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I bear a charmed life: 5.2.12

I guess there are towns that don't feel like they are an active presence in the life you're living in them. Towns that serve appropriately as the set for the action, rather than demanding their own line in the credits as an entire character themselves. I know there are towns like that. I've lived in them. Nice towns, sure, but they just serve as a place to hang your hat. A place to drive around and park and walk and eat and see people and do all the things that we like to do in our towns. But this town I live in now? It may be the victim of acute over-personification on my part, but I don't think so. It's got this...personality, some kind of active, beating sensation that pulses on with or without my making it tick. It does things the way it wants, on its own volition. My town has got its ways, its moods, its little charms that make you laugh a little in the back of your throat sometimes and shake your head knowingly, with just a little soupcon of fond derision. The way you would with the good friend who's always late, never buys a round, needs a ride out of your way. I know there are lots of towns like this--the ones that get their own tag lines, song lyrics, personas. New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Austin. These are the towns that worm their way into your little apple core heart and take up residence.

Just last week I was having one of those love-in moments with my town. That pleasant rush of pleasant feelings, maybe not balls to the wall infatuation. But still. This town. It had the greatest people, the greatest feeling of belonging, the greatest flow of creative juice, the greatest love of all, you name it. Sure, it was the same old filthy, trash-blown, sad, unequal place it always was, but it was glowing like a candle in its own window of possibility. My blue haven. Oh, we had such hopes for each other. But my town, man, it could be mean. It can be low. It plays dirty with your cityloving soul, your security. And just when I was feeling fine, that's when it decided to pull the sucker punch.

I know. I 'm probably blowing this up with unnecessary circumstance and pomp. Big deal, right? Sometimes you get knocked off the ladder, down a peg or two, from the horse. So I got mugged. No firearms. A grab, a fall, a scuffle on the concrete, a screaming chase of a sprint. I lost $40 bucks, had to cancel the credit cards, pay to have the locks rekeyed, all of the depressingly mundane administrative assistant work of life that sometimes seems like all that there really is perched on the award pedestal behind the curtain of adulthood. But I have to say, this mugging has really thrown me. It's like I don't have any...what do they call it? Resilience. Sometimes you're in the kind of shape where the punch just glances off, you're fine, not even feeling it, bounding on, all systems go. Other times though, the wimpiest poke and suddenly your sails are completely emptied of their wind, any breath of air at all sucked out through the vacuum tube of self-doubt where it shoots through to the big swollen dusty bag of old good feelings, hairball tangles of lost confidence and feeling alright. That was this mugging. It hit me wrong and hard.

After the adrenaline dried, after the cops left, after the scrapes and scratches started to wince out their thin announcements of presence all down my side and left arm, after the blood coagulated in the little crevices in my knuckles and there was nothing but me sitting there in a quiet room finally, it started. A run of unutterably sad realizations all hanging onto one another, making my whole life weak as a paper chain, one stupid year, action, milestone, whatever leading off from the one before with cheap, flimsy attachment, so what. The sad thoughts looped through the chain, sad poor me's jumped through each empty hoop like a laughably easy obstacle course, boot camp for the pitiful. Here's how they called out their cadence: You're alone. You're vulnerable. You're a target for predatory mean men in the mean world that doesn't care if you walk with purpose or quick pace even though you've got nowhere to be, no one waiting for you to arrive. That's it anyway, isn't it? No one waits for you, no one needs to know you're ok. You're no one's someone special. You? You have no one to call right now.

It's like my head was whipping around on its neck post and my eyes were shooting ultra perceptive daggers into every dark corner--the way my senses should have been firing in the first place that night so maybe I wouldn't have gotten in this trouble. But suddenly I heard it all, I saw all, I even smelled it all. My local buddies were hanging out at the bar a few blocks away when I texted them about what happened, and I got a few texts back, no visit, no I'll come right by. That was it, there was no one else to call right then. I didn't want to worry anyone in my family. So I sat in my house, every spidey hurt feeling tingling, every prick of loneliness stinging, everything as clear and sad and in stark profile against my blank life as the kitsch outline of a wolf on the crest of the hill, lifting up its snout to howl under the full prarie moon. That's how exposed I felt suddenly. Like my town had been razed around where I sat in my armchair. It was flattened out all around me, blitzkrieged empty. And it was just that suddenly, the shoddy backdrop it really was after all. It had no secret animation to it, it was no magically meaningful clutter of buildings, no Hundred Acre Wood adventureland with plots and characters just for me. It wasn't even a mean town anymore. It wasn't anything. It was just the set that could be changed at any time, for any new scene ready to play out.

reflect - reinvent ....rayclaire@gmail.com... what i used to think... what i hear... what i see... where i'd like to be...

the black apple... the girl who... sarah brown... thunderpie... evany... jenny b harris... posie... claude le monde... artsy... fartsy... jeff... random person in texas... another rachel... smitten kitchen... more of me... still more of me... even more of me...and yet still more of me...more of me but not for free...

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