This is a commentary about the slow lane, about the slowing of time since I suffered a severe brain injury while skateboarding with my dog. This is a blog about recovery; about our '82 VW Westfalia. It's about writing, surfing, camping, married life, bleeding ulcers that make you feel old at 32; about family, friends, and my dog Artie; it's about cruising in fourth gear, getting passed by every car and learning to appreciate every second of it.
"You should go out, have fun. I'll be fine alone," I said. Truth is, I didn't want her to go. I wanted her by my side, sitting on the chair next to the couch. I wanted to see her sip on a glass of wine as we watched a movie. She is one of the few solid things in my life, always has been, but is more so now than ever. I didn't want her to stay because I felt like talking. I especially didn't care for her having to go through a lengthy discussion on my state of being, I just wanted her there. It had been a trying day, a depressing day, when thoughts, morbid thoughts, circulated my mind; thoughts about my own existence, fleeting wishes about not making it out of the coma, not having to tiptoe through an insecure and unsure life.
I hated the thought of dragging her through another dark conversation, one she would spend repeating how lucky, how strong, how amazing I am. I knew she needed a release and I know I don't have a chance at the same. And so, she left, dressed in tight black jeans, her amber-colored, thick hair pouring out of a knit wool cap. I could barely look at her, I can barely describe how pretty she looked, there are more tears than ever, more love than I thought imaginable. I felt ashamed for sending her off alone, I feel remorseful for shoving her into this.
In seconds, months in my time, she was gone and I held on to the remote control in one hand, a cup of hot tea in another. It's my version of a party, unfortunately, it's my new release. I scrolled through the movie channels. They were filled with Shia Lebeouf movies and cheap, softter than soft-core porn. I settled on Showtime's, Californication. Aimee and I had watched the first season, or should I say we laughed at the first season. It was horrible, another story about a struggling, over-indulgent, misogynistic writer, a misunderstood genius who never says anything clever or enlightening, it's like a sequel to Juno but geared more for aspiring non-original novelists like myself, people who have had their novels rejected by dozens of publishers. A show that is so vapidly cliche that I spent the entire night watching the complete third season.
As I watched, I was reminded of one night in Atlanta, more than a year ago. I was at a bar, my friends were chatting off in the distance. I sat sipping on a beer, smoking a cigarette. Some drunk, bearded dude in his early thirties sat down next to me. I said hello. He responded by asking what I did for a living. I told him I write, I'm a journalist, and I am in the process of trying to find a publisher for a novel I completed a few years back. He responded, speech so slurred I felt trickles of spit on my left forearm, that he too is a writer. He told me he was a writer for Californication. I then told him how poorly written that show was. He stumbled off shortly after.
That was who I was before and watching the new episodes of Californication brought me back and I was once again a critic; for a guy who shortly after the brain injury sat down for hours and was entertained by Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe, it's another example of my recovery, quite possible an unfortunate example, but an example nonetheless.