Monday, February 07, 2005

roller coaster

I believe it was less than a week ago when I had one of those wonderful, transcendent, perfect moments? And today I hit the downside of that roller coaster. Today I had a slight freak out.

I realized that my Friday night excursions made a pretty good dent in my pocket. Until my tax return or my next check come in I have $30. I went online to check with the IRS on my return status, and it said I should get my refund by Feb 15th.

Uh oh.

Well, I'm not going to starve. I've got food in the pantry, and I really could get by on $30 worth of mac and cheese for a few days. But I gotta cut back on the non-essentials.

Part of cutting back was calling my friends to let them know I was out for the superbowl party tonight. The party was in queens, and even though it was at a friend's apartment, the money that I have left needs to be non-recreational. Not to mention I just want to really lay low in case of emergency.

I start thinking about emergencies. I start thinking about how my apartment was recently three feet away from being in flames, burnt to the ground. And how if that happened now I would only have $30. I start thinking about 9/11, I start thinking about the blackout. I realize I have no safety net. Feelin a little bit like I'm treading water in the middle of the ocean.

Trying to keep calm, I call my one friend who was going to travel with me to the Astoria party to let her know I couldn't make it. I already feel bad that I have to bail, and now I'm freaking on the inside. Her reaction? Give me a hard time. "But I want you to go" and "you were supposed to be my motivation" are her responses to me. I'm holding back tears by the time we hang up.

Then I call the party organizer, I can't just not show. She answers the phone and I blurt out "I am freaking out because it just sunk in that a week ago my apartment was one yard away from destruction and I have thirty bucks to my name. I really can't go out, I need to stay home." Her response? "Okay, okay. Just let me say one thing - you can come over here, we are just going to order pizza and drink beer."

Obviously my presence is much more important to my friends than my well-being. I tell them I'm in meltdown and all they hear is I have to miss a party. The party is the last thing on my mind, I'm thinking about life security.

Half a sausage pizza and a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream later, I'm feeling a lot better. I have learned a couple things about myself and about my friends today.

First of all, when I get this tax return I am going to put some money to the side for safety. An ipod means less to me than peace of mind.

Secondly, that if I am in trouble and have to miss a social gathering, don't bother to call, just don't show. That way I don't have to deal with a guilt trip on top of whatever else I am dealing with.

Finally, I have learned that every blessing has its own curse. In this case, being fun, being the "life of the party" means that you have to deal with the disappointment and disapproval of others if you can't show. If it was a gathering that I was less enthusiastic about, then I could deal with the dissatisfaction of others. When I can't go because of an unfortunate event or circumstance, then I have to bear the extra weight of guilt on top of whatever else I am dealing with.

Honestly, I love having fun, helping others have fun, and the attention I get when I am successful in that venture. I love knowing I can make people laugh, make them feel better about themselves and the lives they live. I just need to learn to show my soft side, my weak side as well. If people don't know I have an Achilles heel they can never watch out for it. In effect I expose myself for heartache by never allowing others to know that I am fallible. Funny how that works.

Right now I'm listening to "Superman Song" by Crash Test Dummies, and it is really helping to lift my spirits. Sorry reader, I tried to attach the mp3, but I'm afraid my html skills are still sub-par. I highly recommend the tune for the next time you feel a little less than a superhero.

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