Monday, February 16, 2004

Rollercoaster

I guess I have been lucky, life has been pretty much smooth sailing. Occasionally, someone will surface, a spurned lover or parole officer. A fly in the ointment, easily remedied. "Be Prepared," advises that old boy scout adage: bring rope, matches, bail money.

My mom warned me that good times will not last forever, that a fool and his money are the best for a sugar daddy. I heeded that advice, saving for the rainy day. I saved every coin I found in the church donation basket. For money I walked dogs and pinched penises. Nipples too, for $20 extra.

Champagne and caviar are fine, but learn to enjoy beer and ramen as well. It ain't gonna be cinnamon and apple pies all the time. The next jellybean from Bertie Bott's could be spinach, sardine, earwax--and no parmesan cheese to make Caesar's salad.

When I go to theme parks, my palms sweat when the rollercoaster is in sight. I often imagine myself being thrown out into the air, body slamming to the pavement. I am scared of heights, I prefer the level ground. I am swayed by friends, afraid to look silly. I get in, locking my forearms around the bars, hands clenched together, like a prayer.

I guess life is like a rollercoaster. We are thrust into the course the second we are born, the ticket bought, no choice in the matter. We could cry and whimper the whole way or learn to embrace the fear and uncertainty. You could miserably obsess about the love-of-your-life-asshole-on-again-off-again-boyfriend or break the cycle and leave yourself open for some real happiness. The circumstances don’t change, only your outlook.

Some days are fine, a hundred and twenty little concerns, other days, a barren expanse. For awhile I was euphoric, a second interview! I would be back in the workforce! I could replace my broken stapler! Two weeks later, no word. Then it's back to square one; the pasted-on smile, the monkey-suit, desperation in check. Like dating, employers are more likely to take you home if they don’t smell the Brut, the cologne of the perpetually rejected.

Here we are clinging to our seats, knuckles blue. Friends, loved ones in the cars, screaming, laughing at the top of their lungs. The wind is rushing, whipping the hair from your face, heart hanging in your throat. Here's the sky, here's the frozen air. Now, there’s the ground; now, there’s the turn--here it comes--