Swimming to Manhattan

A personal journey to Spalding Gray’s Memorial Service in NYC
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
April 13th, 2004

by John Boland (aka ‘Ratz Garcia’)

Dedicated to Kathie, Melissa, Theo, Forrest … and Spalding

Day 6 – Paralyzed

(suggested music – I Want To Be Sedated by the Ramones)

Any time I think of planning the trip, I become an immobile comatose neurotic, incapable of the most basic search. My friend comes on line and it becomes the Plan with ---. He wants to fly from England to New York but his kid is out of school that week. So, instead he wants for me to go for me and him. He is even going to send me British Pounds to help cover the air fare. I’m inspired. I look up Southwest Airlines as they are cheap out of Seattle while --- finds a way to get to Seattle. Oops. It’s very close to Easter weekend, the Memorial being one day after Easter Monday (in Canada anyway). So Southwest doesn’t have any cheap tickets but have tickets that are somewhat reasonable, so just to get to Seattle, and then the airport, and oh yeah, Vancouver is on the way. --- is brilliant. He finds there is a bus to Seattle airport that picks up 2 blocks from friends where I would stay overnight. So I’m set – at least until I check the price of the bus – almost $100 one-way! Panic, comatose, immobility. Help. --- has gone off line. I rationalize the expense.

It’s cheaper than the fast ferry and an overnight on the bowery in Seattle. Just have to double check with my friends in Vancouver. I gotta check cause he’s got this rare disease – very rare – have you seen the movie Lorenzo’s Oil where parents invent a medicine for their child with this rare disease. Any way, that’s the disease that he’s got. Average age of death is 15. He is 52. The oldest person in the world with the disease. But he does tend to fall and break bones on occasion. I used to think he would eventually go down hill and die. Well, he’s better now than ever and I now think he will out live most of us. Must be the fair trade coffee. But still need to call. They are having a visitor from some foreign country so they won’t have room – besides they tend to cocoon on occasion and I can hear it in their voice.

Panic, comatose, shit you know the rest. No Vancouver, no Seattle, no Southwest… AAAAhhhCCCC!!!

And that is a day of budget travel planning as those cheap flights start to be scooped up and the prices rise by the minute.

I just want to be fuckin sedated!

(Later I realized a very good friend had just moved to Vancouver, had lots of room, never cocooned, and would do things like drive me to the Seattle airport as she loved to drive and once I had hired her for a job which turned out to be shit but she scammed a pretty good pension out of the fuckers. And none of this crossed my mine for weeks cause my plan wasn’t working, and my modus had shifted back to panic and I just wanted to be sedated.)

With a panic attack a breathe away, I popped an ativan and fell asleep sedated and wondering ‘how the fuck am I going to get to New York… and how much money was --- sending…’ (5 weeks later, and I never received a shilling!)…(author’s note – deficiency has been redeemed!)…

back to Day 5 | on to Day 7