I begrudgingly click "purchase" on a roundtrip flight home. After putting roughly 74 trillion miles on and spending roughly 28 billion hours in my car in the last several months, I can't bear the thought of yet another drive up and down the Interstate 5, just so I can be physically present at the bank to add my name to my late mother's account.
I have to spend $300 to fly to physically sign one little document? I know it's a credit union, but don't they have the technology for me to do this remotely? Oh well, what's another $300 sprinkled lightly on top of the $10K+ layer cake that is my thanks-for-dying-come-again credit card debt? At least I'll get to see my sis and my dad. And at least I'll make it back in time for recording on Sunday.
If you didn't know, I'm releasing a solo album in July. Not only do I want to, I have to. I've been diligently booking a tour surrounding the release date, and without an album, it's pretty impossible to break even on tour, let alone put a dent in the up-front expenses of creating an album in the first place. I usually try to fundraise for such things, but fuck a fundraiser when your mom is dying. Even though the entire process from financial challenges to deadline pressures is stressing me the fuck out, this album is pretty much the only reason I am getting up in the morning, and for that I owe it to my will to live to finish it on time.
How the hell am I going to finish it in time? How am I going to pay for it? So much for that string section, you gotta leave in those synths you hate. So much for that publicist, you better start begging for your own press now. FUCK. Get it together, Lindsay. Just finish the record. Just hang on; you can do this. Don't worry, your flight will land in time for you to go to Sunday's session. Be positive.
I wake up, brush my teeth, and stuff my mom's will in my backpack. I squeeze Audrie and kiss her on the cheek, indicating that it's time for her to take me to the airport. I tell her I'll miss her. I also tell her I feel sick to my stomach.
I'm going to die in a plane crash. Or Audrie's going to die on her way to work while I'm gone. Or Haley's going to die on her way to pick me up. Or my dad's going to die from this ear infection he can't quite kick. FUCK Lindsay calm down. You're all fine, and you will all eventually die, but it's not likely to happen all at the same time, so chill out.
But I think it's going to be me, today, in a plane crash.
I settle in at the airport. I people-watch and observe funny things. I post about those things on Facebook. I drink coffee. My eyes well up with tears and I quietly allow them to spill down my face. I try not to sniffle so people don't observe me and post about me on Facebook: "There's some greasy-haired, braless lady sitting all by herself and crying at my gate. I hope I don't have to sit by her on the plane."
This is the first time I'm going home and mom won't be there. I remember all the times I drove home and wandered aimlessly around Marshall's home goods section until Haley got off of work so I didn't have to go to mom's by myself. I'm such an asshole. Why didn't I just go straight there? Now there is no there. I could travel any place in the world and she would never be there when I arrived.
I pop a Xanax on the plane and wake up in Fresno, safe and sound. Haley picks me up. I put on a bra and clothes that make me look like an acceptable person, and together we go to the Social Security office. We sit in the waiting room for hours. We see lots of broken people who speak broken English and live in a broken system. The security guards have guns and are also broken people. They conjure their I-have-a-gun-and-know-better-than you voices to yell at people walking through the front door to "STAY BACK UNTIL YOU ARE CALLED," but there is no signage posted, and people therefore think it's A-okay to walk through a door, because, well it's a fucking door. The biggest asshole of them all gets into an altercation with a male customer at the metal detector, and literally throws a fucking penny at him. A penny.
Why is it so hard for government organizations to communicate effectively and work efficiently? Put a fucking sign on the damn door so people know to wait. 'Oooh, I have a gun, my penis is bigger than yours. I like yelling cause it makes me feel important.'
I start to say some of these things loudly to my sister and she shuts me up so we don't get kicked out. I try to focus my attention elsewhere.
Aw, that baby is so cute. I want a baby. How are we ever going to afford having a baby? I hope I'm a good mom. I hope I'm not 56 by the time I feel emotionally and financially prepared to have a baby. Aw, that lady's pants have a pretty tulip print. Mom's favorite.
I point out tulip pants to my sister and we take it as a sign that mom is there with us, ready to fight the evil forces of the Social Security Administration together. We have the spirit of scrappy Jackie on our side, and we feel good about it. Our number is finally called. We explain our mother's situation. That she paid into social security for many years, and upon being diagnosed with a terminal illness, was denied disability and put on a two year waiting list for Medicare. Two years later (just in time for death!) she was sent a Medicare card and a $400 bill that would cover Feb-April.
The woman assisting us remained robotic and emotionless. Mom didn't qualify for any assistance then, and we don't qualify for any assistance now. And regarding Medicare, mom never sent back the portion of the card opting out of coverage (you know, because filling out paperwork is a super easy thing to do when you're lying unconscious in your bed, and because Medicare is apparently like our president in that it doesn't require your consent before it grabs you by the pussy), so she technically still owed $134 for February because she didn't stop breathing until the 7th of the month. We asked the woman if there was a way to waive that stupid charge, and she brought us an appeal form to fill out.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? So let me get this straight...she was punished for dying too young, we are punished for being too old, and now we are expected to PAY for assistance she never received in the first place, and the only way to avoid paying it is to go through some lengthy appeals process in which we will probably be denied? Man, it must be hard to do your job. You just make people sad all day.
I said all of that out loud except for the 'are you fucking kidding me' part, because I knew she wasn't fucking kidding me.
