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Rollercoaster Journeys

The misadventures of a young widow.

Month

March 2012

Worst Case Scenario


As a member of Generation X, I am one of many who were raised by a single mother.  Our mothers were the product of the 1970s feminist movement, bearing witness to the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972.  While this was an empowering step for American women, it happened to coincide with the rise of single parenthood in this country.  Single parents have to juggle raising their kids with “bringing home the bacon”, so many of us raised by single mothers seem to have an ingrained sense of self-reliance. Growing up, I can’t count the number of times I heard phrases like “Whatever you do in life, make sure you can take care of yourself,” and “You don’t need a man to be successful.” Now I can’t thank my mother enough for drilling these ideals into my head; they have served me well over the course of my life. Even after I got married, I was hell-bent on making sure to guarantee my future security.

A couple of months before Chris and I decided to get married, I was involved with a close friend’s upcoming nuptials. While she had dreams of being a princess bride, a phenomenon I was unfamiliar with, everything that could go wrong with her wedding almost did. I won’t go into any specific details, but this was the stuff of wedding-planning comic-lore. During months following the wedding she seemed very distant and didn’t want to do anything that didn’t involve her husband. By the time this reality sunk in I was already engaged, planning my own wedding, and terrified of losing my own identity. The combination of my observations of her newlywed life and my own fears led me to confront her about my concerns. It wasn’t the smartest decision and in hindsight, I know now that I was seeing my own doomed future. I remember pleading with her about the importance of being self-sufficient in case something was to happen to her marriage or, worse yet, her husband. Little did I know at the time was that I was talking to myself.

It was that conversation that led to a severe bout of depression as I worked through my first semester as a Humanities grad student. At the end of the term, I decided to switch from Humanities to Special Education because I knew I could get a job. I was marrying my best friend, who just so happened to be a fun, laid-back nice guy with the unfortunate side-effects of irresponsibility and a lack of motivation. I knew one of us was going to need a “real job,” which led to me shifting my graduate work in a direction that was more practical, and thus began my career in teaching. It was a good move and one that would serve not only me, but us as a couple well in our then-unknown tumultuous future.  Just as my mother taught me, I made sure I could take care of myself.

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Red Flags vs. Denial


In the weeks leading up to Chris’s diagnosis, the fact that he became as ill as he did was highly unusual. He hadn’t caught more than a cold since I met him, and hadn’t had the need to see a doctor in over 10 years. Between the two of us, Chris definitely came from “heartier stock,” while I was just grateful to have a pain-free day. The lifeguard definitely wasn’t on duty when I was swimming around in the health end of the gene pool. I was born with a rare congenital disorder, which caused numerous medical issues during my adolescent and adult years. On top of that, being a teacher meant that I came down with every cold, flu, or infection my germ-infested, but lovable students brought to school. I got sick more often and always took longer to recover than him.

At the beginning of October 2008, I came down with some kind of funk that I undoubtedly picked up from one of my kids at work. Chris started getting sick just as I was starting to feel human again. I apologized for passing off whatever crap I had to him. This wasn’t the first time, nor would it probably be the last, so he just laughed it off.

Not too long after that, it wasn’t as jokingly routine anymore. I started to get worried, really worried, but tried to convince both of us that he would kick this bug in no time (he later confessed to me that he was really worried too, and did exactly what I did). After two weeks of having flu-like symptoms, I suggested he take a ride down to Urgent Care. It was a Wednesday and our anniversary (first date, not wedding) was that coming weekend, on Halloween. I figured if he had strep throat, then he could get started on a cycle of antibiotics ASAP and have a shot at enjoying the plans we made for the weekend. He was sent home that day with scripts for penicillin and hydrocodone to treat what appeared to be a nasty pharyngeal infection.

As expected, he seemed to get a little better over the next few days and I thought he’d be back at 100% well before his 14-day antibiotic cycle ended. Even though he was feeling a little better, his energy level was still in the toilet so we postponed our plans, but decided to at least toast our anniversary. I made him a double Three Olive Kamikaze, his favorite. Chris and I were seasoned veterans when it came to drinking socially and we made the perfect duo when we went out. Throughout our entire relationship we rarely drank at home, but went out with varying frequency (depending on the time of year and ) to a handful of places in town, usually accompanied by an assortment of friends. Given our lubricated history, I figured he could handle the drink I mixed for him with no problem.

