Tag Archives: crazy

Fuck Winter

I hate winter.  It’s too goddamn cold.  It’s ridiculous.  All it does is cause problems.  You know that sort of riddle-type question people sometimes ask, “Would you rather be really sweaty hot or really freezing cold?” I hate it when people say, “Oh, freezing cold because I can always wear more layers to stay warm.” That’s just a backwards way of saying you’d rather be hot.  Besides, I’d rather be hot because at least then I’d be able to move my fuckin’ limbs.

Winter was the cause of my trip from hell roughly a month or so ago.  I went to Johnson City, Tennessee for my sister’s college graduation ceremony.  Now, granted, a trip to Johnson City for any reason is hellish enough to begin with, but when you add wintery weather into the mix, it only heightens the agony.  Under normal conditions, a drive from Nashville to Johnson City is roughly four-and-a-half to five hours.

Mine took twelve.  TWELVE.

And here’s where our saga begins:

It’s mid-December.  Late afternoon.  I’m on I-40 en route to I-81.  I’ve been on the road for about four hours.  It starts to snow a bit, but it’s the home stretch, so I’m not concerned about it.  I’m about 30 miles from my exit onto I-81.  As I get about 10 miles closer, I begin to see some red glows off in the distance.  You know that moment when you see a traffic jam up ahead, and you wanna pretend it’s not really there even though you’re heading RIGHT FOR IT?  You’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Ah, I think we’ll be fine.” Then you get a little closer, and you have that painful moment of concession where you’re like, “OHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO!”

That’s a nice moment, isn’t it?  That feeling of impending doom, and you can’t do anything to stop it.  I look around: it’s snowing HARD, and it’s starting to accumulate on the road pretty heavily.  I slow down to a crawl, and then…to a complete stop.  And all you can think is…

“…fuck.”

So I’m sitting there.  And I’m waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting.  Soon enough, my mind began to wander.  I don’t know if you know this, but traffic jams are, honest to God, the keys to your subconscious.  You will never have stranger thoughts than when you’re in a situation like that.  Your mind will go to all kinds of weird places.  You’ll sit there sifting through your brain like a radio dial:

“If I dropped a basketball from the Empire State Building, how high would it bounce back up?…What if you had an addiction to support groups for addiction?…When mimes have sex, do they use real condoms or just mime it?”

Then an hour goes by, and nothing has changed.  You haven’t moved.  The snow keeps piling up.  The road begins to freeze over.  And then, just as the night falls and you are left to your own inner dementia beneath the frigid moonlight, your brain starts going to darker places:

“I think for my funeral, I’m not gonna be buried or cremated.  I’m just gonna have an envelope filled with money stuffed inside my body and then have my friends and relatives dig around for it…The best way to commit a murder has to be stabbing someone to death with an icicle.  Because then when the icicle melts, you’d have no fingerprints, no murder weapon, and a dead motherfucker.  It’s perfect!”

And when you’re sitting there, you eventually realize how trapped you really are.  You know that, right?  You’re helpless, and there’s nothing you can do.  Nothing.  NOTHING.  You look ahead: cars behind cars.  You look behind: cars behind cars.  You are stuck.  It’s a truly one-of-a-kind existential crisis.  There are ways to fight back, though, or at least relieve yourself of the pent-up rage that has accumulated faster than the piles of snow along the road.  After a few hours, I got out of the car and made a snowman on the side of the road.  Then I stood it down, yelled, “FUCK YOU, FROSTY!  AHHHHHH!” and kicked its fuckin’ head off.  It wasn’t much but it was a nice revenge fantasy that paid off, if only in the short term.

Then, at one point, after being stuck for about three or four hours, I saw a car with some decals on it promoting some business called the Video Game Hospital: All Systems Repaired.  And in my slowly devolving primitive state, I just kept repeating it.  I don’t know why I did this—I was already far enough into the deep end to not give a shit.  Video Game Hospital: All Systems Repaired.  And then I had an epiphany: humanity is really not that far along the evolutionary scale.  Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying I DON’T believe in evolution.  I completely and unequivocally DO, but I realized that humans are not as highly evolved as we sometimes like to think we are.  In fact, in my hazy diversions, I inadvertently determined that we’re really only about four sentences away from becoming Neanderthals again, because I was sitting there repeating that phrase—Video Game Hospital: All Systems Repaired—but each time I repeated the phrase, the more primitive I became.  The pattern went like this:

“Video Game Hospital: All Systems Repaired.”
“Vidja Gaym Hawspitale: All Sisstims Ruhpayred.”
“Viya Gaye Hasitle: Aw Sissmz Rapurred.”

Finally, it just went all the way from, “Video Game Hospital: All Systems Repaired,” down to:

“BLLLLAAAARURURRGGGHH!”

Cars next to me are watching me have this crazy primal breakdown, like a gorilla that can’t crack open the coconut.

