I didn’t know that hell was so cold.
March 26, 2010
I came home from work and knew.
The sky was turning grey and gaining weight. I had a lot of work to do, so I did it. 12 illustrations plus one big illustration, all involving food. Chinese food, pizza, a chef, a man drinking wine, a hamburger, a taco, a bottle of beer, and so on. If all of these could be completed soon and sent to my editor, I would be paid. I would even be invited to the newspaper party. I sent them off and got no response, which in the newspaper biz is a good thing. You see, the editors will only contact you or respond to you if you’ve messed up. I didn’t mess up.
By now the sky is a dark grey, but I assume it’s all bark and no bite. I push the idea of going for a walk out of my mind just in case it decides to bite. I sit in my messy (in an artistic, cool way) room for a little longer. That walk creeps back into my head though. Pacing back and forth. Impatient for fresh air. I grab my sketchbook and gallop down the stairs of my building. My front door doesn’t shut all the way anymore. It’ll be open when I get back.
As I step outside, I feel that sprinkling of rain. Nothing big. No big deal. Actually, it’s kind of refreshing. It’s not cold enough to be uncomfortable, so I keep walking. Up capitol hill past the gold-domed building. Past the police cars dotted with rain. Past a man with a damp cardboard sign looking for change. He always asks me. I should be on a first name basis with him by now. And, finally into 16th street to one of my favorite hang out spots, a bookstore, to grab a coffee and look at what’s new.
The art magazines are crap. A closed circle of people who cheer each other on in their media. 4 magazines containing 20 artists on rotation. Self-congratulatory jerks. Elitists with brightly colored skateboard art. Nicely printed though.
The music magazines are full of old men whose noses still have coke residue on them. And I’m just talking about the writers! 3/4 still putting pictures of The Who, or Jimmy Page, or even The Beatles on their covers. Still trying to convince me that the truly great music of the world’s history was all mad in the 60′s and 70′s. That Stairway to Heaven was the peak achievement of rock’n'roll music.The greatest song ever made. The other 1/4 is throwing images of cute “indie rock” stars on the covers. Asking, “what’s on your ipod?”. Nothing matters. These magazines know by now. And they never published my comics either.
I swing by the travel section just because I’ve never actually stood in the travel section of a bookstore. I see all of the world directly in front of me. I’ll never see it in person, will I? I’ll never see it like the guy crouched down near me, looking at a travel book will see it. He’ll go. He’ll go with his beer belly. My heart is not broken.
What’s on discount? Nothing all that great. A few classics reprinted. The Hound of Baskervilles, and Oscar Wilde.
I glance out a window and see it. Snow flying in from the side. As big a potato chips. I can hear people talking about how odd it looks. How much is coming, and how fast it’s coming. All I can think about is how unpleasant my walk home is going to be. There’s no point in putting this horrible journey off. I walk to the door and wait until I see a bus. It’s not a long wait before I burst out the door and through the cold potato chips shooting sideways at great speed through the air and colliding with my face, and I make it onto the bus. The bus with its puddles of mud and slush and cold silent people all gazing out the windows. All thinking about what terrible decisions they have made earlier in leaving their warm homes. We are all thinking this, and our misery unites us.
But now we are at our last stop. The bus will not go any further. Despite our combined wishes that it would. All of us silently wishing that this driver could find it in his heart to drop each of us off in front of our homes as we file off of the bus, one by one greeting the rage of nature. All of us walking blindly up the hill. Following each other’s footprints in the snow. Every so often looking up to notice that you are walking behind fewer people until finally there is only one line of tracks in the snow. You are past the gold domed-capitol building now. You and your unknown friend up ahead. Your own personal guide in this mess. You are a block away from your apartments now. Keep walking. You can’t feel your face anymore. You are in front of your apartment building now. No more footprints from your unknown friend. He has made it home by now. As have you.
Up the stairs. With every step causing a mini avalanche of the snow that has collected on your coat, your pants, your shoes. Up the stairs, up the stairs, up the stairs and—-
I knew that door would be open!