Homemade Signs & Late Valentines


Before I begin, I wanted to say that over on Monkey Barn I wrote about Survivor and pondered whether you'd want your EX's next boyfriend or girlfriend to be hotter than you. Also, on SoapBox I list one thing I miss most about Canada. (Hint: it ain't the people on TV wearing clothes.)


I had so many great plans for this week. It was to be Love Week, complete with stories, flashbacks, questions, analysis, humor, advice, and maybe even some matchmaking. I would have been a hero at the end of this week; Nay: a god.

Last week I was battling a head-cold; moderately severe, and I wasn't worried. It had already started to dissipate, or so I thought. Apparently a large fan of Kurt Russell (and what illness isn't?), my headcold took two days off to "backdraft," and then roared back meaner than ever.

In the meantime, a secondary and possibly even tertiary illness invaded my body (at this point the best guess is infection, but it could have been plague). The result of which was a 72 hour period where I was about as sick as I've ever been in my life. Let's put it this way: both my ankles swelled back up after the sickness was over, but my body was so weak by this point that it didn't even register. Good times.

Anyway, this week didn't happen. I thought about postponing everything to next week, but I had been planning ahead and already had next week all mapped out as well. The best I can do is a few belated Valentines.

I actually tried to post these Wednesday, when I was still way too weak to be out, but I wanted you the readers to know that I cared. (Also, I decided to download some love poems to read aloud to Kaida, because, in the immortal words of Carlos, "Chicks like that shit.") Sadly the library internet was down (by now, most of you familiar with my life are not a bit surprised), and this didn't come about. Before I write my post today I will mention a few if that's all right with you.



HYPERION'S VALENTINE'S LIST (BELATED, BUT DON'T HATE)

To my Dad - for going above and beyond the call of duty this week. I may write a column about what it was like to be sick, but it's so graphic and icky that it'd probably have to be HyperionX. I can't even describe what he did for me while I was ill, but let's just say that greater love have no man than this for his sick son.

To Koz - for finding out about the showing of all five Best Picture nominees back to back to back to back to back and getting me all excited about it. I don't care if I have to crawl; I will make it there.

To the many generous readers - for donating and helping make that trip possible. (And to those who asked: yes, my Paypal account is in Canadian dollars, until I can get an American bank account and switch it over, but through my dad we can transfer and access the funds, so please keep sponsoring me for all the events you'd like to see me write about. (There must be a Beef Jerky festival or porn convention someone needs covered, right?))

To Bear - for turning 28 either Tuesday or Thursday. (In true Hyperion fashion, I can never remember if his birthday is on the 13th or the 15th, but either way, Bear rocks. If he were on the Bachelor, I'd watch.)

To my Monkey Barn - for plugging along as well as they can without me, and being good sports. (Well, most of them.) I promise guys, I have big (BIG) plans for that place when I'm back and stable. In the meantime keep up the good work.

To Taco Bell - for being open late.

To Fat Black Women - for always being right about everything. (Seriously: when I finally get around to codifying the Hyperionic Code Section Three, that has to be one of the new rules. Have you ever seen a movie where a fat black woman wasn't right?)

To the incredible night clerk here at my undisclosed hotel - As a fellow writer she understands how hard it is for me to get my message to the people, and allowing me to sneak in here is a major boon.

To Jack Bauer's dad - For showing us what cutthroat really is. Jack's a chip off the old block.

To Jesus - for visiting me in the middle of the night when I honestly was thinking I might not live until the morning and making me feel better. I may write about this encounter too, maybe for next week.

To new readers - for showing up. When I do manage to get online I don't really have time to read all the comments, but I do scan them, and every time I see a new name it warms my heart. I have no idea where these new people are coming from, but I likes it, I loves it, I wants some more of it. (BY THE WAY, IF YOU ARE RELATIVELY NEW YOU MAY NOT KNOW THIS, BUT YOU CAN SIGN UP TO RECEIVE AN EMAIL LINK EVERY TIME I POST SOMETHING NEW. JUST SEND AN EMAIL TO hyperionexiled@gmail.com AND ASK TO BE ADDED TO THE MAILING LIST.)

To Helvetica the Sea Monster who lives in the pool in front of my trailer - for not eating me. 'Nuff said.

and to Kaida - for calling me every day, trying to cheer me up and keeping me company through the realm of Despair. (One thing, though: leaving a trail was a good idea, but I'm not sure how wise it was to leave skittles. I've been eating them every chance I get, which means we may never get out.)