Two things happened that night that stood out in my mind; red flags that I tried to deny out of fear. We talked about something arbitrary while we had our drinks standing around the dumping ground for our laundry, known by name for a different function as the free-standing bar. Given the convenient location, he took his sweatshirt off and the t-shirt underneath came along for in front for the ride. It was the first time in a few days that I had seen him without a shirt on and he looked damn good! Don’t get me wrong, he was always an attractive dude, even with the 30 pounds of comfort-weight he had gained since we met several years ago. Overnight, it seemed, his Buddha-belly had shrunk considerably. I remember warning bells going off in my head, but I was able to push those back as I was simultaneously eyeing him with no less shame than a group of bros watching the stripper at a bachelor party.

Shortly after ogling my husband’s bare torso, I noticed he was becoming increasingly chatty and chipper. Now, one of the things I loved about Chris as my drinking partner was the type of drunk he was, the happy, sociable kind. The only drawback was that at 230ish pounds on a muscular frame, it took far more than a double shooter to get him buzzed, which accounted for his half of our healthy bar tabs. It didn’t take too long to realize that after one drink, he didn’t have just a good buzz, he was shitfaced! For the second time that night, warning bells were going off in my head, but yet again, I was able to block them out by my excitement over his heightened mood. He had been feeling like crap for over two weeks and I hated seeing him like that. He was feeling no pain and didn’t have a care in the world, and that helped ease my worries, while conflicting with the nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right.

A few more days passed, during which time his recovery seemed to plateau and then his symptoms became worse than they had been prior to starting the antibiotics. That Thursday, a week and a day after he went to the doctor, I decided to come home from work and take a nap before heading to my class later that evening. This meant backtracking 25 minutes away from campus, just to turn around and add that time onto my long commute to class during rush-hour traffic. Apparently that day, for whatever reason, naptime was worth the sacrifice.

Shortly after I got back to the house, Chris came home from work. He looked like death; his skin was grey and it took an enormous amount of effort to take his jacket off (and it wasn’t even zipped up). I told him he needed to go back to Urgent Care and tell the doctor that since the penicillin didn’t seem to be effective, he needed to try another course of treatment. He complained of being too tired to go through the ordeal of getting checked out by the doctor. I pointed out that clearly, that was not a good sign and in fact, was an excellent rationale for expending the energy. I usually wasn’t insistent about anything he needed unless it was REALLY important. He was a big boy and I wasn’t his mom; furthermore, I certainly wasn’t the type to nag someone, but that day, I became the nagging wife. He didn’t put up too of an argument and agreed to go once he had a chance to lay down and take a nap. Since that was my original plan, I told him I was laying down too, but as soon as I got up, he had to head to the doctor. He agreed pitifully before crashing out on the couch…with his shoes still on.

I was up about an hour later and woke him up. He got up, shrugged into his jacket, and walked out the door. Little did either of us know, it would be six weeks before he stepped foot back in our house.

Overboard


The day I was born (well, maybe the next day after sleeping off a 36 hour labor) I wonder if my mom, as a new mother, looked at her beautiful baby girl and thought, “I can’t wait to help this little bundle of joy spread her husband’s undocumented cremains, which she smuggled through security hidden deeply in her luggage, in international waters!”? I doubt it.

It all started a week after my husband died. Mom decided that what I really needed to take my mind off of my grief was a vacation. For those of you who have never been on this side of such a situation, taking a vacation shortly after the death of your spouse if a BAD idea.  Unfortunately for me, to a handful of friends and my family this seemed like an excellent idea.  I can see how this would make sense to someone on the outside looking in at me.  Here’s this person that just spent the better part of the last two years in concurrent states of perpetual worry, insomnia, chaos, and poverty, juggling the realities of being a cancer spouse. After what can only be described as a series of events straight out of Murphy’s Law for Dummies, she found herself widowed and lost in reality aided by a nice case of PTSD. Of course she needs a break; book her on the next flight!

And that’s almost exactly what my mother did. In her infinite wisdom, she decided that we should hold off for a few months before departing on I affectionately call the Anti-widow Tour 2010 (or AWT-10 for short) for very practical reasons. First off, it was April and seeing as my mom was a teacher on the traditional September to June school schedule, she had to work for another couple of months. Secondly, she felt I might need a few months to adjust to my new marital status before I was ready to party, international style. Lastly, tickets to the Caribbean tend to be cheaper during hurricane season, and since she was funding this little sabbatical on her ample teaching salary, cost had to be considered.

