Post-Amy Stress Disorder

I slipped out of San Diego without saying goodbye – just a short phone conversation during her lunch break. I don’t like goodbyes all that much – better just to slip out the side door and move on. I didn’t even wait for Rory to drive me to the airport. I was done with Ocean Beach, my home for the past week, and ready to move on. I was tired.

Physically tired, certainly, and mentally weary as well. It’s been a grinding couple of months, and my stamina has been sapped. Crashing on the sofa of a whirlwind who is trying to figure out if she has a boyfriend or not, who loves wine a little too much, and finds sleep optional is not how you regain your energy. Luckily this time around Amy was starting a new job – a square job with square hours. That meant we only stayed up way too late three-qarters of the time, and I had mornings to recover while she had to go to work. “Have fun,” I’d croak as she passed the sofa on the way out the door. Then I’d roll over and try to sleep some more. That only worked once.

Ocean Beach is a small neighborhood, and is geographically isolated from the rest of the city. That means it has managed to hang on to some of its small-town charm, and it means that if you don’t have a car lying around your options are limited. It wasn’t long until I well knew all the places of interest. There was the brand-new amazingly cheap cafĂ© with free Internet, run by a really weird guy. There were other, swankier places with Internet, but not for free. Once I had locked Amy’s door behind me I spent my days in those places, trying to string words together, but, in my frazzled state, editing was the activity of the day.

Then it was off to the O. B. Grille, which became my office in the late afternoons when I had no place left to go. This is where Amy knew to find me when she got off work, finished her evening activities and negotiations with Cute Boy, and was ready to play. There was no question of sneaking in any writing later, The only thing that ended the evening was sleep.

Now, in the calm after the storm, I miss that wildness, the unpredictability that is Amy. She is a tiny little Las Vegas, a loud and constant invitation to excess, all bundled up and ready to travel. You know when she is there. As the night begins, there is anticipation. Amy is grinning ear to ear, only a little bit crazy yet, and the night extends before us, a journey into the unknown. Somewhere along the way someone says “one more,” and you know it’s not just one more, and someone has to be the designated walker or you’re not getting home.

Like Las Vegas, that sort of lifestyle can only be sustained for a few days before the brain goes into rebellion, shuts down, and leaves you for another head. When you part with Amy, the rest of the world seems muffled; your ears are still ringing after a sternum-thumpingly loud concert. Cowering behind their defenses, your synapses are still tender, still skittish. When a stimulus punches through the scar tissue it rasps across your raw psyche like a cheese grater. You jump, the look of a trapped animal in your eyes, and blurt out “One more!” You are suffering from PASD, Post-Amy Stress Disorder. It’s in the medical books. Look it up.

As I was driving through the desert my thoughts began to slide into their old grooves; a story was born, teased, and buried (one little bit stashed away for future use). There were too many cars for a Saturday. I sighed, relieved, disappointed, adrift, vaguely missing something, already looking forward to the next time I enter Amy’s world.

18 thoughts on “Post-Amy Stress Disorder

  1. I assume you meant to type PASS and will correct the acronym shortly …

    I once had a friend with characteristics similar to Amy’s. She would just energize any room she was in, so going out with her was always a blast. But afterward, there was complete exhaustion, because she was like an amphetamine — not actually giving energy, but causing the people around her to feel energetic by tapping into their reserves.

    She just had the most awful luck with men — or maybe, it was subconscious self-sabotage. Three times she got engaged, set a date, in one case even sent out invitations, bought a dress, arranged the ceremony, the whole nine yards; and all three times the guy ditched her, the third time less than a week before the wedding. (That would-be groom’s mother later told her, “I was hoping this would really be the time he went through with it — he’s done this same thing five times now.” Sure would have been nice to know the guy’s history before spending $20,000 on a wedding that didn’t happen!)

    Her mother and I did worry a lot about her, but there wasn’t much either of us could do. She was on her own trajectory. I’ve lost track of her, and I was recently trying to relocate her, but all I could find on the Internet search sites was that the two “minor in possession of alcohol” charges she’d had as a teenager (both charges dismissed and supposedly purged from the records) have now been inflated to serious but unnamed charges that prospective employers will have to pay $50 to see. What do you want to bet that most prospective employers won’t spend the bucks, but will simply deny her the job?

    It’s hard to figure how much of this bad luck is truly just luck, and how much is self-inflicted, either intentionally or unintentionally.

    But, yes, the Amys of this world are exhausting, exasperating, and, still, exciting.

  2. Bratri Seeger na Praze

    Got a brief sighting of Jerry & Fuego as they were about to be driven to the airport this morning. Fuego will probably be back in a couple of weeks for a non-union job in Albuquerque. Hotelsmobile will be available for him but Saturn could presumably be moved back to Los Alamos.

  3. Jer, sorry that we didn’t get the hook up. I have been down and laying low with the broken jaw I got trying to chase down the tweeker I attempted to apprehend whilst breaking into my truck the Sunday morning twice previous. I’m on a strict diet of heineken and vicodin. Fruit smoothies at food calls.

    Look for me on the Chargers game versus the NY Giants and Eli Manning the Charger-spurner, September 25 ESPN Sunday Night NFL broadcast @ 5PM san diego time.I’ll try to make a scene for the TV cameras.

  4. PS. You might be a redneck if you are watching the NASCAR race September 4th and see me there. It’s at Cali Speedway in LA with a start time of 4PM LA time with broadcast on TNT.

  5. I had to work hard, using 5 different computers and 6 different browsers, but I claim visit 22,003. What a thrill!

    I was there just happy to monitor when somebody from Prague showed up as visitor 21,198 and I panicked. Good thing, too, because we could have ended up with an egg frier (22,006) or an NMSU student who wandered over from Jer’s software hut (22,007). But instead you get me.

  6. And how many hours did your employer pay you to go from computer to computer until you’d racked up the magic number?

  7. I wonder if that NMSU person who wandered over from the Software Hut was the same NMSU person who arrived at Five O’Clock Somewhere looking for Alan Jackson song lyrics. Surely he or she should have found the song lyrics long before getting down the list to MY site.

  8. You know, it’s really kind of hard to get into the MOH routine when all the signs on the doors and office stationery still have John’s name and icon on them. Just my luck to be MOH during a time when Jerry is unable to attend properly to his vast media empire.
    Everyone just carry on as if John were still in charge, please.

  9. Janice is ever so right. The REAL power is the female half of any couple. I’ve met Janice and Jeni, but I don’t even know the name of Keith’s better half. Keith, can you fill us in in the power behind your throne? Better yet, maybe she could give us a statement about herself.

  10. B-O-R-I-N-G.

    C’mon Jer get off yer ass and get us some humor here. Enough lollygagging with your psychosomatic PASD.

  11. Carol Anne,
    Those wishing to know something about Kristi need only click on my homepage to learn about her, at least up until April 2004, when apparently my family ceased to exist. Coincidently, May 2004 is when I began to spend way too much time hanging out at this blog.

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