Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Comfortably Numb

The lyrics are by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. This one has always spoken to something inside of me.

The stream of consciousness is by me. I have laid out the lyric in portions and will fill in the spaces between with type-as-I-think-it ramblings. I might get at what makes the lyric talk to me. I am going to start with an image of me during my cocaine days and see where it leads. It might get hairy. I am going to publish it as soon as I am finished typing.

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?

Line after line after line, up my nose and then washed down the back of my throat by huge gulps of vodka straight from the bottle. Why?

Come on, now.
I hear you’re feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again.

When I played in bands, it wasn't so much the music as it was the performance - the being in front of a crowd and the adrenaline rush. It's the same rush that can get me into trouble gambling. Or sexually. Playing ball, too, but on a much smaller scale. I'm always attempting to fill the same void.

Cocaine filled that void for me. Cocaine was applause in a baggie. When I did it, it felt like everything I did was a bravura performance. There was a constant standing ovation in my head.

I need some information first.
Just the basic facts:
Can you show me where it hurts?

This writing thing is totally different. There is little immediate gratification. I can imagine the reactions of certain people (for instance, sometimes I imagine my Mom fainting dead away, unfortunately) but there is no way to feel the moment with another person or group of people as there is with the other things I've mentioned. I could hover over someone's shoulder as they read, but that's too creepy. Anyway, it changes the reaction.

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re sayin’.

Always something. Always a need. This fills the need for now, but when will I go off the tracks again?

MY WIFE is it for now and for as long as she lives. She is just herself and that is enough for me. Without her, I would have killed myself years ago. Not intentionally, but through some stupid thing I would have done if I didn't have her to come home to. Leave me alone for too long and I'm looking for something to connect the dots in my subconscious; I'm fucking up in one dangerous way or another.

What is the solution? What is the secret? Why do I need to look over the edge?

Is my fear of heights a part of this? Roofs, fire escapes, bridges; I'm afraid I'll end up over the edge somehow. Am I afraid of heights or am I afraid of me?

I can't quite grasp it.

When I was a child I had a fever.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I got that feeling once again.
I can’t explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

More lines. Every cent I have and then as much credit as anyone foolish enough to give it to me is willing to extend. I can't get enough. I am running away running in place. I am trying to escape by moving closer. I am consolidating my psychoses.

That was then. Now I am blowing up every day, cursing, swearing, obscenities just blasting from my mouth like some poor Tourette's sufferer, except I can stop it. Except I can't stop it. This job is driving me apeshit fucking insane lately. I am not a nice person to be around for much of the day. And the people here don't deserve it. They are way too nice.

I want the feeling I get from the white powder, without actually taking the white powder into my body. It has to be out there somewhere. Where is it?

Just a little pinprick.
There’ll be no more - aaaaaahhhhh!
But you may feel a little sick.

Love. I have plenty of it. My parents loved me and gave me what I needed, including education. So did many other relatives and friends. And I'm not a stupid person. It isn't because I don't know what the risks are. And I can be very happy just reading a book or having a quiet dinner or listening to music or watching some lovely silly cartoon with MY WIFE.

Music. I search out fast beats and discordant arrangements. Sure, I appreciate some mellow stuff, but I come alive when the music matches the tempo of the cocaine experience. More adrenaline. More. I play the bass and I can't play fast enough. I literally can't play fast enough. I hear notes in my head that I can't play because I can't play fast enough, damnit. I've been playing for close to 30 years and I could play for another 600, but I can't play fast enough.

Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working. good.
That’ll keep you going for the show.
Come on it’s time to go.

I've been clean of cocaine for about 17 years. The void is still in me. I will not fill it. I cannot fill it. Nobody else can fill it for me, though some can make me forget about it for long stretches. I live with it. I'm OK.

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re sayin’.

I've been given way too many good things in my life to complain. Way too many. I've thrown away a lot of them without realizing until they were gone just what I had. Whenever I've needed something, I've gotten it. Sometimes not as fast as I would have liked, but I got it before it was too late. God takes care of me for some reason. I am a Sullivan. We do not hit lotteries, but we never starve.

I can't fill the void. I want to eliminate the void. I have to eliminate the void without filling it. I have to rip out an empty space and throw it away. How does one do that?

Don't send out the medics. I'm not going to rip out anything.

I am happy, overall. But... what?

I can't quite grasp it. I want dreams, but I also want the numbness that comes with acceptance of loss of dreams. Above all, I don't want to be forced into one or the other. I want choice, always. I am getting older and I fear that I have less choice as the years pass.

I can't quite grasp it.

I am Jim. I am OK. If you love me, you should not worry. This is just opening up the valve and letting off some pressure. I will type happy tomorrow.

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.


Stu said...


Anonymous said...

Wow. Even though I've never had an addiction like you had, your writing helped me understand it, and even expressed feelings I've experienced. Thanks (again) for sharing so eloquently and honestly!

Unknown said...

Wow. I am an addict. And reading this brought tears to my eyes. Almost as though I had written this. Thank you.

Suldog said...

Glad - and sad - that we share the feelings, Andrew. I'm glad my writing struck a chord, and I hope it helped. I'm sad that we both needed it.