Thursday, March 22, 2007

Psychic Ding

The signs are all around us, if we just know where to look.

In my case, the sign was an actual sign. I saw it Monday night on my way to my solo performance class.

This was a neon sign, three stories overhead, and while it was supposed to say "Psychic Reading," some of the letters had crapped out to where it now spelled out "Psychic Ding."

You know I swear some days neon signs are built to burn out and give off these whacked messages. A psychic ding--sounds like a kind of cosmic fender bender.

I got some of that on Saturday, when I went out with my aunt and sister on St. Patrick's Day. It was cold and miserable. The freezing temperatures carved right through my gloves and my socks got wet in record time.

What the hell was I doing here anyway? I hate parades and despite my Irish ancestory I'm becoming less enchanted with St. Patrick's Day with each passing year.

All the bars were filled with boozed up teenagers who thought being drunk was some kind of achievement. I saw a t-shirt reading "Kiss Me I'm Drunk," which pretty much told the story. It was indeed amateur night.

We stopped somewhere on Fifth Avenue, in front of a very posh apartment building overlooking Central Park. The idea was to get a better view of the parade, but instead of enjoying the day and being with my loved ones, I found yet another excuse to make myself miserable.

I'm still trying to piece together my tortured "logic" but I think it went something like this: I saw a young father with his two kids who had been standing next to us turn and walk toward the posh apartment building. The doorman quickly pulled the door open for him and he and his kids went inside.

Not bad, I thought. This guy's got a family and a great place to live, which means he must have awesome job. And what exactly have I got?

Immediately I thought of a writer-director I had read about on the Internet Movie Database--I've got to get off that site. This person, who will go unnamed, is 10 years younger than I am, has a successful entertainment career, plus a wife and two kids.

Sometimes I even amaze myself with bizarre thought patterns. Who else could find such a twisted way to hurt himself? I just stood there like a cigar-store Indian while the world kept turning, and the parade literally passed me by. Finally my aunt started talking to me.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

Well, no, but I didn't want to tell her what was bothering me. I could have summed it by admitting I was insane, but I didn't want to spoil the day.

Ding! You live the life you have, you don't mope over someone else's. It was unfair to my aunt and sister and I sincerely regret it. However, I did manage to pull off one little victory that day when I got splashed with water by a passing cab.

When I say "splashed," of course, I mean "drenched." We had left the parade and were walking down Second Avenue when the cab hit a huge puddle and threw up a wall of water that fell down on top of yours truly.

It was weird. I saw the cab coming, I saw it hit the puddle, and I saw the arc of water sail through the air. And then--ding!--I got an impromptu shower. Welcome to the real world, numb nuts.

Normally, I would have fumed and raged at something like this--looking stupid in front of all the people on the corner. But I took it well. I was wearing work clothes, not my Sunday best, so I turned to the people who were looking at me and bowed like a magician who had just sawed a lady in half.

"And for my next trick..." I said.

I'm glad I was able to laugh at myself, but the upshot is that I got sick. I've got a cold or sinus infection and I am just furious. I had to take off from work on Wednesday because I couldn't sleep the night before because of all the coughing and sneezing.

Sick of It All

It is so frustrating. I had a stomach bug just a few weeks ago and now I'm back on the sick list. I get so angry, so negative when I catch something, especially when it's a double whammy like this.

I'm trying to eat the right foods, take the right vitamins, and maintain a positive attitude, but none of that seems to be working. I still get sick much too often.

All right, so I'm miserable. We've got that covered. On Wednesday night I was doing some web-surfing when my phone went off. I assumed it was some telemarketing zombie, but I was wrong.

"Is this Bobby Lenihan?" a voice asked me.

"Yes," I said quickly.

That's not exactly true. I've always been "Rob" or "Robert," but never "Bob" or "Bobby," as my parents hated that name. The only time I went by "Bobby" was about 25 years ago (Ding!) when I used to go a gym on Ovington Avenue. The owner started calling me that and I didn't have the heart to correct him.

So I'm talking to the man on the phone and I realize pretty quickly that he's got the wrong number. Fine, but then who is Bobby Lenihan?

Is he my evil twin? My doppleganger? (I love that word.) Is he some variation of me that is healthy, successful, and emotionally stable. Is he that fucker on Park Avenue with the great apartment? The possibilities are endless, especially when you're deranged.

Maybe this is the version of me that came out right. He's got the life I should have, he stole it, like somebody walking out of a restaurant wearing my coat. Come back here, you putz, and fight like a man.

Or it could have been just a wrong number, but where's the fun in that?

I went in today, thinking, praying, actually, that Friday would be slow, but, I got dinged upside the psyche on that one, brother.

The computer system at work crashed, I couldn't get out some very important e-mails, and I remember thinking, how could it possibly get any worse? I soon found out.

I left work at around 5:30 PM, headed to the train station and saw an R train just sitting there with its doors open. I buzzed through the turnstile, dodge around some woman who couldn't decide if she wanted to take the train or not, and leaped into the car.

And fell down in front of a subway car full of commuters.

It was raining out and there was a patch of water on the floor that I didn't see until I was tumbling through the air. I heard people say "ooh!" like they do at wrestling matches when someone gets his skull rammed into the head post, so I jumped up and tried to make a joke out of it, like I did with the cab on St. Patrick's Day.

Everyone looked away when I stood up, refusing to make eye contact. I guess they felt sorry for me. I was going to go into the next car, but I had to prove I could rise above the humiliation, so I took a seat and began reading my paper.

So it's another weekend in the house, recuperating. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this week marked the fourth anniversary of President Chimpy's Iraqui Debacle.

If the mission of this thing was to deplete our military, kill innocent civilians, create even more radical Islamic fundamentalists and cause the rest of the world to hate us, well, then the mission has most definitely been accomplished.


Tonight I was checking the Merriam site to check my spelling and I stared at their word of the day: "Drub." Meaning to beat severely. First used in English to describe a form of punishment that involved beating the soles of a culprit's feet with a stick or cudgel. It is believed to come from the Arabic word--

I thought I heard something go ding!

Is that you, Bobby?


Anonymous said...

Oh Rob:

You have been through so much. After reading your post, my maternal instincts are kicking in and all I can think about is making you a big pot of Jewish penicillin (chicken soup). For now, consider my comment a big hug over the Internet.

Rob K said...

The hug will do very nicely. And I'll take a raincheck on that Jewish penicillin.


Calamity Jen said...

In addition to that chicken soup, I think you need a new therapist or shrink, my friend. How can you be so miserable? At least YOU didn't get shot this weekend. :)

I'm proud of you for being able to laugh at your mini misfortunes. Come to think of it, that's what my blog is all about. If I didn't laugh at myself, I'd be a pretty sorry character indeed.

Rob K said...

I think I'll skip the shrink and go for a witch doctor or a medicine man--I trust them just about as much as any "professional." And, yeah, I do try to laugh at it.