Zero-to-One-Hundred-and-Fifty (Part 1)

Posted: December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized


I’m starting to think that xanax is the doctors equivalent to giving Sweet Tarts to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

Could I breathe better?  Sure.  But Mom had already planned a 12 person Thanksgiving brunch for the next day, and so I just had to reconcile myself to the fact that this year I be denominated “Trystan: The Cousin Who Hit 200 This Year Thanks To Paula Deen.”  Knowing that this wasn’t true made me feel like I could being self-effacing about it if I needed to be.  That’s what years of socializing in one of the most raucous, ruthless and hot-blooded cities in the world does this to a person.  You  learn to become a sacrificial acrobat.  A master of quiet humiliation.  The kind people get when they’re caught wearing sandals.  I was still breathing as if half-underwater.  Rashes would appear on my belly and buttocks for 6 hours and then turn to chapped gooseflesh. The compression around my neck by now made me feel as if I were perpetually hanging upside down.  But I am a pretty big drinker during the holidays — let’s face it, I’ve got no problem getting festive pretty much 12 months out of the year –so that certainly wasn’t improving my resemblance to Violet Beauregarde.

Saturday night, after a dinner with my birthmother at her South Lake Union condo, I decided to drive to take a quick detour before heading back to my parents house and walk around my former urbane playground of Capitol Hill.  Every time I visit, I like to retrace the places I’ve known and see what vegan delicatessen or epicurean dog treat store has replaced the sites of my former… oh, just how does one say recklessness without reducing it to something nostalgic?… let’s just say I walked these streets alone to give up more than a few ghosts.  Since Washington state had just legalized marijuana recreationally, I inaugurated myself into the devil-may-care club and ate two hash brownies in my pocket, watching people smoke joints outside of Comet’s Cavern as if just having purchased it from the corner coffeehouse in Amsterdam.  And on a quiet walk like this, where I probably won’t run into anyone that I know, where better to sit this out than at the Egyptian Theater’s Midnight Showing of 2001: A Space Odyssey?


It was never by any means my favorite Kubrick film, but I used to enjoy 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Now all I have to say about 2001: A Space Odyssey is FUCK 2001: SPACE ODYSSEY!!!!!  Fuck the encounters between humans and mysterious monoliths.  Fuck Alex North’s theme-to-the-big-bang.  The stroke-inducing use of Richard Strauss.  The Egyptian is one of the biggest art house movie theaters in Seattle.  I would guess it seats among 250 people.  There were 30 of us here.  Typical of these haunts, a baristafarian sat on the far side of the same row with his leg gatekeeping over the seat.  The music seared through my chest rendering me both stock-still and hysterical, like a flaming camplog.  Soon thereafter began the projectile sweating, the sensation of horses mercilessly kicking through my chest, eyes pounding through my sockets like lava.  Was I having a heart attack?  And was anyone one else watching this?  I must have changed my sitting position about 60 times throughout the film, either to make myself inconspicuous or hope that maybe if I sat at a different angle that I could finally bear the film.  When I did open my eyes, the couple sitting in back of me had moved to the left.  The scenes from inside Jupiter Mission seemed silly and archaic, as they probably always did, with their art deco Skype boards and retrofuturistic mod hairuts.  I knew if I napped from here to the end of the movie that I wouldn’t have to miss a thing.

By the time the end credits rolled, I was the only person remaining in that cinema.  Cowering there, shivering, my chest carrying a loaded cannonball, the goal was to make an exit without hysteria.  This is unlike me, to say the least.  I am quite often a person who constantly thrives on attention when not in a crisis, but because this episode had been triggered by two hash brownies, I was reluctant to bring anyone else into the scene.  You see, I carry this belief it me that if you experience a bad reaction to any substance, that you, and you alone should take responsiblity for that reaction, at least within reason.  And should it get to the point that requires the intervention of another human being, you are certainly better off not bombarding a stranger for it… although who among us on this Earth doesn’t want to be a hero?

It was now 3:22 AM.  By some miracle, I had found my car 1/2 mile down the hill on 11th avenue.  I turned on 90.3 KEXP (Seattle’s Listener Powered Radio Station), laid the seat back while adjusting these fluctuating states of seizure and helplessness.  Ummm, clearly, I would not be driving myself home.  I had no choice.

I woke up my parents.

“Dad, I’m in Capitol Hill.  I’m having a bad reaction to these hash brownies I took and I’m in the middle of a serious panic attack.”


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