I was probably the last person in the country to replace my old word processor with a computer. I took some lessons but eventually had to learn by trial and error. My first internet company turned out to be a bunch of crooks and totally messed me up, but I signed with a bigger company and started to learn about the internet. For everyone I knew it was old hat, but for me, who had fought against getting a computer, it was taking awhile to catch up to everybody else. Winter came with lots of snow and at the fall of the first flake I would bundle up and go out and walk in it. I had loved doing that since I was a kid and always figured I better do it right away before it all turned gray with soot.
So on this cold and freezing Saturday as I thought about the poor carriage horses, forced to stand shivering, waiting to take clueless tourists on their “romantic” winter ride through the park, I decided to take a break from my computer and go for a walk. I bundled up until I looked like the Michelin Man, turned on the radio for Squeeky and headed out the door. I loved the look of the snow as it covered the gray sidewalks, making the lights in the store windows even more festive and inviting. The pavement was a bit icy so I walked carefully, but as the light on Lexington turned red I hurried my steps, missed the curb and fell hard on the street, twisting my knee painfully. I cried out in pain and people rushed to assist me. New Yorkers are like that. I don’t care what anybody says. A man helped me up but I could only stand on one foot. He volunteered to let me lean on him as I made my way back home and he reluctantly left me at the front door of my building. I assured him I could walk up the stairs on my own. I don’t know how I made it up four flights. My knee was throbbing and the pain was excruciating. I opened my door, hobbled into the bedroom and fell on the bed.
I had known a lot of physical pain in my life and this was right up there with the worst of it. I couldn’t go to a doctor because I had no insurance. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to work on Monday, and performing was out of the question. I felt a black wave of depression washing over me, worse than any I had ever felt before. It was as if that bottomless pit I had been dreading all my life opened up below me and I descended into hopelessness and despair. I felt completely alone, with no one to turn to, no help anywhere. I covered my face with my hands and cried as all the bad decisions, the betrayals, the disappointments, the losses, flashed through my brain and a thousand knives tore into my heart. My dreams were dead! I was lying to myself that I still had a chance to make them come true. I was pathetic and delusional, with a bleak future and years of poverty and struggle stretching out before me. I had thought I would end up living in a mansion; instead I lived in a fifth-floor walkup with barely enough room for my clothes. I have disappointed everyone who ever believed in me and now I won’t be able to get to work and will lose my job and how will I even be able to pay the rent?! I have been knocking on that confounded door for YEARS! Why won’t it open?! Why can’t my life turn around?! The answers were glaringly obvious – because no one wants you! Your time has passed, it’s over! You’re DONE!
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