Finding Ian Shook Me to the Core (a bent memoir)
Current mood: Between a crock and a lard place
Jully 5, 2007
I was sure Ian had killed himself somehow or had had his personality destroyed beyond all serviceable humanity by his illness and that legendary acid overdose. A morning spent taking chemical courage nurtured the notion to drive to his parents’ house and my evil amygdala boosted my fear that he’d died into total certainty that he had. The house was quiet. That couldn’t be a good sign. It was the 4th of July. But I rang the doorbell rubbing my scalp and prepping my nerves for a terrible blow when I saw his big, football shaped head in the window. He opened the door and stood there – huge, egg shaped, looking healthier than I’ve ever been and I felt as strange and gamey as I always had been back in high school when he and I were inseparable. He invited me in without saying much of anything. After twelve years apart we still knew each other so well that our mutual shock could go unspoken. We sat down on the couch. He put on the Sopranos – something cool and seedy for two cool and seedy guys, if only in our hearts. After smoking in strangely comfortable silence he said; “What are you on?” He could tell! What nerve! “I didn’t want to hide it from you,” I said. “I’m not like that. I just, well with everything you’ve gone through, I didn’t want to get you into anything that might, ah-“
“Send me into psychotic shock.”
“Yeah.” I laid down a few lines. He served me soda and we played pool in the garage. We talked about the days of our teenage wildness. His recall was twice as good as mine, and I’d never even smoked grass until the age of 21. I felt like a silly kid, totally exposed, but safe. The story of his acid overdose was blown completely out of proportion by a bunch of cracked-out waiters who we’d both lost touch with. But he had gone schizophrenic. It runs in his family. And it made his twenties a hell. But he stood before me now, with terrible lucidity, telling me things about myself I’d forgotten and giving me advice about drugs that I wouldn’t have expected from anyone less than the late W.S. Burroughs.
“Honestly man,” I said. “I had given up on you. I was sure you were dead or had lost your humanity. Now I find you here, like this, well and calm as a monk. It’s like meeting a bear in the forest who it turns out can talk and what’s more knows all about you. You’ll have to forgive me if I seem nervous. Plus the coke is coming down. I may get the Fear. But I can see it coming. I’ll take off before it takes hold.”
He laughed at me. “You need something else to bring you down,” he said. I went white and had to steady myself on the table. He was right. I’d had whiskey on hand almost every time, but not in the last few weeks. I thought it was just a side effect of regular cocaine use.
((This is a true story. And it happened only just yesterday. At the moment I find myself unable to accurately recreate Ian’s impressive presence and the contrast of the crazed and incoherent person I remembered him as. So I’m not going to finish it here as I am still processing the memory. I went home, still coming down getting nervous, depressed and unsure of myself while using all my hidden discipline to be mindful of the fact that this sudden crushing sadness and self doubt was only chemical. I went to bed scared as a chicken in a thunderstorm, but not of danger. It was a fear of life, that which must be done, and the future that this down-phase, for which I was not prepared, put into me. It took my whole will not to call my EX and beg for a cuddle. For the first time in years I felt embarrassed, because Ian had just seen me being very foolish and not showing the usual self-awareness of which I usually boast. He became like a kind older brother while I turned into a head-shy dog. I intend to visit him again tomorrow before I leave town, give him a copy of my novel and try to show him some sense in a relatively sober state.
I will feel compelled to paint a clearer picture of Ian in the future as I put my memories of yesterday’s encounter in order. Until then, a toast to old friends!))