Fooled you, that’s Robert Smith of The Cure! Ha ha, I bet you thought my hair could actually look that good.
I was reading a post from The Reedster of The Reedster Speaks, about a (sort-of) self inflicted facial injury, and found myself sympathizing with her having taken a spill of my own some years ago that left me with a black eye and a broken orbital bone. Sounds worse than it was, I think, and I’m pretty sure I’ve suffered no lasting effects. I can’t remember if I’ve always had these headaches or… what was I talking about? Anyway, yeah, pretty sure the fall and subsequent damage was only superficial, no permanent scars or anything. It could have been SO much worse, and I’m thankful I only had to deal with being a Goth for a couple of weeks and didn’t end up dead. Shut up, yes, my black eye looked like I was wearing makeup. You’ll have to forgive the constant flip-flop from past to present tense in the following account. I was reliving the events as I wrote them and may have suffered from another concussion.
Allow me to set the scene of my near-disaster. It was the 4th of July, around 1997 I think. I’m not 100% certain that was the year, but I know it was back during my bachelor days and I was living in a 3-bedroom apartment with two friends. They were both women, a blonde and a brunette. Holy crap, I was living in an episode of Three’s Company! Not really, there wasn’t a bar called the Regal Beagle downstairs nor did we live near a beach. How cool would THAT have been?
The apartment was on the 2nd floor of an old but very nice, three-story, brick building. Normally we parked on the street and entered through the front, but there was a garage under the building where the brunette roommate, we’ll call her Janet, parked. Like I said, it was the 4th of July, and I was young, dumb, and full of, um, liquor at the time. I partied that day and into the night with friends at someone’s house across town. The plan was to get drunk, have a good time, watch fireworks, and generally just enjoy the holiday. I was totally down with that, except in the heat of the moment (it was July, after all) I forgot all about having to work the next morning at like, 8am or something stupid. I proceeded with my evening oblivious to the fact. We drank beers, joked and had fun until we could barely stand up straight into the wee hours of the morning. I think.
Front of the apartment. Fancy, huh?
At one point, I’d left that party (to which I’d driven) to ride to another friend’s house to party there for a while. Why would I go over there? Oh, they have a bunch of tequila? Great! Why wouldn’t I go! That makes sense right? Looking back on it, I guess not really. Huh. Who knew tequila could ever cause any problems? That isn’t usually a thing, is it? Regardless, I happily went to the other party with the promise of free tequila. Promise fulfilled, and then some. Good thing I didn’t drive to that second party, ’cause after the tequila we went back to the original party. It was getting dark and close to fireworks time. Oh wait, I drove to that first party. Oops, yeah, this is setting up to be a problem. Not that I saw it yet, of course.
So, back at the original party all is well. Dancing, drinking, laughing, smoking, fireworks, Happy 4th of July everyone! Woohoo! At some point after the fireworks ended, it finally hit me, through the alcohol induced haze my brain was in, that OH MY FREAKING GOD I HAVE TO WORK TOMORROW! What? Seriously? Crap. Okay, no big deal, I’ll just go home now, so I can get some sleep. I had no idea what time it was. Only thing I do remember is that, THANK EVERY GOD EVERYWHERE, I couldn’t find my keys. I don’t know if some responsible host had taken them when we arrived, or if they were locked in my car, or I had simply lost them, but I didn’t have them and that meant I couldn’t drive my car! Not, “Oh, yeah, I’m way to drunk to drive, just, “Oh damn, I lost my keys, I can’t drive.” I know, brilliant. Tragedy likely averted and I’m alive (and not in jail) today to share this story.
Frantically, I asked my friends if someone would take me home. Sadly, no one would oblige. Whether they were all too drunk, or everyone was blocked in, or they were just all big assholes, nobody would drive the belligerent drunk home. So I did what any perfectly sane (drunk, out of his mind) person would do. I walked. Home. Across town. This Google Map is an approximation of how far it was, and the route I took. I don’t remember exactly, but I know I was walking on some pretty major thoroughfares, and I definitely had to cross a bridge spanning a major interstate. It was about 5 miles. Maybe not a big deal under normal circumstances, but I was three sheets to the wind and it was probably after Midnight. In hindsight I can’t believe I didn’t get picked up by the cops. C’est la vie.
These are the stairs I somehow navigated without, to the best of my recollection, falling down. That would come later.
