Wednesday, May 07, 2014

True Story

A small plane carrying a banner for an insurance company starts having air trouble.  The pilot maneuvers as best as he can until he can't.

Maybe he says, "We're going down."  Maybe all you can hear is a grunt and the air moving out between his teeth.

He looks down and sees houses, trees, curving suburban lanes.  He aims toward a street that has at least some green space on one side.  The mechanical fails, or maybe it's his aim.

He glides over a back yard and Thwap! crashes into the second floor of a house.  Drywall and plywood and insulation crash down on him.  The plane tilts, ready to plummet down to the yard below.  He smells fuel, feels heat.

He exits the plane, realizes he's in someone's home.  He calls out, maybe saying "Is anyone here?   Hello?"  No one answers.

The fire grows more intense.  He bangs down the steps, coughing out the door.  He looks over his shoulder and stops.

What the fuck?  This house looks familiar.

He knows where the hose is, so he grabs it.  He can hear the sirens in the distance, growing louder on approach.  He tries fanning at the flames with the hose.  The flames win.

When the firefighters arrive, he collapses. He tells the paramedics, "I used to live in that house."  They check his pupils, examine his scalp for contusions.  Rather than believe him, they suspect head injury.

"Of all the houses I could crash into," he says, "I crash into one I used to live in."

And yes, this is a true story.

A Sad Old Fat Man

This is how old and out of shape I am.

On Monday, I went to the movies.  I tried to watch Spiderman 2, but I couldn't really follow what was going on because my back was on fire.  I actually left the auditorium at the mid-point and stretched out in the hall.  It didn't help.

Later that night, I went to the Mastodon show.  My approach was bogus.  I wanted to skip most of the opening bands, but still get a comfortable spot on the mezzanine: a stool, a ledge, an unimpeded view.  But by the time we got there, it was standing room only. 

For most of Gojira's set, I was trying to inch the guy in front of me closer.  He had all kinds of space in front of him, but he would.  Not.  Move.  During the break, he went to go throw away his beer cup and I claimed it all.  I parked my nephew in front of me so he could see, tall guys in back and all that.

The show started and it went on.  The pain in my back did not subside.  It moved down, rings of fire radiating down my back, across my buttchecks, around my groin.  It shot down my legs and raced around my calves.

A few thoughts occurred to me:

Wow, Troy (bass) is taller than I thought.

Wow, Brann is killing it on the drums.

Where's Bill?  Oh, there he is, stage right.  I can see the top of his head....

Wow, this is really going to hurt when I move from this spot.

And it did!  I hate to admit this, but right after Naked Burn, one of my favorite Mastodon songs, we split.  I took a few steps toward the stairs and was wracked with unbelievable pain, not the taking a few steps going "Ow, ow, ow," kind of pain but the kind that stops you in your tracks and makes you think, "Please don't let me wake up on the floor with all these people staring at me."

I made it down the stairs, out the building, and around the block before I had to stop and find a seat.

That was two days ago. 

This morning I took my truck into the shop before work and rode my bike the extra mile to the office.  During the year I had no drivers license, I did that almost every day.  It was never easy.

But it was never as difficult as this morning's ride.  I reached the top of the hill barely finding strength for one more pump.  I coasted in, parked my bike, and immediately keeled over, thinking I was going to puke.  Head to toe drenched in sweat, muscles shaking, I leaned over the edge of the parking garage and just breathed.  I was breathing so hard that a bush a couple feet away started swaying in time with my lungs.

I took a few minutes, composed myself, and then went into work.

Both of these experiences are payback for a winter spent sitting on my ass.  Summer is coming.  And it's going to be grueling.