Four months was just long enough for me to accomplish several things. I moved out of the loft we were living in when (and where) Chris died and into the spare bedroom of a townhouse belonging to an old friend.  She was grieving the loss of her son just a few months earlier, and there’s nothing like commiseration to make the living situation a little more comfortable.

A week following my move, I had a complete nervous breakdown and slipped into a coma for four days under questionable circumstances. It was two days before anyone found me, after which I was admitted into ICU and given a botched spinal tap. Within hours of regaining consciousness, I mistakenly checked myself into a psychiatric hospital thinking I was signing discharge papers. The psych hospital wouldn’t even admit me, given that I was still too physically ill up for therapy.

Since I couldn’t play the starring role in my rendition of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” I did a brief stint at my parents’ house, and it was here that I desperately tried to recover from what my mom affectionately calls my “crash and burn” as quickly as possible. Once I could sit upright AND perform any task requiring energy simultaneously and without the hassle of excruciating pain, it became clear that I needed to start dealing with my reality as a young widow…so I ran away.

Four weeks to the day after an ambulance was dispatched to transport my unresponsive ass to the hospital, I got in my car and made a beeline for the Northeast with my friend Karen, who was also seeking to escape life. After a few days of misadventures in Martha’s Vineyard (another story entirely) we found ourselves lost in the backwoods of Maine, trying to find our way to Karen’s friends’ place without getting raped by a moose.  It was here that I had my first experience of having to confront my status as a widow…and openly admit to it.

We spent the weekend crashing with a couple in their flat situated above the flower/antique shop they owned in a tiny town an hour north of Portland.  Obviously my current life situation came out during the course of conversation that first night, with the assistance of numerous libations.  A few nights later, we were invited to dinner at another couple’s house, where I let it slip that my husband had been a chef.  The hostess proclaimed how great it must be to have husband that cooked all the time and began asking questions about where he worked, what type of fare he specialized in, etc.  Thankfully, I had help explaining that my husband had previously been a chef but given the fact that he was no longer in existence, I no longer had someone to cook for me at home.  It was at this point that I increased my consumption of wine, but got through the evening regardless.

As we high-tailed it back to Virginia so that I could put a deposit down on another place (sans roommate), it dawned on me that I had survived my first experiences of conceding to the notion that Chris really was gone.  Once I got home I had to face the fact that I was starting a new chapter in my life, and moving OUR furniture into MY new apartment was definitely a blatant indication that I just couldn’t ignore.  A little over a month later, it was here that I found myself furiously packing for AWT-10 with absolutely no desire to leave my apartment, much less leave the country.

A friend of mine was cat-sitting for me while I was on vacation, as she finished up her summer internship nearby.  Thirty minutes before I needed to leave my house with just enough time to barely miss my flight, she asked me if I was bringing Chris’s ashes with me. Considering I hadn’t even thought to pack a bathing suit at that point, taking my deceased husband along for a ride on the cruise from hell hadn’t even crossed my mind. I ran up the stairs and dug the urn out of the back of my closet.

Earlier that summer, I spent the morning of my birthday divvying out some of Chris’s ashes to take with me to New England the following day. As a result, I had a few one-cup portions of Chris stored in the urn on top of the Bag-O-Ashes mom picked up from the funeral home the day of Chris’s memorial service. I grabbed one of double wrapped, quart size Zip-Lock freezer bags and an old jewelry box from my dresser, and ran back down to the tornado of clothes sitting in a pile on my living room floor next to my empty suitcase. Just before zipping up, I stuffed Chris in the jewelry box, wrapped the box up in a pair of cargo pants, and wedged it into the middle of the clothes pile, which I had successfully shoved into my suitcase. I ran out the door, threw my bags in the car, and took off to meet my mom for our flight, quickly forgetting to mention that her son-in-law was coming along as a stowaway.

