"The never-ending flight of future days..." - John Milton, Paradise LostIt was early September 1999 just a few minutes past Midnight and I couldn't feel the chilly Idaho air as I stood somewhere on the campus of Boise State University in the parking lot of their basketball arena. I had been up for three days straight partying just like it was the year in the Prince song. I was following Phish, one of my favorite bands, during one of their most insane tours through the Pacific Northwest. Inside of six days I had seen five concerts in Vancouver Canada, Portland, OR, George, WA, including one epic concert in Boise, ID. My traveling companion was a fetching twenty-two year old hippie chick from Texas named Angela. Over the next month we'd see concerts in San Francisco, San Diego, Tucson, Las Cruces, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Bumblefuck Alabama, and in Memphis. We had been seeing each other on and off for about a year. She had silky brown hair, an addictive drawl, and her hugs could melt a glacier. The spitfire of a gal also locked her car keys inside the trunk of her 1995 baby blue Dodge Neon. I made a mistake and let something slip out of my mouth that I'd soon regret.
"For fuck's sake, how can you do that!" I screamed. "Now I got to talk to a cop while I'm tripping, you stupid bitch!"
I learned something important on that chilly Idaho night that I'll take to my grave; I should never call a woman a "bitch." I also learned the hard way, never ever under any circumstances call a woman from Texas a "bitch." I still have the scar on my neck where she tried to slit my throat with her bare hands. She was barely 100 pounds and stood 5 feet tall on her tiptoes. And despite being physically outmatched, she lunged at me like a blood thirsty cheetah ripping into a limp soft-eyed gazelle in the Serengeti, ready to remove my jugular vein from my neck and hang my testicles from the nearest light post with it.
Less than a year later, we'd part ways. Hippie love never lasts anyway. She turned into a fanatical Jesus freak after 9.11, got married, and had a kid while I'm still wandering the planet trying to make sense of the wasteland of my life. She called me up yesterday and inquired about my throat.
"This has nothing to do with the time I tried to strangle you in Boise, riiiiiii-ght?"
These are real conversations I have with ex-girlfriends. I wished I taped the highlights. I should probably write a book about them. Oh wait, I did. Two Novembers ago in Rhode Island. It was called Gumbo. She was Chapter 5. She also inspired the main character in another novel of mine called Sweet Nothing otherwise known as The Baby and Winky Novel. Here's an excerpt:
There were a couple of seconds after she stabbed me and before the blood started squirting out where Baby and I calmly stared at each other. Our glances lovingly locked onto one another and we had a tranquil moment. Our symbiotic original connection only lasted for a second maybe two, but it was one of those eternal seconds that seem to last forever and you never want to end. It's those eclectic moments you come across while thinking about life's odd idiosyncrasies, while stuck in a sullen slouch at the end of a bar, drinking away the roughness of the day's grind. Or perhaps that treasured moment comes to mind while staring out the window of an airplane, your eyes bouncing back and forth between the clouds and the endless horizon and your shared memories burn a hole in your pants pocket, like a firecracker with a slow fuse that you lit years ago and simply forgot it was there until one day, POP! It goes off. And as our still bodies breathed together and our moment ended, all serenity vanished and I saw panic, fear, desperation, anger, and redemption jump on top of each other in a scrum and hide behind the pupils in her sky blue eyes. Simultaneously, heavy drops of tears rained from her swollen eyes as intense globs of menacing red blood bubbled out of the two inch cut on my bicep, forming an oval pool on our Salvation Army bought $18 couch... MoreAnyway... before we ended our short conversation last night, Angela also told me that God was angry that I was gambling too much and that's why I caught tonsillitis. I shrugged it off. The last time I saw God, he was at the Casino Magic cold decking me at a blackjack table in Biloxi, Mississippi.
There's a point to this post. After 1,176 posts here at the Tao of Poker, it's time for a break.
After being ill and unable to speak the last few days, I realized that I want to write and travel more than being "Dr. Pauly" or that sick twisted caricature of myself that I've become. I must say good-bye for now and rediscover my true self. I might be back in two hours, two days, two weeks, or two months. I cannot say when. If the never-ending flight of future days returns, it won't happen without some rest and reflection.
Thank you all for being part of one of the greatest experiences of my life. In the immortal words of Crash Davis... "And when you speak of me, speak well."