Okay, on to what I want to say:



HYPERION GETS SEMI-SERIOUS, IF ONLY FOR A MOMENT

Wednesday was tough; no doubt about it. I went quite a few days with little or no food in me, so that my body was weakened, my normal legendary stamina missing. (And somewhere Skippy the Wonder Lizard chuckled and said, "I got your legendary stamina right here....") My head cold and cough made it difficult to breathe well, something the cold crisp air did nothing to help. (Do you think Hyperion wore a jacket? Not hardly This becomes an issue later. Let's watch!.) Finally, both ankles were swollen, making standing and walking, even with a cane, hazardous.

But like I said, I wanted to talk to you all, so I ventured out. I went to the library, which is brand new and looks like a fancy museum or concert hall. Just beautiful. My architect friend Marcellus would spend hours just staring. When I have more time/energy I will go back and wonder. However, I was just there to try to get online, and maybe pick up a book or three. I also had to get back to the trailer by 5:45 to get my sister to work by 6:00.

So I tried to do too much. I never should have tried to look up books and find them and carry them with a cane. Stupid stupid stupid. The result was that I collapsed in the elevator, and could not for the life of me stand back up. I lay on the floor of the elevator for some ten minutes, feeling helpless, and understanding what it's like for those who are truly imobile. Several times people came to use the elevator, but upon seeing me fled, either because I scared them, or simply the prospect of helping me up seemed too daunting. This made me feel ashamed, and did nothing for the impromptu pity party that had started when the Internet went down.

I finally made it to the car, only to realize it was rush hour traffic. Getting to the trailer to pick up my sister was very difficult, and by that time my blood sugar had dropped to the point where my saliva started to get gummy. (I'm hypoglycemic.) I needed water at least, but a missing pants snafu cut the timeline to get to work razor thin, so we had to race off without any relief.

By the time I dropped said sister off I knew I was in serious trouble. Not only was I unable to create moisture in my mouth, but my eyes started to dry out as well, and fainting became a real fear. I stopped at a run down gas station to use my last dollar fifty to by a sports drink and a $0.25 Little Debby Oatmeal Creme Pie. By now I was fully feeling sorry for myself, and I decided I deserved it.

The gas station I stopped at was interesting in a sociological way. It was 200 feet from a brand new gas station, at the corner of a major intersection and across the street from the Civic Center. The new gas station had a mixed clientele, all sorts of people passing through in their cars. This older gas station was all poor black people from the neighborhood. They'd probably been going there for years, and the appearance of a newer better place right up the street didn't mean anything.

There were drug dealers out front, but they didn't bother me. I went inside and found my drink and my oatmeal cookie. I was pulling my money out (which was all in nickles, dimes and pennies), when it fell to the floor in clatter. I hate it when I drop change. I always get so embarrassed. I went through a period several years ago where if I was going to eat the food I purchased was going to come from change, and you quickly get over that shame. But I guess it comes back, because I felt all the eyes on me as I tried to pick up my money.

Unfortunately this was just one too many events in the afternoon, and I collapsed again, taking a display of Golden Flake potato chips with me. If there's one thing more embarrassing than needing to use change, and dropping said change, it's falling down while picking it up and taking out merchandise in the process. I could have wept.

It was at this point that one of the drug dealers stepped in. He and his "entourage" were in the store to buy various goods, and upon seeing me in my predicament he leaped in to to help. Well, he didn't exactly leap, but he had his people do so, telling them, "Get down there and help that man. Can't you see he's a cripple?"


That stung.

Not the word--I don't consider it negative in the slightest; merely a description--but that it should be applied so easily to me. Yet what was I right then if not crippled? The helpers aided me in retreiving my change and completing the transaction. I shuffled to the door with my cane when I heard the dealer speak again: "Shorty, give that man yo bucket of chicken. Can't you see he can't even afford a coat?"

In this weather (high twenties/low thirties Fahrenheit) it was indeed frigid to these Georgians, and anyone without a coat must be destitute. I was so weakend by this point I didn't even try to explain that I just get hot. One of the guys sullenly handed over a bucket of KFC extra-crispy. This was the greatest thing to ever happen in the history of man. Earlier that day I had told my sister I wanted some KFC, and now here it was.

With a renewed spring in my hobble I made my way to the car. I sucked down a few ounces of "purple" drink and took off.

