I have determined thus: Just because they gave me a driver’s license does not mean I am qualified to use it.
Last week, I managed to keep an engagement to visit a friend. Who recently moved into the city. Cities make me feel like I am a side character in a Mad Max movie. There is a madness, an all-out, cut-you-off-at-the-knees-while-driving Rat Race for getting there before anyone else, when the only place you’re going is deeper into a post-apocalyptic world of brazen insanity populated with bad cars and fugly-ish people. The decrepit housing looks like boxing for humans, rat boxes, mice cages in a lab. A Mad Scientists Lab. Some crazy jackwad who is experimenting on the human race, shocking it, training it, pushing it to its psychopathic limits.
I got to the Talcony-Palmyra bridge alright, with a little help from my friend – Map Quest. The thing about obtaining directions from a reliable source, like a friend, or Map Quest, is that you may assume the “getting there” directions will be exactly the same as the “Leaving there” directions. In most cases, like normal living environments, such as towns, or rural places, this would be true. But in the violent traffic mayhem that is the inner city, this notion is remarkably WRONG.
Which is to say, I got lost.
And then. It began to rain.
So now, not only do I not know where I’m going. But I can’t see either.
I pulled into a side street and phoned my friend to come and find me, please… As I sat in my locked, un-armoured car, waiting to be rescued, I studied the mock humanity veering towards me from the grey, cracked streets, blowing towards me like trash, lowered heads shrouded in hoodies. Certain relevant facts ticked through my mind. Especially this one:
There are 400 murders a year in Philadelphia.
I sat there in my locked car thinking about how I do not want to get murdered. Then, to keep my paranoia in check while waiting for the rescue squad to show up, I nervously scratched out the following list:
10 Reasons I Do Not Want To Get Murdered
I left home without washing the dishes. I can’t let them catch me with a dirty sink. And dead people can’t do dishes. dammmmit.
My underwear is definitely clean. But of questionable vintage.
I have so much to live for. Like – I haven’t used up my Social Security benefits yet. I, for one, do not want to die without getting things evened up with the government. They owe me and I want it all back.
The lawn needs mowing. Well, that actually kinda makes me look forward to getting murdered. just a little.
I’ll never find out who wins “America’s Got Talent”. Of course, this also means I am spared the agony of watching the despicable Howard Stern express his worthless opinions. Score another one for gettin’ murdered.
I’ll miss my new, 32 inch flat screen TV. But if I get murdered and die, I’ll probably get to come back as a ghost, and watch my favorite shows on other people’s better, 52 inch flat screen TVs. (LIFE: + 2 pts, GETTIN’ MURDERED: +3 pts)
I’ll miss all of my spring flowers blooming. But then, of course, I’ll see all the blooming flowers a girl could want. Laid out over my grave when I’m six feet under and ‘pushin’ up daisies’. ( GETTIN’ MURDERED:+4pts)
I want to live to a ripe, old age and die peacefully in my bed. But I was probably gonna die a slow agonizing death, anyway, like from cancer or an obstructed bowel. That explodes all over my sheets while I’m Sleeping. And then the cops break into my house and take pictures of me for the final death report, and someone puts it up on Facebook. Which would be humiliating, even if I was dead. (GETTIN’ MURDERED: +5 pts.)
I’ve yet to write the Great American Novel. But if I get killed now, nobody can rightly say I failed. (GETTIN’ MURDERED: +6 pts.)
I’ve never been to Paris. But they would’ve hated me there, anyway.
. . . . .
Once I realized there were worse things than getting murdered, I plucked right up and felt cheerful again. There was nothing left to fear. I drove *home, drank a bottle of wine and made up a brand new list:
TOP TEN PEOPLE I WANT TO KILL BEFORE I DIE.
I wrote it all in pencil. That way I can erase names and add new ones as necessary. Or maybe I’ll just expand my list a little, ya know, to like, THE TOP TWENTY PEOPLE…or even the TOP 400. I don’t even think I know 400 people. But I’d consider taking cheap shots at complete strangers. Like, the ones who beeeep! and scream at me while I’m preoccupied with getting lost in traffic in an unfamiliar part of the city. Afterall, if I can’t contribute to society in a positive, meaningful way, at least I can help cull the herd a little.
* Incidentally, it took me 2½ hours to get home – what should have been about a half an hours drive. The reason I do not travel into the depths of cities to begin with. I think I need more country friends.