A red sign on the door can’t be a good thing, can it? But we’re a block away, and though I can’t yet read the single word emblazoned on it, hope drains with each step. And indeed, the truck rental place is closed by the time we’re pressing our foreheads against the glass door. As a result of this we’re not just inconvenienced or put out, but well and truly fucked. These are the situations that nightmares are made of, because now we’ll basically have to rely on the moped we rode in on to move all the furniture–by midnight–which is more than patently absurd. So I should be devastated. I am devastated. But secretly I’m also reveling in it. Not in a way that I would dare put to words, especially not then and there. But there’s no denying that there’s a part of me that relishes the sweet kiss of denial.
And this isn’t just a behavioral singularity, but rather a constant quirk in my character. When I lost a ten page story during a power outage caused by a freak summer hailstorm, I was immediately awash in that unique nectar of panic, and for some time after I was utterly despondent. At the same time I felt as though I had been cleansed. Or, no, that’s not the right word for it. Virtuous, that’s what it was. Merely writing a story out, that’s something anyone can do. But to overcome adversity, to painstakingly write the exact same story twice, out of necessity, surely that was a task fulfilled only by the most intrepid of avatars.
Oddly, my tolerance for minor setbacks is low. They’re are like cold drafts that slowly wear one down. But sub-zero wind storms I can take on with nary a shiver, because then it comes down to survival, which is simply a matter of preparation. Oh, would that inconveniences were impassible obstacles! Dare I even wish it? Might a certain character flaw run so deep that one would purposefully influence molehills into mountains? To what dark benefit?
But there is plainly reward of a sort in tragedy, no? Does not a doomed man sprinting from a grizzly experience a moment, just at the end, of endorphin high? That’s just cold hard science, and yet I may have taken things too far. The question has occurred to me: have I allowed dread and excitement to become inextricably intertwined? And if so, have I damaged some delicate internal process permanently? I wonder these things even as terrible fates befall me.
“Are you sitting down?” I cover the mouthpiece so as not to laugh in his ear. He must be joking. People only say that in movies, right? These aren’t the words I was expecting to hear from my tax accountant. “All told, it comes out to just over $90,000 you owe, federal and state.” But that’s more than I made last year, how can that be? “It’s called alternative minimum tax,” and his explanation of this particular demon is akin to an executioner extolling the craftsmanship that went into the blade poised just feet above my neck. So many interesting details! And yet… and yet is this not the beginning of a wondrous, savings-eradicating odyssey? Is it horrible in such a way as to liquefy the mind? Well sure. But it’s no less brilliant!
No fear, no regrets. An overnight stay in jail for throwing out my jury summons and then being caught? Deliciously repulsive. Father dies in the middle of my Italian vacation? Meow, baby. To find out during a time of vulnerability that some basic understanding I had about the universe is essentially a myth? That’s just sexy. I’ll take all comers. All cruel things to those who wait.