Friday, February 20, 2009

Eyes Dried Open

This brief dispatch comes to you after a 24 hour shift at a desk, watching my hair grow and thinking about all the things I could have been doing instead. Like painting a shitty picture in a park that wouldn't resemble anything other than a truck-stop bathroom stall. The splatters, I mean.

As far as that incident, I haven't heard anything new, probably never really will. Guess it didn't happen in our neck of the woods. But fuck, man. Death? I still try to wrap my mind around it sometimes. Spent a good portion of the last 24 hours thinking about what it must've felt like for my friends, when they got hit. Did they even know what hit them, or was it some instant confusion, blurry and discombobulated?

Thought about that Robin Williams movie, "What Dreams May Come". Caught myself wondering if I was going to run into those dudes again on some other plane. Shook the hand of a guy that was leaving for a different duty station, didn't even know him that well, and I actually thought to myself, "See you on the other side."

Almost feels like I'm dying too. Quietly, with a schedule, and appointments. But I don't think it'll work that way. Suspect won't just die when I'm out. I'm a collector, I pick things up.

Well that's ok.

With those long hours and too much time to talk, I found myself kind of wishing I was still back there, when our missions were all about kicking ass. But chill, man, that's over. Just mellow out and move forward to the next station.

I lucked out man, wow.

I still think about death a lot sometimes though. Just try to understand it. Gory images in my mind don't disturb me so much as they just scientifically show what went wrong and what isn't working the way it's supposed to (or where it's supposed to). I seriously don't think that the human mind can grasp the concept of no longer existing, in terms of the mind itself, not the brain, but the sequence of events that causes what we call the "mind". That's all we really are, I guess you could say that's our soul too, maybe?

You can't fully grasp NOT existing anymore.

Me, yeah I'm afraid of dying. I get nervous around strangers. I don't like it when they start conversations with me anymore, don't know if I can trust them, I WANT to, but I still haven't even figured life out, let alone taken a good bite out of it. A well-meaning stranger makes small-talk and I'm just a 16 year old kid in jeans and a sweatshirt again, my gun is missing, and my number is up at any moment.

Despite all that, I flushed all my klonopin down the toilet. Antegrade amnesia or something like that, you forget entire days. Like they never happened. Like you were benched and someone else played for you. Substituted and didn't even get to watch. Cryogenically frozen. But expected to know where things are. Fucking pills, man.

No one is trying to shoot me or blow me up now, I'm pretty sure. So these days, I'm mainly just afraid of car accidents. I don't know, I guess now, part of the animal in me is awake, and it's fully focused on survivalism. Crazy.

Well I've got some z's to catch, I'll join your world again in a few hours, and we'll mingle on the roads as total strangers, sneaking glances at each other in our mirrors, hoping you don't catch us singing along to our music. Stop at the designated signs and lights, take turns, shiny happy people, all of us. You going your way, me going my way. I'm passing hundreds of you going in the opposite direction and each whoosh is another story I'll probably never know. Outside my window, right now, more stories than you can count. If my eyelids didn't weigh eighty pounds each, I'd probably go out right now and look for an old person to listen to for a while.

But not righnow...ahm*hhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwnn* justreadyforbed.

Join you all in the Great Mosh in a while. Much love,
The Goddamn Suspect


Anonymous said...

Eh, why don't you leave Suspect at the fort today, dreamerboy. Its much too beautiful a day for angst and war talk.

I'll see Ryan in a few hours :)


lorraine said...

I'm still with you. Love you to pieces. A "stranger" but you gave me a word when I needed it and will never forget it. Being a nurse, I deal with death lots.Mostly old people but more and more frequently these days mid life people that screwed themselves up with drugs and alcohol. That is a sad one. Yet there is no guarantee that by living the "good life" will get you through either. It is just the roll of the dice. I think about death daily - always have - but you are right - can't really wrap yourself around "not being". Thanatology is the study of death -I dont't really think it is morbid. As a culture, we put it out of sight out of mind, but guess what? it will happen to every single one of us. You will get beyond this experience but you will always have it with you. Family and friends, jobs and activities with fill up time but you will never not have the "shoebox" under the bed. I don't think that is negative - just real. The more you face real, the better. Drugs - even scripted kind can not cure real experiences and life events. I've been told "get on antidepressents" like will the bring back lost husbands and children? Don't think so. Believe me if you find one that can send me some. Better face reality and keep in touch with those you share life with. At least that is my 2cents worth. Much love - lorraine

lorraine said...

correct: will they bring back etc not - the. just clarifying

themorethingschange... said...


