I am flawed, as we all are. The true test lays in not whether we can shine when everything is uncomplicated, but whether we can overcome the obstacles and adversity in order to do so. When we prevail through the difficult times, when we shine through all the frustration, the disadvantages and drawbacks, that is when we are the most brilliant – but sometimes, sometimes when the promise of a life becoming again is brilliant and shining and then ripped away again, it is so damned hard.
6:13am. Over the time spent living here I have measured it almost perfectly. Always getting to bed late, the alarm creeps into my dreams and shatters my sleep. I turn it off, rise, no time for the morning rituals easing me into the day. Those can come later. Pants, socks, shoes, shirt, leash and keys, and Ruby and I are out the door. The street sweepers are coming, and this is our morning race to move my car and beat them.
Ruby loves the alarm. It is a call for us to go out to the streets to walk, for her to smell what the life of the city has left from the night before, just for her. Of course we rush to the car, she understands this – but afterwards, the time is ours. As tired as I may be, as much as I may want to try and find the early-morning dreams again, we frequently take the long way around the block after finding a place to park where I don’t have to worry about my car. We take the long way for her. After that is done, as the dawn breaks in this seedy part of the city, then I can truly sleep, and her, by my side, just a few more hours. She knows the actual day begins later – shopping, errands, and of course, the dog park. She is almost never left alone in this small apartment without me, and that is by her choice as much as mine. She is my partner, a road dog just like me.
Yesterday morning the dance was the same, save for setting the alarm when we returned again for only one more hour of sleep. As I lay down she jumped up on my bed and pressed her body against me as she lay down. I think that I am her wall, her security, so that she doesn’t feel as if she will fall. I think we all need that wall from time to time and I envy her for it, because regardless of how solid the surface under us may feel it might be an illusion, and it takes everything in us, everything we can grasp onto, not to feel like we’re falling.
As the alarm went a second time yesterday, I she looked at me quizzically then almost immediately changed “Another outside sound? Okay, let’s go!” I laughed, scratched her on the head then hugged her close to me. “No, not just yet girl, I need to get ready. We’re going on a good drive.”
I needed to head to Santa Cruz to interview – or actually, audition, for a job performing for children in the Bay Area. The gigs would probably be closer, but Santa Cruz is where the office is. I dressed in costume and makeup as the elf they wanted me to be, grabbed the bag that I had packed the night before full of everything I needed to shine above the others – I would perform for them as they were the children, and inside the bag was the magic that would help me do that. Ruby’s tail starts wagging as I grab her leash. Of course she’s coming too. I need her for support whether she knows it or not.
We get to my car, and I put my bags on the front passenger seat, unlock the back door for Ruby, and then I see it and my heart drops. The sign on my windshield screams in bold red letters.
My car has been booted, immobilized. My first interview, finally trying to start my life again, and everything falls apart in a second.
I grabbed my bags and Ruby, locked my car again, disheartened. Back to the apartment, to try to figure out what was wrong. I knew I had parking tickets, but only a few… not the five required for my car to be booted. After emailing and letting my interviewer know that I would not make it, I checked the internet – five parking tickets, two of which were parking meter tickets from when the card saying I don’t have to pay for parking meters was stolen through a broken window – my handicapped card. Ah, of course! No problem. I’ll just call and explain their simple mistake… but no.
They were over the twenty one days I had to fight them. “But they’re obviously wrong! There’s no question!” “No, sorry”, the human robot on the phone said, “once the time is up, that’s it. Period.” Undaunted, hoping a kind winning smile might bring a different result, I walked down to the Transit Authority office. Still, the same. Just over $500 for tickets including the ones that are lies, and another $305 for the boot fee. I try to explain that I am barely able to survive on the monthly $300 I get from disability. Try to explain to closed ears that I need a car to work.
I am not done yet. I didn’t get this far by giving up. It takes a certain kind of person to hear the blunt authority of a terminal diagnosis, refuse to accept it, refuse to lie down and surrender.
I am that type of person. I am beginning to live again, to again live each day as it has been stolen from death, and I will not give up. Back down to the Transit office again hoping for a different result, hoping to be able to speak with someone who has the power and understanding to change this.
I have one more day before our car is towed and lost under the weight of fines, and as a result, I am selling everything I can – My Hoyt Utra-Tec compound bow with, sights, trigger release and padded soft case, $400. Samsung 7” Galaxy Tab 2 with case, $110. Guitar, acoustic/electric with mini-amp, cord, and gig bag, $100. Plumbing Pipe “Industrial” bookshelf (“X” style) $105 – and all other styles of shelves I can make. Time is of the essence and all are in perfect condition. Paypal – firstname.lastname@example.org . I will be out for a while walking around the city doing errands, but will return this evening. to answer any questions you may have.
There is little worse than the questioning, sorrowful look in Ruby’s eyes as I shut the door to my apartment, separating us. There are no parks for her I can walk to around here.