“This is the last mornin’ that I wake up in this dirty city
Looking for the sunshine as the buildings block the skies
This is the last mornin’ that I wash in rusty water
Tryin’ to shave a face that I don’t even recognise”
—- Shel Silverstein
After that walk I took with Allen to see his childhood home, I didn’t hang out with him and the gang as much. My adult self can speculate that his racist outbursts had finally been what got to me. That it was the last straw on top of this big pile of shit I’d been quietly observing. That the toxicity of that lifestyle had finally reached my limit… but I honestly don’t remember what my thoughts were. As I’ll keep saying, I was in survival mode.
I was barely surviving.
It really sucked.
I still had some money I’d saved before the roofing company had let me go. After all us scabs got kicked off the roof in Kansas and I got frostbite and almost lost my big toe. The rent was paid through February and I’d made sure I was NOT going to get as hungry as I’d been before. I even went to The Salvation Army to get a box of essentials. I was good for a while.
But it still sucked.
I have this clear memory of laying on my shitty little bed in my dingy little basement dungeon of a room. I was looking up at the ceiling and this Dr. Hook song “Last Morning” came on my shitty little radio.
It was such a cheesy song but it brought me back again. Back to those days of my old Rochester, Minnesota high school and subsequent cool party pad a million miles away.
A million years ago.
One year ago.
“This is the last mornin’, that I try to breath the heavy air
Fight the crowds, avoid the traffic, watch the world turn grey
This is the last mornin’ that I drink my coffee standing up
Smile and speak to strangers who just turn and walk away”
Yea, the lyrics didn’t really fit my life. I don’t know why I found myself identifying so much with these words but… I heard them and sang along and started crying.
Yea, I was crying.
“This is a tough cold city here
And I’ll guess I’ll never cut it here
And I’m so tired of tryin’ to stand against it all alone”
I felt so stupid. Why the hell was I crying?
“This is the last mornin’ that I wear these greasy overalls
Punch the clock and do just what I’m told to get along
And face the long evenin’, layin’ close beside my radio
Imaginin’ the kisses of the girl that sings the song”
I didn’t even have a job now. I had no idea how I was going to get a job with no ID and still no desire to call home so I could get one. My big toe had pretty much healed but the money was going to run out soon and I had no plan, no prospects and no ideas.
Still crying, still singing… Still feeling silly, I was now singing at the top of my voice.
“Down below the subway’s screaming
As I lay here halfway dreaming
Looking at the ceiling, wondering where, the dream went wrong (where, where)
This is the last mornin’, that I’m gonna have to think about it
I’m going home”
No, I was NOT going home.
At some point I got up and started doing what had worked for me many times before (and since). What now seems to me to be my survival mode thing to do after experiencing a crisis. When ever I feel truly trapped and/or afraid.
I started walking.
It was the middle of the night and I just started walking. I didn’t have any idea where I’d go. I had no idea what to do. I just needed to be walking. Perhaps like Allen needed to be breaking glass.
I needed to be walking.
I wasn’t thinking of Allen though. I wasn’t thinking of anything. I was just…