Friday, February 17, 2012

Eli Manning vs. Love

He who has never experienced hurt, cannot experience true love.
- Tristan J. Loo

6:53PM PST: Hail Mary fails. The New England Patriots lose the Super Bowl.
7:13PM PST: I am lying on a bench in Los Angeles, staring blankly up at the sky. Under my shirt, smudged red & blue marker reads the names and numbers of my fallen heroes.

3:34PM PST: My ManWagon wills itself up the final, steep piece of mud. I arrive at my home for the next month. 

1:24PM PST: "Oh, hey, I didn't grab the water pump and it can't sit out in this weather. Make sure the valves are shut, then saw the pvc in the mid-section on the intake and the output. Make sure there's enough room to reattach, then bring it up to the barn."
I nod and hear, "Uh-huh," and, "Okay," come out of my mouth, but I'm too high to know if I actually understand what is being said. Farewell Joints will do that. We all hug, say our goodbyes and their truck pushes its way through the thick snow, heading for Mexico. 
It is suddenly very quiet. Sixteen hours after it started, the snow continues to accumulate. I turn to my car, which is half-buried in white. Anxiety builds in my belly. I am stranded.
3:14PM PST: Freezing water spurts out of the pvc's fresh wound. I cut it free and carry the water pump up the mountain in knee-deep snow. 

2.14.2012 (Happy Valentine's Day)
8:44PM PST: A storm is pounding the side of the mountain. With my headlamp on, visibility is about 8 feet. Without it, it's about five inches. As I refill the generator, the gas can empties and I toss it next to the other empty cans. I'm out of gas. There's no electricity without gas.

11:26AM PST: In the emergency 4 wheel drive vehicle, I take a wrong turn. With everything covered in snow, it's hard to decipher the road from small riverbeds. If the truck slides into a ditch, it could be days before anyone else passes and I'm miles from the cabin. I carefully turn around and backtrack. The trucks blinks a "Low Gas" message at me.

Up in the top left is my new home.
February 3rd, 2008 marks the hardest sports loss of my life*. I still prefer not to talk about it, as there were some mystifying cosmic forces involved that I still don't quite understand and still need to explore. Suffice it to say that when the loss occurred, I died a little inside. The morning after, unshowered and hollow, I slumped into my car and pointed it in several directions at once.
With most details now lost in the ether, I eventually emerged, joints popping and creaking, from a blurry & faded two days... or three? More?

I sat in the snow on the side of a hill overlooking the I-5, just above a historical tourist site I'd never noticed before, unsure where the hell I was going next. As I began to apply another dose of pain-numbing matter to my brain, a bush rustled. Ten yards in front of me a small family of deer climbed out of the brush. We all froze as we realized that one of us didn't belong. I don't know how long I sat there or how long they stood looking at me, but as Wil Wheaton can attest, it was somehow deeply meaningful. I stood up, tightened my skirt and took the first hearty pull of fresh air into my lungs in days. I decided to re-enter the city of Los Angeles and immediately throw myself into a project. I creatively perspired my way through the pain over the next month.

February 5th, 2012 marks the repeat of this sports loss. This time I knew something serious had to happen. Perhaps even epic. Over the past four years, only the hazy story of the deer and one other event has helped me cope with the 2008 tragedy. Knowing this, I prepared my options.

A week earlier, a half-human/half-robot friend of mine and I went to learn Man lessons from Liam Neeson. He taught us that in order to contend with the daunting task of feeling feelings, one has to be dropped into the center of the most wild wilderness and man one's way through. That became my plan. In order to gain perspective on- and hopefully conquer- my heart's pain, I would battle nature with squinted eyes and chest hair peering through freezing gales.

Recently, after another life fracturing event, I contemplated shutting down a section of my soul. Putting myself in a position to Love had left me in a position to Hurt. Perhaps if I stopped Loving, I could stop Hurting? But the real question is, can you still be a Champion if you no longer feel feelings? I don't think so. I think a real Champion feels all the feelings. So I am hunting for experiences, stories and perspective to transform my pain into something else. Something beautiful and hairy. How could it not work? It's like a fucking Rocky IV training montage up here. So far I've carried gas cans, chopped wood, sawed a water pump free and the other day I carried a giant barrel up a hill.

So, here I am, a broken man on top of a mountain, isolated from the world with small hiccups of internet and TV to keep me sane. In one month- assuming I survive this adventure- I plan on returning to society with glorious life-force oozing out of my scraggly beard, ready to Love the shit out of something. Anything... Everything.

I will be a force of Love once again. Eli Manning hasn't broken me yet, though he's trying his damnedest.

For now, it's time to gas up the chainsaw.

- Captain Andy

Lips that taste of tears, they say are the best for kissing.
- Dorothy Parker

Cabenzi and I returning from a hike.

*I know it's difficult for some people to understand the level of investment some of us employ when it comes to sports. While this is a larger topic that will have to be addressed at a different time, for now I would simply like to say: 
I think we can agree that it is important to express love- or at least emotion- in some form. However, when more common outlets for love break one's spirit, betray one's moral sensibility or simply cease to exist, we can choose to either shut down our love-gland altogether, or we can find another dark hole in which to shove our passions.

1 comment:

Mike H. Miller said...

The peering chest hair of your sentiments pierces my heart's stony gaze!

Times in Important Places