A strange thing happened today, and I wasn’t sure what to do. As I was walking through the West County Mall, I was 90% sure I saw one of my fellow inmates from the loony bin getting a Cinnabon. We had been relatively close, and I really didn’t know if I should say hello or not. Here’s the strange thing about my visit to the loony bin. I forgot the names of almost everyone there. While I was there, of course, I remembered everyone’s name, and did so for a few days after I got home. But, slowly, their names were erased from my mind. So, I couldn’t have called this guy by his name if I had a gun to my head. Which complicated things. I mean, what do you say, “Hello. I don’t remember your name, but we were in the loony bin together back in December. Do you remember me?” First of all, maybe it is him and he doesn’t want to remember anything about that, especially me. (Doubtful, but maybe. I mean, I’m awesome. Let’s not forget that.) But, secondly, maybe it wasn’t him and he then looks at me like I need to return to the loony bin!
This guy’s story is one of the ones I haven’t written about, and believe me, it really deserves its own entry, but I’ll put it here since I may (or may not) have seen him today.
We’re going to call this guy Phil. (Obviously, I have no idea what his real name is, but I like “Phil”) Phil came in one day and said that he was there after a “momentary lapse of reason.” Okaaaay. Weren’t many of us? Well, Phil assured us that he was different. And, we believed him. He told us he drove through his garage and that was why he was in the loony bin. Okay. As I have mentioned before, it was an unwritten rule that you didn’t ask anyone why they were there. Some told, some didn’t. So, Phil decides to tell us all his story. It’s a doozy, I assure you. The entire time he’s telling it, my mouth would drop open, I would gasp, and put my hand over my mouth in awe! Have I built it up enough?
Phil said that he had a list a mile long to do the day before he came. He said, “It was just like any other day. I had an entire page of things to do.” The first thing that happened before he even left home was one of his dogs peed on the floor. He told us that his dogs never do this, so it was odd. But, it was very irritating and since he had so much to do, he now had to clean this up before he could even get started! The rest of his morning went just like that. Everything went wrong. So, he goes to the airport to pick up someone. This other person didn’t know what flight they were on or what airline, so he went to the airport, waited for 45 minutes and said aloud, “Okay. That’s enough! I’ve had it!” And drove off.
He then drove to his home and opened the garage door, and just kept driving. Literally, he drove his Range Rover through the garage, through the laundry room, through the home office, and into the living room where he was stopped by a brick wall. He left the car running, took his dogs upstairs, opened the windows in the room, and shut the door. Then, he went downstairs to the bar, opened his best bottle of scotch and drank it all, along with a whatever Valium he and his partner had in the house. He mentioned that he was surprised they had anything like that, since they don’t usually use medications like that. Then he closed the garage door, got in his car, and prepared to take a long nap. He said he did feel sorry for whoever found him, and that would probably be his partner, but he just couldn’t do it anymore. Almost 3 hours later, his partner did find him and he was still alive. He was brought into the hospital and then transferred to the loony bin with the rest of us freaks who just didn’t have as fantastic a story. 😉
Well, needless to say, we were all in shock. This guy should have been dead. I told him, “Phil, God wanted you to live for some reason. He kept you alive for a purpose. There is no way you should still be here.” He agreed. He was somewhat light-hearted about the matter and said, “Well, we were considering fixing up the home office anyway, so that saved us some time. Plus, now we have a three-car garage! No one else does in our Clayton neighborhood!” He also told us the figure they estimated to repair everything. Staggering, I assure you. Plus, he got a ticket for disturbing the peace. IT’S TRUE!!!!!! A $500 ticket. Crazy.
Phil was going to get to go home the same day I did, which would have put him in the loony bin only one full day. He said he and the doctors agreed that he had just snapped and wasn’t in need of any medication, but did need to seek counseling and get a lifestyle change. Just a momentary lapse of reason. We all snap under pressure. Just not to that degree, I hope.
Before I left, he sat down with me and said, “Michelle, you and I are a lot alike. We try to please people all day long. People call us and ask us, ‘Can you just do this one quick thing for me?’ and we think, okay. Then it becomes overwhelming. We need to learn to say no. I can tell that you are such a sweet person and good mother. I have a feeling you know exactly what my normal day is like because you have days just like that. You and I have to learn to limit what we do once we get out of here.” I told him I completely agreed and I would be cleaning off my plate immediately. He said he was too, after gets the brunch invitations out. (Yeah, he lives that kind of lifestyle, where you have invitations printed and sent out for brunches.)
He told us all a story about setting expectations too high (sound familiar?). He was having a large group over for Thanksgiving and everything was going great until he ruined the gravy. He said he went ballistic. He started crying. He felt the meal was ruined. His partner took him by the shoulders and said, “Phil. Calm down. It’s just gravy. I will run to the store and get some cans or jars of gravy and no one will know the difference.” Phil let him and realized he was right. He almost let the gravy ruin the whole event. No one said, “Is this jarred gravy?” They all had a wonderful time. Phil said he needed to remind himself of that many, many times. I think we all do. In fact, I just read in some magazine that some woman said that her best gravy recipe for Thanksgiving was a jar and can of different store-bought gravies put together. She said everyone always raves about her delicious gravy. She never tells her secret.
So, I don’t know whether I saw Phil today or not. I decided not to approach him. I was kind of having a mini-breakdown because I couldn’t find where I parked my car. But, that’s a completely different story.