The total scale of the traffic jam was this: it took me six hours to go twenty miles.  That is the absolute truth.  It took longer to get through those last twenty miles than the entire trip would have taken under normal conditions.  By the way, if you’ve never been in a six-hour traffic jam during a snowstorm, here’s what it’s like: go into your kitchen, open your refrigerator, and take everything out.  Empty the whole thing.  Then, get inside, close the door, and wait to die.  It’s roughly the same experience, but you don’t have to shell out money for gas.

The worst part of the whole trip was telling people about it after the fact, and their pathetic attempts to empathize with what happened.  You ever have that one guy who tries to empathize with you, but it comes off as sounding insulting?  I was talking to a friend of mine about the trip and after I tell the story, he goes, “Yeah, man, I had a thing like that happen to me once in Arkansas, except I was only stopped for about an hour.  I know how that is, man.” No, you fuckin’ don’t.  That’s like saying, “Oh, man, you’ve got cancer?  Dude, yeah, I once had a mole that the doctor wanted to get tested but then it turned out it wasn’t cancerous.  Fuckin’ scary, dude!  I can TOTALLY relate!”

At which point, you should relate your fist to his face.

Until next time,

–Riley

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You Know What I Mean?

I talk to myself.

All the time.

ALL THE TIME.

And I have no shame whatsoever in admitting that.

I never understood why people aren’t really that willing to reveal that they talk to themselves, whether in public or not.  It’s not like it’s a particularly BAD thing.  I don’t get it.  Is it wrong to talk to yourself?  I say, no.  Then again, most of the people who believe that are people who talk to themselves.  They’re the people who you see frantically walking along the streets, mumbling to themselves, “There’s nothing wrong with me!  No, nothing!  Why would there be anything wrong?!  That’s crazy!  Not me—THAT is what’s REALLY crazy!  HA!”

I’ve been talking to myself ever since I was a young kid.  I had friends and all, but when I was young I really enjoyed talking to myself, because it’s kind of like being your own best friend.  However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that being your own best friend sucks when you need to borrow $20 dollars.

“Can I borrow $20 bucks, me?  Well, I dunno.  I still haven’t paid myself back from the last time.  How can I trust me with that kinda money?”

As I’ve been getting older, I’ve been trying to figure out my reasoning for it.  Why do I talk to myself?  What’s the psychology behind it?  What’s my motivation?  So far, nobody has attempted to help me, because I’m usually shouting those questions from the street corner.  But that’s okay, because I finally realized one day:

I talk to myself because I hate talking to other people.

Don’t get me wrong—I do like talking to some people.  Some people are funny, engaging, intelligent, articulate—in other words, enjoyable to talk to.  But there are some other people who are just fucking excruciating.  I’ll give you an example of the kind of thing I mean.

Have you ever been talking to somebody, and they are just blathering on and on about the most meaningless, banal, ridiculous, uninteresting minutia in their lives?  And they won’t stop talking about it—the mailman’s dog, their friend Sara that you’ve never met, the latest Geico commercial, whatever springs to mind—it just keeps going on and on and on and on, and you can’t get out of the conversation, so you just have to stand there and take it until they finally run out of things to flap their gums about, but they aren’t running out of steam anytime soon, and you’re forced to endure the unrelenting barrage of stupid bullshit, and then you suddenly have this moment of clarity, in which everything falls silent within your mind; in which you are one with yourself; in which you are connected with all that surrounds you, and all you can think of is, “I HATE YOU WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING, AND I WANT YOU TO DIE.”

And yet, they keep on chattering.  On and on and on and on and on.  By this point you aren’t even paying attention to what they’re saying anymore.  You’re just focusing on the bridge of their nose, because that way it looks like you’re listening to them when you really aren’t, and you just start thinking to yourself.

“Oh my God, they’re still talking.  Jesus fuckin’ Christ, did they just finish a year-long vow of silence or something?  They won’t shut up.  This person is determined to keep talking.  I want to kill them.  How could I kill them without getting caught?  Surely there’s got to be SOME way…I know, I’ll stab them with an icicle!  Then the icicle would melt.  No fingerprints.  No murder weapon.  They’re dead, and I’ll have some fuckin’ peace and quiet around here!  It’s PERFECT!”

That’s why I talk to myself.  To keep myself away from attempted murder.

But, lately, it’s been starting to get a little weird on me (gee, ya think, Riley?).  I mean, I’m not crazy…at least, I don’t think I am…

Okay, maybe I am, a little bit.  But there is a difference between talking to yourself and having conversations with yourself.  That’s fucking scary, more so because I think it’s starting to happen to me.  A few days ago, I was talking to myself, and I actually caught myself ending a sentence with the phrase, “you know what I mean?”

Oh, boy.  There ain’t no way I’m gettin’ outta this one without being dragged away by men in white coats.  Because regardless of how I answer, I’m pretty much fucked sanity-wise.  If I say yes, then I’m having a complete two-sided conversation with myself, and I’m totally bonkers.  But on the other hand, saying no might be even worse.  Think about it:

“You know what I mean?”
“No, I don’t, me.  I’ll have to explain that a little better, because I’m having trouble following my own fucking logic.”

You know what I mean?

Until next time,

–Riley