If only the story ended there.

One block up there was the arena, and standing on the corner were three white women in their twenties, bundled up in designer coats, hats and the works: all worn to show off great figures and fabulous hair. They were holding up signs of some sort, and since it was a red light I strained to see what they were trying to communicate. The signs boiled down to something along the lines of "NO MORE ANIMAL CRULETY" and "ANIMAL RIGHTS NOW."

Putting two and two together I gathered the circus was in town, and these co-eds were braving the tough conditions to show how much they cared about giant elephants. (I'd love to tell you they wore leather boots, but I wasn't close enough to see.)

The three started to cross the street, chatting together, waving at honking cars and drinking some sort of hot beverage from Starbucks. (I'm going to guess soy-milk lattes, but that'd just be conjecture.) From the other direction came a man. He was in his sixties, nominally black, although his skin seemed almost faded. He was dressed ratty, a threadbare coat, and he had his own sign, which I couldn't see at that point because he was facing away from me. The man held out a cup or tin or something, and even from forty feet the familiar "homeless guy spare change pantomime" was obvious. The three girls recoiled as if as one, and one of them went so far as to pull out a can of what looked to be mace and wave it threateningly in the old man's direction.

This happened as the light changed, and as I crawled up to go through the intersection (there was a lot of traffic built up), I cursed them silently in my car. I was already preparing the blistering op/ed piece I'd write about how standing up for animal rights may be laudible (and I'm not even convinced of that), but if you can't treat your fellow human being with dignity and respect.....yada yad yada.

That's when I saw his sign. Unlike the young women, it wasn't cute and bubbly. It was old cardboard, wet and barely legible, but I could have read it from a thousand feet:





"I have come so far. Please help."

Those words cut into me like a blade through my soul. For reasons I can't begin to explain I immediately started crying. (Even sitting here in the hotel lobby I find myself tearing up just writing this.) Ignoring the outraged honks behind me I slammed my car into park in that intersection and got out. I made my way over to the man, and wordlessly pointed to the passenger side of my car, unable to speak.

He looked fearful and wary at first, but then nodded and got in. After we got out of the intersection I managed to compose myself enough to ask the man where he wanted to go. He mentioned a church. Normally I would have no idea where anything was (except the library and the hotel), but as luck (or something) would have it, I had just seen that very church, across the street from the gas station I'd stopped at earlier. I'd never been on that road before, but I was that day and happened to see it.

I turned around and took the man to the church parking lot. He got out with his sign and shuffled over to the steps to sit down. There were services going on inside, but he was either waiting on someone or afraid to go in. I felt like I'd done my duty and prepared to leave. As I turned my head to check my blindspot I saw the bucket of chicken on my rear seat. I sighed and shook my fist silently at God, who was obviously just toying with me at this point.

I got out of the car again and took the bucket of chicken up to the man. I didn't know if he'd accept charity so I didn't ask. I just handed it to him, turned around and got in my car to go home.

On the way I ate my oatmeal cookie.


***

I don't have a moral for you. A great orator could find one. Hell, I'm usually good for a "draw the lesson together for the folks" kind of thing, but not today. All I know is that I was then and I continue to be struck by the words on that man's sign: "I have come so far. Please help." I have a feeling those words will be important to you this weekend and in the coming days. Look for them and see that they don't go unheard.

Hyperion
February 16, 2006

6 comments:

Flawed & Disorderly said...

So I read the comment at the top of your header where it says "every man." Why have I been thinking you were a Lesbian? Do I have you confused with somebody else? I thought, "Crap! A port. lesbian hates me!" :D

Sea Hag said...

If I didn't know you as well as I do I'd have thought you made that all up. I'll try to mail you some chicken.

Biff Spiffy said...

Wow.

Thanks for being you. Srsly.

tiff said...

Hyperion. Wow. You amaze me.

Is it too early to be thinking about a Monkey Barn-con to get you outta there for some R&R? You seriously need it. There will be beef jerky and skittles on the menu, I can promise that.

Lady Jane Scarlett said...

Hypey, you are too amazing. You're in my thoughts and I'll be sending you pirate hugs.

Hyperion said...

Flawed - I have much in common with your better lesbians

Sea Hag - mmmmmm.....postal chicken....

Biff Spiffy - You're welcome

Tiff - Monkey Barn Con will happen.

Lady Jane - Pirate hugs; do they come with booty?