The Oriole Incident.

My name is Roland Bland. There are some things that I need to say. The silent brooding, something I’m quite famous for, is getting old. And it might even be getting dangerous.

When I stepped off the porch this morning, to go collect the mail that’s been piling up in the box, a bird shit in my left ear. I figured it was a rain drop. When I used my pinky finger to smoosh the water around, so I could restore my hearing back to normal, I instantly knew I wasn’t simply dealing with water. The damn bird must’ve dive-bombed me, because the excrement didn’t land on my ear or on my shoulder but in my goddamn left ear. Not going to be a good day.

I’ve heard stupid people say things like, “getting bird poop on you is a sign that it’s your lucky day!” No. Today is not a lucky day. Like any other rainy day here, the air outside is thick enough to gag an asthmatic mongoloid child, and everything faintly smells like human piss and dryer lint. The tires on my bike haven’t magically re-inflated, my mother-in-law still refuses to die, and the usual stuff is all over the paper: floods, economy in the toilet, one of my childhood heroes accused of rape. No. Today is not my lucky day.

I don’t want to bore you with the details, but I think it’s important to give you a little bit of context. I’m 34 years old, I do freelance photography (for weddings, bar mitzvahs, junior proms, all the usual stuff), and I live with the mother of the wife that left me two years ago. “Why is that,” you ask? Because when I say the word “left,” I mean that same old cliche that’s in too many sad movies: she went out for an abortion and never came back. When I went to pick her up that day, the apathetic nurse informed me her brother picked her up. And before you ask, no, she doesn’t have a brother. I got a letter from her a week later that read:


I am writing to tell you not to worry. I am OK. I am not coming back but I am OK. I knew you would never forgive me so I had to leave. I am sorry. But I am just too tired of being sorry all of the time.


Fucking bitch. I don’t want to think about it right now but when she got pregnant, I was ecstatic and I thought she would be too. Turns out, I didn’t know her nearly as well as I thought. But that’s a story for another day. Right now, my biggest gripe is that, after two years, her mother is still living in the apartment upstairs and she refuses to die. At this point, I’d even settle for just a stroke that renders her permanently speechless.

Of course, when she came down this morning (the usual stuff: she knocks, waits 1.3 seconds, then opens the door and walks in as if someone said “we’re not busy at all here, please come in!”), she started in with the lucky day crap. She’s gotta be, what the hell is she, like 88 years old now? Something like that. The woman is unstoppable. She has fallen down the stairs four times already this year, had a massive heart attack 7 months ago, and has been newly-diagnosed with diabetes. But no, she never dies. And she probably never will. And all the time, she tells me how terrible life is for her because her only daughter left her alone to rot in an attic apartment, and no one cares enough to check in on her anymore. Yes, it’s all guilt aimed at me. Despite the fact that I take her food shopping once a week, clean her cat litter box, take out her garbage, and bring her the mail every couple days. And I think it’s been exactly two times (TWO TIMES!!) that she’s asked me how I’m dealing with Louisa’s disappearance.

Again, I don’t want to bore you with the details. But now you know what I’m dealing with. And now you know why every day feels like “just the usual stuff” to me. I’ll say more about it all later, but right now I need to make a declaration.

Something has to change. I refuse to keep going on like this. I’ve been so depressed, my therapist even disowned me last month. Now, there are sometimes spans of three days when I don’t speak a word to anyone other than my dead houseplants. I’m scaring the crap out of myself. So I have to fix it. I was never like this before. Three years ago… I still had friends, a beautiful wife, a great job that I actually loved, everything was great. I’ve always considered myself to be pretty adventurous in spirit, even though I’ve always been very conservative in my actions. But I swear to Christ, something has snapped inside of me. And very recently. I am losing my shit. God, I never even used to say bad words, and now I do it constantly; it’s become like a nervous tick. And there are days when I spend all day (literally, ten hours at a time) thinking fantasizing about walking up those stairs with a kitchen knife (I have some good ones that I recently bought off of late-night infomercials. I tried the thing where you effortlessly slice a beer can in half: it worked!) and just carving that old windbag up and cooking her in the backyard BBQ like a fish filet. I think about whether or not the neighbourhood dogs would eat her cooked flesh, and I wonder which marinades taste best to dogs.

But I’m not a violent guy! That’s the thing! I’m a nerd, for cryin’ out loud! I don’t know what’s happening to me. But something has to change. Something has to change, something BIG has to change. Things have to change NOW. And if not now, then soon. Or something terrible is going to happen. I know, I know, another stupid cliche. People always think they’re going to explode, and then they never actually do. But I’m telling you. But, am I telling YOU. Something. Perhaps MANY THINGS. Something is not right with me. I don’t know what to do. But I’m going to do it.

After cleaning out my ear sufficiently, getting rid of the old bag, and having my morning coffee, I did finally manage to relax enough to settle down and read the paper. It was a boring experience, the usual stuff again, and I felt lonely. I know I’m losing my mind, and I need to find a way to save myself. But I think I can hang on for another day. I hope I can hang on for another day.


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