I had my Saturday with Mr. Hanson, dream date extraordinaire. He is such an asshole. He walks in the door dressed like it’s Wednesday, as if his entire life is spent in those cheap “nice clothes” that teachers so often wear, like they’ve had them for decades but can’t afford or be bothered to shop for anything new. He says to me all sunny like, “I think it would be good for us to just take today and get familiar with each other.” I said if he wants to get familiar with someone he should go home and do it with his wife. I’m sure she’d be happy for the change. He immediately changed gears on me and threw some pamphlets down in front of my face with a nasty snarl. They were for SAT tests, and I just had to laugh. I told him, hey, what are you, deaf? I’m not going to college, and I’m not going to put myself through any of these de-humanizing, categorizing, and petty ranking exercises.
I should know better than to say such things. He of course went off the handle, talking endlessly about how I’m killing my own future, resigning myself to a limited existence, and how his college years were the best years of his life (again with this…what’s he been doing with the rest of it, I ask you?). I told him that the more he opens his fucking mouth about it, the more I want to dig post holes for the rest of my life. I’d rather stuff cheap toys into cereal boxes for the next 50 goddamn years than to listen to even ONE MORE middle-aged loser with his best years behind him tell me how I’m letting life pass me by. Hanson’s sitting here, at my parent’s stupid kitchen table, on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning, talking to a person less than half his age who doesn’t even like him, and he’s accusing ME of letting life pass by? I guarantee you that on his death bed, Hanson is going to look back on the time he spent with me and he will regret it. He will mention my name with tears in his eyes as some unfortunate soul turns him over to wipe his ass and clean his puss-filled sores; Hanson will feel the coldness of the wipe on his withered rump cheeks and he will say, “Pendel…why did I do it?,” confusing his orderly for life. And at that very moment, fifteen-hundred miles away, I will suddenly stop in the middle of my nightly chat-room masturbation session, drop the hunk of shoelace I was using as a tourniquet from around my neck, bringing to a screeching halt the autoerotic asphyxiation session that would have otherwise taken my life. I will then suffer a grand mal seizure, the world around me will dissolve away into a silver-grey mist, and I will abruptly come to my senses fifteen months later in a Russian slave-labor camp on a bright, sunny, Saturday morning while embroiled in a heated conversation with a young Russian man named Pavel, who is seated across from me at a table in the middle of a well-kept Russian slave-labor camp kitchen. I will be angrily shouting that he is wasting his life, and he will be asking me how I got the scars around my neck. I will never be heard from again.
But all of that has yet to happen. For the time being, there is Mr. Hanson, and he is asking me what I will do after graduation. I shrug. I don’t really care to answer him. He presses me. “Don’t give me your disaffected youth bullshit, Pendel,” he says. “You are going to have to do SOMETHING. Even if it’s only living on the street or pushing drugs. I just want to know what it is.” Pushing drugs. Ha. Who came up with that saying? Is it truly possible to push drugs onto people who don’t want them? I said to him, hey, you know, that’s a decent idea. I hadn’t considered it. Thanks.
It was odd to watch his scowl deepen into his face. It happened slowly, as if he aged in front of my eyes. It was kind of cool, really, like a special effect in a movie. I said wow. He said “Wow what?” I said, look man, I don’t know what to tell you. I haven’t thought about it that much. I’ll probably move out and get a job somewhere.
He gazed at me and after a second he kind of snorted and he said, “From what I hear you’ll have to get out of jail first.” I said, fuck what you hear, and even so, what difference does it make to you? And he says, “Nothing, but you should know that it can be hard for an ex-con to find a job, Pendel.” I had to laugh at that. Touché. We touched on how he has spoken to other teachers about me, and how they all think I am smart, but VERY disinterested, and my attitude makes it hard for anyone to want to reach out. My only comment to this was I am happy to know at least ONE thing I had planned turned out the way I wanted. He shook his head, but I think he could see that I am completely full of shit. The truth of the matter is that I simply have no idea where to go or what to do. I don’t fit in to this world and I am at a loss to know what to do next. He left, but said, “Same time, next week.” I am just all a-shiver with anticipation.
A couple of days later, I was going over all this crap with Dr. Douchenheimer the Wonder Shrink, and he asked me why I am so resistant to Hanson’s—or anybody’s—help or advice. I’ll tell all of you what I told him: I don’t know why. I just am. Then that bastard Douchenheimer had the balls to smile. I said, what’s up, douche-doc? And he smugly leans back in his richly-leathered chair and says, “Well, at least you admit that you’re resistant.” I said, hey that’s fucking great. You’re a genius. You gonna publish a paper on me now, Dr. Leather Chair? And he said not yet, and I said, yeah, I think you should hold off on that for the time being.
After leaving his office, I got winded for no reason whatsoever and had to sit down on a bench. It scared me, and I got all anxious and weirded out, and thought about going to the hospital, but it passed fairly quickly and I decided to ignore that it even happened at all. I just sat there for a while and thought about things. I thought about me. It ended up being too depressing of a pastime and I made myself stop.
I watched a man cross the street with a red hat and headphones. He was smiling about nothing, which is always an odd sight to see. A cop car was crossing against his path—and against the fucking stop light, of course—and had to stop suddenly to avoid hitting the man in the red hat, who stepped up his pace 0%, which I of course admired. The cop in the passenger seat yells out his window at the guy to get out of the fucking way. The guy in the red hat just smiled even bigger and kept walking. The very millisecond the man cleared the path of the cop car, it lurched forward inexpertly with its sirens on and lights flashing. It was such a bullshit move on the cops’ part, done only to justify their asshole behavior, and it was so obvious to me a few moments later when the cops turned their lights and sirens off again a few blocks away that they needed to make noise in order to cover up the man in the red hat’s defiance. Their power was nothing against a person who had done nothing wrong but yet chose not to bend to their will. They had guns, but still they had to wait.
I felt, and still feel, grateful to the man in the red hat who smiled at nothing. He gave me a very small shred of hope, whether I want it or not. And BTW, didn’t I see a man smiling at nothing the last time I left Dr. Duchenheimer’s office? What’s that about? The world is too ominous for its own good.