We do the thing at the bank with no incident. We meet my dad at Starbucks but it's loud in there and he has a bad ear infection, so we opt for lunch at quieter CPK. I am so tired; my personal size pizza looks like it would make a great personal size pillow for my bowling ball heavy head. We eat spinach artichoke dip and tell dad he needs to take care of himself. He picks up the check and tells us we need to do the same.
I can't handle something happening to my dad. I CAN'T. What if his ear ache is diabetes? What if he dies?
It's my last night so Haley and I attempt quality time in the free hours that were once occupied by mom. I pace around her apartment; she knows I'm sad and tired and restless. She assigns me comedic impressions in hopes of alleviating some of my pain. I attempt them in hopes of alleviating some of hers. We smile a little, cry a little, and eventually retreat to our individual computers and the distracting, isolating glow of bed-time streaming.
Why is everything I watch about mothers and daughters or parents dying? Maybe it always was, and I just never noticed it. I wish I could feel her with me. I wish I could feel peace. I wish my dreams were comforting and not nightmarish. Just one more episode, maybe it will help me fall...
It's still dark out when Haley takes me to the airport. I tell her to call me when she gets back home because she lives in a sketchy neighborhood. I'm tired but excited to know I'll make my recording session today. I fish around for my headphones and realize I left them at Haley's. I buy a magazine, pop a Xanax and board the plane. The pilot tells us the weather in San Diego is bad and the flight attendant tells us we can't take off until they replace some motor. They replace it and we're up, up, and away.
I'm going to die in a plane crash today. At least Haley made it home safe. I'm so sleepy.
I'm awakened from my Xanax nap to hear the pilot saying something about the fog. The airport won't let us land. He can't see the runway. We circle around San Diego for an hour or so. I drift in and out of sleep.
I'm going to die in the ocean. I'm so sleepy.
I wake back up to the pilot saying we have to land in Palm Springs so we don't run out of fuel.
I'm going to die in the desert. I'm so sleepy.
We land safely in the desert. We are not allowed off the plane just yet because this kind of plane doesn't typically come through this airport and they are trying to locate a ramp that is the right size for the door. The pilot makes a joke that the only way out is the inflatable emergency exit slide and we don't want to end up on CNN. The flight crew warns us to shut the windows because it's hot and that motor thing is still messed up so there is no air available in those little twisty thingies. There is no more water on board either. I take off my hoodie because it suddenly feels too tight around my neck and my armpits are fully sweating.
I'm going to suffocate. Ok, think Lindsay. You can take another Xanax to calm down, but you haven't eaten and you want to be alert. You don't want to be Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids in front of all these strangers. I need to get off this plane. I need to get off this plane. I need to at least ask them if they have snacks. Oh my God, here it comes. Stop crying. Deep breaths. It's ok.
A few minutes (or few hundred hours) pass and we are finally told we can get off the plane, but if we do, we are "on our own," meaning the airline or airport is not financially accountable for any additional transportation plans, rental cars, luggage routing, etc. I raise my hand with a few others and volunteer for this option. As I'm about to reach the door, a flight attendant stops me. The pilot addresses the passengers. We are now allowed to "try San Diego" again. There is no guarantee we will be able to land and there is a possibility we could be re-routed to another airport again.
No fucking thank you. Let me off this God damn plane now. It'd be different if you had water or air or snacks or were certain of a swift San Diego landing or could even let me stick my head out of that open door like a dog on the freeway for five minutes while I regained my composure, but nope nope nope. If I stay on this plane I am going to die. My lungs are collapsing as we speak.
I find a table at a restaurant at the airport. I order a hamburger and openly weep between bites. Same greasy-haired braless crying lady, different airport. (Side note, aside from me and a shitty wifi connection, the Palm Springs airport is quite lovely). Audrie, my wife in shining armor, is on her way.
I'm going to miss my recording session. FUCK FUCK FUCK. Ugh, Linds. You should have just sucked it up and stayed on the plane. But I would have straight-up died if I stayed on that plane. Just be glad you are alive and on the Earth. I hope Audrie's okay. What if she dies on the way to come get me? I'd never be able to live with the guilt. Why didn't I just stay on the plane? Why can't I get my Internet to work? How am I going to finish this record? This is totally a story I would want to call mom about. She'd comfort me and we'd laugh about it later. Wait. No we wouldn't. She wasn't that kind of mom to me. I probably wouldn't even tell her this happened. Remember that time you cried in front of her about your record and she acted like you weren't even there? It doesn't matter if you miss her or not, she wasn't the type of mom you called for this kind of shit.
Audrie picks me up and I pass the fuck out on the way home. That night I take a Xanax again. My third this weekend.
Back to Melatonin starting tomorrow, you don't want to invite a drug addiction to this grief party.
I try to fall asleep before the emotion ghosts come to get me. Too late. I sob for about five minutes straight. Audrie goes to the bathroom and gets me tissue.
Daylight savings my ass. This was the longest day of my life. I wish I could feel her with me. I wish I could feel peace. I wish my dreams were comforting and not nightmarish. I have to work in the morning, hopefully I can fall asleep soon. I need to renew my AAA. I need to email that promoter. My gas bill is due. Mom's gas bill is due. I need to reschedule my recording session and...