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Corridor of Fear

December 1, 2009

SUNDAY, NOV. 29 Things never turn out how you expect them to. Like on a Friday afternoon when a snowstorm hits and it takes you almost two hours to get home, or on a Saturday when you were planning to write the post you were going to write on Friday and then you get home and realize you’re so exhausted that writing anything readable is out of the question and you’re glad you live alone so you can give serious consideration to going to bed at 6:30, or on a Sunday morning when you should be composing a parody post while watching Coronation Street but instead you’re working on what should have been Friday’s post while watching out the window for your friends’ car. Every month there’s a day I have to pretty much write off and that day should be today (my thoughts on the whole situation can be found here) but it turns out I’m going to an ice cave with some people from a triumvirate I used to be in and a person who’s going to be living in my apartment two months from now and a person who used to live in my apartment eight years ago and is married to one of the triumvirate members. My ride will be here any second, but I’m determined not to go all weekend without posting something, even though the three people who read this blog will all be in the same car and the same cave I’ll be in today.

Unrelated: I am a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan. Let’s all pray for them to win today. It’s a Sunday, so a lot of you will be praying anyway. Just toss in a shoutout to the Riders while you’re knelt down. It’s not even a big deal. Get it done. Everyone knows that God is incredibly emotionally invested in sports. Why do you think he wasn’t around too much during the Darfur genocide? He was watching sports. He gets all the right channels up there. He totally cares who wins the Grey Cup, and it could be your prayer that tips his mind’s scales one way or the other.

TUESDAY, DEC. 1 Can you effing believe this? I still haven’t posted this damn post. And as far as the italicized content above is concerned, I just want to say that I’m severing all ties with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Grey Cup game was a better Sunday afternoon parody than I could ever pull off. It’s one thing to lose a game, it’s another thing to let the other team win because you can’t get it together to a point of not having an extra guy on the field at the most important moment of the game. It’s not the loss that bothers me, it’s the needless, unbelievable humiliation of the thousands of people who spent good money and good time and good hope on that game, and the rest of the fans who watched it from home and were robbed of one of the most memorable moments of their lives by the careless stupidity of a group of total dumbfucks. No more, Riders. No more. You’ve embarrassed me for the last time.

What happens in the ice cave stays in the ice cave. Photo courtesy of S. Baileywine.

But the ice cave adventure was top shelf. Never have I crawled around in the dark in such dangerous surroundings, or had a legitimate excuse to make so many consecutive dildo jokes, or fallen down so many times in three hours. Two days later, I still feel like I got hit by a car. A kickass trip all around, and winter showed up yesterday, so it was well-timed. And I now know that there are circumstances in which one does not seem ridiculous for owning a head lamp. Too bad it never crossed my mind to bring along the one I got in my Christmas stocking as a joke seven years ago. Everyone else on the excursion brought powerful illuminatronic head lamps and special gripulizing shoes and hydropellent greaves and little baby camp stoves and really outdoorsmanly backpacks. I brought a pair of magic mitts and a big sack of macaroons.

Anyway the topic of the post I was going to write four days ago was that stuff is always happening that you never planned and never intended, like when you were going to write this post on Friday night and now it’s Tuesday morning, or when you go to Seattle to get a doctorate and instead you find yourself arguably-platonically in bed for the third and therefore most narratologically crucial time with the second most famous Philip Roth character and he’s yelling at you at four in the morning because you used two of his drinking glasses for your contact lenses and also failed to pour him a glass of water to set on the windowsill above the bed so that it would be there for him seven hours later when/if he regained consciousness and you’re not in a particularly chipper mood yourself because you’re almost as hung over as he is and additionally although you don’t know too much about these things you’re pretty sure the real impediment to concord between you and the Roth protagonist isn’t the ad-hoc contact lens case but rather something connected to how eight hours ago he was yelling at you in a residential neighbourhood and one of the things he said was “[No, it was way too fucked up even to be quoted on a blog]” and another of the things was “[This one was even more unbelievably fucked up],” and you were so drunk and so unfamiliar with the neighbourhood you were being yelled at in that you went home with him anyway, and now you forever have to live with having been, at one point in your life, that kind of person. The kind of person who allows herself to be mistreated and manipulated by someone else, so desperate for acceptance, even the illusory kind, that she’ll pay for it with her own dignity. Eugh. I want to beat the shit out of 2005-06 Kate.

And then I was going to say how Mr. Portnoy had a knack for wording things memorably and that’s one of the reasons why he’ll probably always be in my head whether I like it or not. Every time I’m within sight of a bus stop my brain reaches over and pokes me in the shoulder and says, in his voice, “Corridor of fear.” You’re in the corridor of fear when you’re close enough to the bus stop that you would be able to see the bus coming but you’re too far away from it to get to the bus if it does come. You’re in exactly the right spot to watch it come and go and leave you behind. The whole business also works figuratively. I’ve been in the metaphorical corridor of fear since I got the writing program acceptance letter. All this stuff to get done by January 7 when the plane takes off. Then all this ass to be constantly kicking in class. Maybe everyone else is going to be way better than me. (Not at rapping, obviously, but at other things, maybe.) Maybe my suspicion that I can’t write short stories is correct. Maybe I won’t be able to find a job and the stress of total moneylessness will start fucking with my ability to find the words. Maybe I’ve totally mistimed everything and the bus is coming and I’m too far away.

Note to self: Find your head lamp. And keep a contact lens case in your purse. Because you just never know.


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