In The Early 2000s
In the early 2000s I learned how to crash a car. I was frequently in lust. The computer told me I had 367 friends.
I read about wars through newspaper vending machine glass like I was window-shopping for my favorite one. I never put coins in a machine. I could read the news online faster than I could read.
I went to a psychologist who thought I was gay and tried to set me up with another one of his patients. He said: he has the same symptoms — you two should go out. He told me that he went to school for his MFA in film studies, but wanted to be a doctor. I told him I was only there for the medication.
I drove my car to homes of women I met online. They told me they could feel my anxious spirit and nervous eyes, that I wasn’t a match. That I should leave.
I had a coworker who depicted erotic scenes between characters from famous movies that she posted on message boards for everyone to read. She called this art.
I had a friend tell me about the abortion while we were smoking on my patio. He told me about the hotel room she was staying in. All the blood or lack of blood — something surprised him. How she was being taken care of by a sister he would never meet. He told me it was conceived under the stars. He never said father or possibly.
I loved the pain of pine needle scented gin. I called it courage and would ask women out and still have fading phone numbers written on top of my hands from other nights and other showers.
I bought a typewriter and told myself I could write.
I worked in a factory where we made smoke detectors, the red boxes that hooligans pulled to get out of school. My boss was a young Mexican woman (she said she was from Mexico, originally) that used to work for Wrigley Gum and their Christmas present was pulling apart gum in a freezer and this would produce all sorts of hand ailments and the bonus was a lot of gum on Christmas morning. She trained me to use a soldering iron. I had hallucinations that many of the devices were piling up when in reality all were finished. Another time the device had a face and the wires tried to strangle me. I saw monsters.
I learned how the bus schedule worked.
I told Jesus to go to hell and then cried to the sound of my crying. It was liberating; something was lifted. I’ve read that he carried something heavy somewhere important.
I fired a shotgun once at clay things that flew through the air. I hated guns; I was glad my roommate was a fisherman during the worst times of my depression.
I never figured out how to buy flowers or what kind to get for a certain occasion.
I logged into my bank account and guessed its balance before it loaded. Unknown numbers called asking me for funds I did not have. They told me I used what I did not have for an education and where did that get you, the woman told me. I heard her coworkers laughing in the background.
I was in love twice and once f-cked a 19 year old and a 29 year old within a few months and never figured out the mathematical ramifications of my choices. Any.
I broke a girl’s heart by letting her keep the ring.
I was told that I could be anything I wanted so I worked retail and wished for continuing education. I said to my mother that I had all my schools picked out and she said that’s nice.
I waited for mail that never came.
I walked home one night and slept on the stairs—woke up with a scratch on my head and burnt facial hair. I don’t remember getting home. I crossed busy streets being young and under the influence of alcohol. In another word: invulnerable.
I made a wish whenever I saw something on top of a cake.
I called my mother and she told me she saw a man fly out of his windshield. That she had said a prayer to save herself: take the center lane. She never took the center lane. She told me she thought about my car accident, that she was glad I wasn’t hurt. I told her about my generous tax refund. She told me she threw up on the side of the house after seeing the cars collide. I told her I paid off two of my credit card debts. I told her I was going somewhere.
I loved to say I’d learned to love. That was the end of the early 2000s.
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