The real trouble didn’t even begin until I finally made it home. God only knows how long the hike took. But I was a trooper and found my way there, went inside the front as usual, and managed to stumble up to the second floor. I was down the hall to the door before it hit me again, OH MY GOD I DON’T HAVE MY FREAKING KEYS!!! Epic fail. I had survived the longest walk in the history of drunk dudes only to be thwarted from blissful, sobering sleep by a locked door. So again, I did what any rational (ridiculously, stupidly inebriated) person would do at probably 3am or so. I began to BEAT on the door and YELL for one of my roommates to come unlock the door. Genius, right? My neighbor didn’t think so. I remember the person next door coming out to see what all the fuss was about and gosh, golly was anything wrong? Actually, I’m pretty sure there was a profanity laced tirade directed at me, but I explained (I think) that, “No, it’s cool, I live here, I just forgot my keys.” In all likelihood, it sounded something like, ” BLAHAW, IITZASHHH KAYYYY, LADHHDVERRRRR FERRGTTTTOOOOA KEEESSZZZZFGHH.” Yikes.
Mine was on the left. Doubt that stuff was there back then, but if it was, safe bet I ran into it.
Again, I’m shocked, in retrospect, that cops didn’t somehow become involved, but evidently the neighbor went back inside his apartment without calling them. Good for me, right? My neighbor clearly didn’t see how badly I needed to be saved from myself. As you can probably guess, neither of my roommates were home that fateful night (morning?) Maybe it wasn’t even that late, I have no clue at present, but I vaguely remember, being desperate to get in my apartment and to bed, going back down the stairs, out the front door, and walking around to the back of the building. You see, my bedroom was in the back, and it had a small balcony just off it. Once more, as any average, clear-headed (nearly at the point of blacking out from drinking) Joe would say to himself, my next thoughts were, “I bet I could climb up there and get in a window or something! Those things are always unlocked, right? Probably! Let’s go!”
Now, this whole post started because I was reminded of breaking my face, having a concussion, and getting at least one black eye. Long story for that I know, but stay with me. I took these pictures so you could relive this with me dammit, and no, I’m not proud of this, but the world needs to know how close Janet came to killing me that night! Janet’s boyfriend actually, as he was the one driving. Intrigued? Thought so. Back to the story!
The rear of the building is where all of the balconies were located, and I figured that was my way in. “I’ll just Spiderman up the side of the building and I’m sure a window is open, has to be.” Obviously I wasn’t thinking super clearly so the window thing isn’t really that big a stretch. Also in the back of the building, leading out to a busy, major street, was the driveway to our building. It came in off the road, and down a slight ramp into the garage. Now, I have no idea how the actual climbing went except to say I did NOT make it up to my balcony. I’m sure you can tell from the pictures what a hairbrained idea it was to begin with.
Here’s the back of the building. My balcony is the second one up on the right.
[an aside- I’m writing this and the song, Another Place to Fall – KT Tunstall, comes on Spotify, fitting. Oh, and followed by, Learning to Fly – Tom Petty! LOL Okay, I’m a little creeped out now]
There were obviously plenty of places there to slip from and fall. There’s the climb up the first porch fence, the wall, the other wall, the balcony… you get my drift. INSANE. At some point during the execution my plan failed miserably and harder than walking all that way and forgetting my keys. I fell and was knocked unconscious. I don’t remember that. I only know it happened because I woke up the next day in my bed, and when I got up, probably after puking my guts out, I stumbled, probably squinting, into the living room, where Janet described to me the horror she returned home to the previous night.
Janet and her boyfriend were just arriving home (at some point after I’d already fallen) and as they were pulling into the driveway she screamed for him to stop the car. There was a BODY in the driveway! It was dark and I’m actually pretty surprised she saw the body laying there in the driveway before they hit it. The body was of course me, unconscious. Imagine Janet’s shock when SHE realized! LOL . Yeah, I doubt she or her boyfriend laughed. Anyway, boyfriend, being this giant of a man, 6’6″ probably 250+ and built like a professional football player, or rugby player, or some player who is in great shape and huge, and because the man is a prince, he apparently picked up my dead-weight, no doubt stained, foul-smelling body and hauled me upstairs and deposited me in my bed. Yes, Janet mentioned things were, um, soiled. Let’s leave it at that. I’d like to come out of this with a tiny SHRED of dignity.
I of course called in sick to work, blah, blah, etc, and explained to Janet what the Hell I had been doing the night before. As I mentioned way back at the beginning of this rambling tale, it left me with (as I’d find out quite a bit later) a concussion, and a hairline fracture in my orbital bone. If you aren’t familiar with your orbital bone, it’s the practically eggshell-thin part of your skull-bone that curves around behind your eyeball. I don’t even remember which side it was on now, but I remember being kinda freaked out when the doctor told me there was (obviously) nothing they could do to help the bone heal. It would just heal, or not, I guess, was what I remember from that visit.
I’ll leave you with one last image, of what was nearly my last resting place, of sorts. Picture it dark, oh and with a body. Yep, that was pretty much a low point for me. Yikes, bad pun, sorry. I have to go take some aspirin or something, I have a terrible headache and cant figure out why.
I like to believe that crack was there from where my head, obviously GIANT because of my GIANT brain because only a GENIUS could have come up with this plan, hit the pavement as I fell. Surprised there’s no blood stain.