with Grotesquemeda of Moorsby Watch. The elevator though, had outsmarted them. It knew I hadn't left yet, and it didn't know I'm scary cuz it's just a fucking elevator and elevator's don't have preconceived notions. So in the interest of saving energy, it just opened up my door again; and there they were with their jaws nipping their knees.

I have to imagine it was quite difficult to decide which emotion was more powerful and therefore the one to follow; their fear of my cutting them in half and feasting on their rent flesh, or being recognized as such cowardly assholes that they'd humiliate themselves by refusing to ride on an elevator with someone who likely just looks like an executioner, but is probably a toy rocking horse rosemaler. The embarrassment won out, but the fear never really left. They came into the elevator looking to me as if one torso with three heads and six legs, immediately moving to the right wall, never turning their backs (or its back, to retain the visual) and pushed into the fake wood paneling until it buckled under their (its) weight.

High school Barbie giggled again, while her elder counted the raindrops on her shoes, and both squeezed into the guy in the middle as if Steve McQueen movie blobs trying to absorb his life force. He in turn nodded to me; that manly nod that says "I know you could eat me mister Ogre sir but please don't and I'll be forever grateful". There were three floors and I’d already pushed button three. They didn’t look at the controls and they didn’t ask me to assist, obviously willing to go wherever I wanted to go, wondering only if they’d be alive and with limbs at the end of the ride.

It was over all too soon. The door sounded as if about to open and I eagerly said “go ahead”, knowing it could serve as my good Samaritan act of the day so I’d be one up on the sin tote board. They muttered thanks en masse’ with enough red in their collective faces to light a Tokyo Coca Cola billboard. I wasn’t sure if all that blood had risen in wait for its release, hoping to be offered freedom by my giant gas powered pruning shears, or if they were somewhat communally embarrassed by being such a trio of unmitigated prigs. Either way, little miss Muffet wasn’t four steps from my evil claws when she stutter laughed and mumbled about the weird guy they’d just had to endure, and as I left the confines of the death chamber I noted the six legged creature blasting around the next corner at a controlled trot.

I swear, I was in an ok mood that day; I didn’t glare, I wasn’t muttering to myself and his majesty’s dog and I didn’t have a clown nose, floppy shoes or my penis protruding from my coat. I just got on the elevator kids, just tryin to get a ride so I wouldn’t need to walk up three flights. I would have shared the box with a fleet of Algerian naval midgets for all I gave a crap, I had other things on my mind besides chain sawed flesh. But for the next hour it was all I could do to quit thinking about it. I almost wanted to grab those three, haul them into my witchdoctors office and say “ok creeps, tell him what you just told me, only with me you said it silently or just under your breath; This time say it out loud as if you actually had the power of your convictions… and let’s find out what my problem is once and for all.”

But I didn’t of course; that would have actually scared them and it’s more fun to have a reputation for something that doesn’t exist. Besides, it’s not really my problem; I’m just a target not a weapons designer.

When I was younger I'd ride my motorcycle up to any given stop sign or semaphore, and if there were a car in the lane next to me I'd hear the door locks slam down, over the noise of my unmuffled Honda 750. It was comical then, it almost made me proud. FTW, or fuck the world was my motto in the 70s; not because I thought the world had given me a choice in the matter (as I believed it had stuck its middle finger in my face long before I'd reciprocated), but because I assumed I could live without the assistance of any other human being, animal, vegetable or mineral so help me GOD! Now that I know I can't really, the slamming of door locks just makes me cringe, as it verifies my worst fears, adds to my self hate, and justifies my desire to shut down. That said, I didn't take my reaction to that extreme on this day. I just let it go after whining to the doc, hoping to write a good tale about it later. I will never be able to control people's reactions to me, their bigotry, their innuendo, their unreasonable angst. I can only control how much I care. Now if I can just find that agitation thermostat so I know not to crank it up, I'll be making some real progress.

Then again... maybe it is a lack of healthy vanity. Maybe I just need to comb my hair more often.