A week later I found myself sailing on the “SS Nuptual’s Bliss,” inundated with cheesy commercialism of ginormous and ridiculous proportion. I also seemed to be the only single-ish woman on vacation. Everywhere I looked there were couples – nothing but uber affectionate, disgustingly cute couples! Three on-board weddings and five “Just Married” logos later (one of which was bejeweled across some chick’s bikini covered ass), I found myself taking solace in only three things: imagining myself diving overboard with no one noticing,  sleeping/passing out, and alcohol – lots and lots of alcohol (which went hand-in-hand with #2).

Apparently my sunny disposition was rubbing off.  Every time I ordered a drink, my mom (who NEVER drinks) found herself indulging in fruity concoctions of all kinds. For a woman who spent almost a decade telling me I was an alcoholic every time she got an inkling that I had had a drink (it sucks being the daughter of an over-sensitive product of an alcoholic family AND marriage), she turned out to be an unlikely drinking buddy and held her own pretty damn well.  I have always been a happy drunk and she actually admitted that I was more fun after a few drinks.  This encouraged her to put several rounds on her tab, thus encouraging me to become happy more frequently.  I think she realized that if you give a depressed widow alcohol, the results might actually be favorable!

As for our additional company, around the third day onboard Mom finally asked what the burgundy box in the safe was. “Oh yeah, I decided at the last minute to bring Chris along with us and totally forgot to tell you. Sorry.”

She took the news relatively well and asked where and how I planned on scattering him…or was he coming home with us too? Then she inquired about a fairly significant matter: had brought the certificate of cremation with me, just in case anyone asked (i.e. airport security or better yet, customs)? To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t thought to bring the certificate with me; in fact, I wasn’t sure where in the hell the damn piece of paper was! As for disposing of my late husband, again, hadn’t thought that part through yet, and now I had to. And so I did…and was paralyzed by the idea.

By the last night of the cruise, I knew I had to sack up and take care of Chris’s ashes.  While I really should have been motivated by the idea of closure and gaining some spiritual connection to Chris and the Earth, none of that came into play during this process. After dinner, as Mom and I walked back to our room to finish packing, she asked me if I wanted any help taking care of Chris. I declined, figuring this was something I needed to do alone, just me and him.

Our cabin was located in a forward corner of the sixth deck with a balcony just outside our room that seemed like the perfect place to start. Yeah…not so much! Just above us was the captain’s deck with panoramic windows. I had to find somewhere inconspicuous and this is where my odd assortment of experiences dealing with the ashes of other people came into play.

It all started a decade earlier with an episode of Frasier. Frasier, Niles, Martin, and Daphne drive out into the country to spread the ashes of their late aunt. The camera angle is looking into the car from the front windshield, focusing on Martin and Daphne (the dad and his nurse, respectively) having a conversation while sitting in the car.  This perspective also shows the brothers (Niles and Frasier, for those of you not familiar) standing outside at the rear the car trying to figure out how to open the urn. At one point, the top comes off (or the urn breaks, I can’t remember which) and the two guys are now caught flailing in a whirlwind of cremains blowing all over them. While I nearly wet myself watching this, I did pick up on the lesson of the episode: be gentle and never stand downwind!

A few years later, my biological father presided over his father’s funeral service, which involved spreading the ashes over my grandmother’s grave. He was really nervous about not only performing the ceremony, but also spreading the ashes in such a manner that wouldn’t attract the attention of the church’s staff, as the laws governing the disposal of human remains are quite complicated. He called me up the night before the service to get some advice so I told him the only thing that I could think to say in a situation such as this, “Make sure you stand upwind!”

Now my dad shares in my odd sense of humor, so his response was not one of revulsion at neither the pragmatic, yet mildly insensitive nature of my comment, nor the idea of being covered in his dad’s ashes. Instead, he laughed hysterically and thanked me for the dose of perspective, which he later told me helped him get through the service.