The thing I love most about your musings is that they're thought provoking. So many things, so many levels, so many memories....

You remind me so much of my friends and me and our long-into-the-night-discussions in college. Dead serious, not usually alcohol fueled, wonderings. You know; why am I here? whats the meaning of life? we've got to get out of Vietnam, why do we have to marry? whats wrong with living together (which was a biggie back then)?,do heaven and hell exist? what is God? etc, etc, and on and on.

None of us had your experience of war and death. But man were we angsty. Personally, I think its a requirement for the thinking wo/man. And did we ever think we were great thinkers! Maybe we were. Can't deny we were right about what would happen in Vietnam.

Someone we probably all read said that you guys all sometimes wish you were back there and if you say you don't, you're lying.

Funny thing, thinking about death. Now that I'm a woman of a certain age I'm thinking about it for the first time since college. I know its not far off for my parents and I wonder how it will feel to them. Will they know its happening? will it hurt? will they fight it or welcome it? will they just go to sleep? how will one do without the other? should I make a list of things to do now? should I write the obits now?

I don't fear death because for me it would be a blessed release from constant pain. My Dr didn't think it was funny when I asked if I could have DNR tatooed on my chest, but I was dead - sheesh, no pun intended - serious. I don't care what comes after, well maybe I do 'cause suicide is out. Bleh! enough of that.

I think leaving the service is a kind of death for you. What was, is no longer. But the friends you made, living & dead, will always be with you. The internet makes it easier for you to share stories, pictures, plan trips together, heck - some of you could even end up in the same retirement village. Yeah you could! And if there's an afterlife those who've gone ahead will be there waiting.

Your remark about singing along to the music struck a cord too - yikes, again no pun intended. I used to stop singing when someone came up beside me in the other lane.

I'm SO over that. If I want to climb the tree in back, or use slangulage, or sing along, or ditch a party, or buy a popsicle, or skip when the day is just so beautiful I want to hug the earth, I do it. I expect some of my neighbors think I'm an excentric senior citizen. Ok by me! I'm a happy camper.

Anonymous said...

That incident...It must be pretty weird to get back and have senseless shit like that follow you home. Except it didn't follow you home, it was already here. It's all part of one picture.

Yes, you did luck out, we are all lucking out for a while.

Keep a big heart, big enough for every thing you love, dead or alive.

Hang in there. My brother used to say, it'll all come out in the wash.

bigD said...

Hi Suspect,
This post made me smile, because it's so you. Watching your hair grow for 24 hours has some benefits I guess, causing you to think all those deep thoughts interspersed with just the right amount of levity.

Like Lorraine, us nurses have to deal with more than our share of death, grief and loss. Mine were mostly children, which makes it all the more horrible and insane, but, just underscores the seemingly senseless nature of who goes when and why!!! I didn't understand it then and I still don't. Suffice to say it is a topic of much consideration in my life right now.

I agree with you that we can never truly wrap our minds around the concept of no longer existing.
I think most everyone is afraid of dying...afraid of the unknown. Afraid to roll the dice and take a chance on life. It's harder to gamble when you have so much to lose. I have faith in you Ryan.
You'll pass through this "awkward" phase on the way back to your life faster than you think. It's ok to have a healthy dose of "stranger danger", but, don't let the fear of trusting others cause you to miss out on the happiness and joy they can bring. Who knows maybe I'll be that old person you sit down and listen to one day!

God(s) bless you Ryan. Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.

hooch said...

Funny how much this post reminds me of the long conversations we used to have in basic. I actually think all the time about the traffic thing. You know, everyone who drives faster than you is crazy and everyone who drives slower is a moron. All those stories....what a way to put it. Life experiences, births, relationships, drugs, sex, marriage, divorce, so much that we all experience as individuals and never get to learn about others except for the little snippits we share with one another and even then all we try to do is place ourselves in their situation and imagine what they experienced. Truly amazing.