The good thing about having a friend who's paralyzed is there's no fake crap when you go see him. All the crap is genuine. None of that novelty store dog doo.
I went to see my friend Charlie yesterday, as it is his birthday. "How you doing?" I asked him, hugging him. Yes, I hate hugging, but he likes it and his desires win. That motherfucker has played the wheelchair card to death.
"You really wanna know or do you want some fake answer?" he asked me, already knowing.
"You tell me everything that's wrong with you, and I'll tell you everything that's wrong with me," I told him. So he told me his woes, and he did not say, hey! Expose my woes to the world, June! So I won't. "Now come sit on my lap and tell me yours," he said.
"I'm not sitting on your fucking lap."
"Yes, you are. It won't hurt," he said, motioning me over. I mean, you've seen my cankles. I'm hefty, hefty, hefty. Actually, I've lost five pounds lately. Which I've written off as cancer. Still. I didn't want to re-paralyze him or something. Like, what if he was on the verge of a cure, then I sat on him and now he's doomed?
I sat on him. He hugged me. Which I continue to hate. "I don't know," I began. "I don't know about anything. I feel rotten. I've had seven dramatic days in a row on Facebook, starting with the cankle debacle, and I finally just deleted my profile. I feel so exposed sometimes. Why the hell did I ever start writing about my life? I just kind of want to live my life, not hear everyone's opinion on it. I've just had so much negative reinforcement lately. I feel both completely exposed and completely alone."
This is when I started to cry like an idiot.
Charlie hugged me more. I tried not to hate it, and wriggle away like one of the cats.
"I understand," he said, "I really do. I have crippling insecurities a lot of the time."
We sat there for awhile.
"Did you get it? Crippling?"
"I did," I said. "You're paralyzed with indecision."
"The good news is," said Charlie, "my problems are still worse than yours!"
He's right. No matter what my woe du jour, he always beats me. He won't take this sitting down.
The point is, Charlie, a couple of his other friends and I walked to a nearby restaurant and ate outside. Charlie got a Bloody Mary with a giant stick of bacon in it, which looked delicious. One of his friends is 30 and was bemoaning his ancient fate, and when I mentioned my age, the 30-year-old sputtered.
"No! Really? I never would have thought you were 49. Ever," he said, and that is when I married him.
We all had things in this life that we felt kind of bad about, and we all talked about them, and by the time we were done with lunch and dessert and coffee, we were giggling like idiots. Charlie totally picked up our waitress, too. Got her digits. See, there's a hilarious paralyzed joke here but I am dignified and will not make it.
As we headed back to Charlie's pad, and yes I just said pad, we passed a wedding. The bride and all her attendants were outside in the sun. The sun was shining on the bride and she was absolutely stunning: thin, blonde, young.
We all stopped for a minute and watched her as she knelt down to talk to a flower girl wearing a giant puffy white dress.
"That is really beautiful," said Charlie. We were quiet a second.
"Let's all go down and see the giant vagina and ball sack sculpture," he said.