A couple of years after this, my grandmother passed away, and since the Pope said it was okay, it was her wish to be cremated. On the morning of my grandmother’s funeral mass, my mom charged me with getting my grandmother’s ashes out of the house without my grandfather noticing, and getting her safely to the church. I don’t know what my mom was thinking?! My family can count on me for two things: I will inevitably fall flat on my face in any attempt to do something that requires coordination, and I am always half an hour to an hour late for everything. Given these two major flaws, I was still expected to get my grandmother to her own funeral in one piece (well, the urn anyway) and on time – HA! As I rode to the church, situated in my dad’s truck between him and Chris, my grandmother’s urn was in a box on my lap, safely buckled in. When we got there, I managed to climb out of the truck (I’m short…the truck’s not) and make it across the churchyard to the side door with both of us intact. My husband’s version of this part of the story is so much better than mine, and it goes something like this:

When I got to the door, I awkwardly got the door open without putting down (or dropping) my grandmother. It was at this point that I paused for what he explained looked like a moment of contemplation, while holding the door open with my hip. For some reason that I can’t recall, I had to prop the door open. Chris said I stood there for a few seconds, looking back and forth between the inside of the church and the box in my arms containing my deceased grandmother. He was convinced that it looked like I was considering the notion of propping the door open with the box. It was at this point my mom screamed at me from the parking lot, “If you drop your grandmother, I swear I will kick your ass!” It was this comment that distracted whatever thought process was working in my head, so I can’t confirm or deny his suspicion. Needless to say, I managed to get my grandmother safely inside and did not use her as a doorstop.

These experiences definitely helped me work out the logistics of handling my husband’s cremains.  The hard part was facing the decision between letting some of Chris go over the side of a cruise ship in the Caribbean, or explain to US Customs the next day why I was trying to smuggle undocumented cremains in my baggage back into the country. My life was complicated enough; it was go time!

After wandering around the ship alone with my husband in my purse, I broke down and requested my mom’s assistance that I had turned down earlier that evening. I believe my exact words were, “Okay, I need a spotter.”

I had reasoned that the best way to do this was to find a secluded spot on a lower deck as far aft as possible. This would reduce the chances of some innocent vacationer enjoying a nice, evening breeze on their balcony, inadvertently traumatized by the taste of my husband as s/he got hit by a mini ash cloud.

Mom and I walked around for about a half an hour and found that the third deck was the lowest we could go with the option of open-air decks. It just so happened that this was also the deck that had the lifeboats mounted above. As we stepped out onto the deck, we were happily surprised to find it deserted. We walked all the way to the end, and as I surveyed over the railing to make sure there weren’t any decks downwind, I pulled Chris out of my purse and considered the best way to go about this. The railing was about two feet from the edge of the ship, which meant I was going to have to lie down in order to reach out far enough to get the necessary clearance. My mom looked at me as I was considering my options and asked the question that would prompt one of the most bizarre arguments I’ve ever had. “So, are you just going to toss the bag overboard?”

I was horrified! Of course not – I recycle! “No, I’m not going to litter! I’m going to empty the bag over the side of the boat, not toss it in!”

Her response was priceless.  “You smuggled undocumented cremains over international lines, breaking who knows how many laws, and your biggest concern is a fish choking to death on a plastic baggie?”

Hearing her reaction did in fact, make my argument sound relatively foolish given the circumstances and possible implications, but I stuck to my guns. “Point taken but I’m still not chucking the bag in the water. Can you just look out for anyone coming this way while I do this?”

Given that I was saying this while lying down to get into position, my mom decided the best way to go about spotting me was to take her long-sleeve, dandelion yellow, button up shirt she brought along in case she got cold, and wave it over me in an effort to obscure the view in case there was a camera mounted nearby. I had to turn my head to the left, smashing my face against the deck, so my right arm could get as much distance as possible.  When I was finally in position, I turned the bag upside down, holding it by the bottom. I expected the ashes to dump out in one, maybe two shakes. Nope!

As I furiously shook the bag for what seemed like an eternity, I got increasingly frustrated, and started cursing my husband under my breath. It was at this point that Mom, the avid photographer, gleefully announced, “Oooh look, it’s so pretty blowing through the light!” followed by “I wish I had my camera with me,” with a hint of disappointment in her voice.

“Are you kidding me?! This is not a fucking photo op! Holy shit, why is this taking so long? My vows said ‘Til death do us part,’ and I definitely fulfilled that. This was not part of the deal!”

It took another couple of seconds before the bag was completely empty and I could peel myself off the nasty floor. We walked down to the bench near the door and sat down so I could smoke a cigarette, while having the mini-meltdown over what I had just done. It wasn’t the first cup of Chris I had scattered and certainly wouldn’t be the last. Regardless, it was still heart(re)breaking to acknowledge that my best friend really was dead and I really was having to deal with it.  There was no harder reality check than disposing of his cremains, however little bit there was. Mom did the best she could to come to the rescue. She gave me a big hug, telling me how proud she was of the strength it took for me to do this.

I pulled myself together, and as I finished my cigarette, looked down at the baggie that was still in my hand. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of handling cremains, they are light grey and white in color; leave a powdery coating on anything they come in contact with, similar to that of flour or some other white, powdery substance. It occurred to me that on a cruiseship, it was unlikely that anyone who spotted the empty baggie in my hand would think it was flour that had been inside. Considering what the contents really were, I didn’t want anyone suspecting me of having a bag of blow, only to find out upon analysis that it was really human remains. Neither of those scenarios would look favorable during an initial observation. I quickly shoved the bag into the empty Sprite can I had, and as we were walking to our room, I left it on a littered room service tray in front of some random person’s door three floors below our room.

As Mom and I walked down the hall to our room, I asked her if this was on her list of mother daughter bonding experiences she imagined having with me in the future as she held her beautiful baby girl for the first time. “No sweetie, when you were a baby, this was definitely not something I could have possibly dreamed of doing with you. But if it’s any consolation, I’m glad I was here to help.”

Posthumous Debt Collection Fiasco


I don’t think there’s a crueler experience than getting phone calls for my late husband. Getting mail for him isn’t so bad since I don’t open my mail anyway, so I don’t have to explain to an envelope that the person they’re looking for is never going to contact them. Phone calls are a totally different story.

Late one October afternoon, just six months after my husband passed away, I left work and was making the 30-minute trek to meet some friends at a familiar hangout spot for a “therapy session.” The three of us taught at the same school and over the years, had fallen into the habit of meeting for a few drinks once a week to vent about work, life, PMS, etc. I hadn’t been driving but maybe five minutes when my phone rang. With one hand, I dug around in my bag, hoping to find it before my voicemail picked up. Success! I didn’t recognize the number (and should have known better) but answered it regardless. The woman on the other end asked for my husband by name and I replied, “I’m sorry but this is not his phone number.”

She identified herself as a customer service rep for a debt collection agency, which didn’t surprise me. Battling cancer is not the cheapest of ventures, especially when it’s funded by a public school teacher early in her career. I let her know that Mr. Gerdin was deceased and had been so for several months. After some brief interrogation regarding who I was (none of her business), she resolved to give me the company’s address so I could send her a copy of his death certificate. Just when I thought I was in the clear and could hang up and have a good cry over admitting, yet again, to a perfect stranger that Chris was gone, the CSR asked if my name was Elizabeth Collison.

Somewhat hesitant to answer, I replied, “Um…yes, this is she.”

“We have another account that is attached to this phone number that just came into our office. It’s not active yet but since I have you on the phone, how about we set up payment arrangements?”

I was stunned, which is not a good space for your head to be in while you’re driving. I had no idea what the bill was for or for how much, and didn’t she say the account wasn’t even active? “I’m sorry. I haven’t received a statement yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll contact you to make payment arrangements.”

“Well ma’am, we find it’s difficult to contact our customers, and many of them are less inclined to pay the balance on their accounts, so let’s do this now.”

Are you kidding me! This woman called regarding a matter of my dead husband’s and, upon finding out that the customer she’s trying to solicit is obviously not available, she has the nerve to hit me up for an undisclosed amount of money for who knows what on an unrelated account? Furthermore, did she seriously just imply that I was shiesty and wouldn’t pay up? The rage that washed over me was both immediate and intense. I’m generally polite to people who work as CSRs or telemarketers (hey, they got bills to pay too), but this chick definitely figured out how to push me over the edge in a matter of seconds. “Really? You call asking to speak to my recently deceased husband and after requesting his death certificate, you ask his widow to make payments on an account that isn’t even active yet? Couldn’t you have waited a few days and called back? Do you even have a soul?”

After a few more seconds of ranting and throwing some very colorful phrases in her direction, I realized I needed to hang up before the blinding rage caused me to swerve into an innocent motorist. So I did…just as I was midsentence through another onslaught of obscenities. I spent the rest of the drive gripping the wheel with such force that I probably lost a layer of skin peeling my hands off when I got to the bar, but was definitely too pissed off to notice. That evening turned out to be the most productive therapy session we had in the history of the tradition.

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