Stalled

He sat in his car after therapy and did battle.

He was parked on a hill. His wheels were swung in as the law demanded. But the damn ignition wouldn’t turn. The wheel wouldn’t turn. The automatic transmission wouldn’t turn.

He’d spent all this money on his car. He’d had his license since he was 18. He’d driven to Vancouver and back. He was a man of the world, the Hustler magazine Asshole of the Month for December 1999, and yet he was stalled.

Something was very wrong with his life.

He had two and a half hours until the onset of Yom Kippur. He knew there was no need to panic. He’d been in this position before with various cars. What you do is jiggle the wheel and the ignition and the transmission and eventually things would free up and he’d be on his way.

He jiggled the wheel to no effect. He jiggled the ignition to no effect. He jiggled the automatic transmission to no effect. He couldn’t even shift into neutral. His key just hit a lock and wouldn’t turn.

It didn’t seem fair. He was almost finished with his second year of Alexander Technique teacher training. He was a model of poise and grace. He wrote essays about the tranquilizing benefits of the Technique. He’d just published a book review in Spectrum magazine. He’d interviewed Joe Montana, Bill Walsh, Steve Young and Tom Landry. He was a seminal blogger. He was the future of journalism and always would be.

Damn, damn, damn. He never thought he’d be 44 and broke and tired and unmarried. Where were his kids and PhD and critical acclaim? He always thought he’d be a star by now, wouldn’t have to worry about such prosaic matters as a stalled car. No, he was going to follow Dennis Prager all the way to the White House.

Nothing creepy about me, he thought. I just need to get my key in the lock and turn it around a few times and there will be joy.

Frankly, I’m the easiest man in the world to get along with. What was the world’s problem?

Joy. It was just around the corner. Just a few jiggles and giggles and clicks and he’d have joy.

He looked out the window and saw two black gangbangers staring at him.

They didn’t fear the white man like they used to.

He tightened and compressed his neck, grunted, and wrestled the wheel back and forth until it finally popped. He turned the key and his car started. Before it completely stalled again, he shifted into neutral, flooded the gas, pushed down on the brake to make sure it was still working, and executed a 180 degree turn onto Pico Blvd.

I want to be smooth. I want to work the room. I want a hot girlfriend. Even more, I want to be my authentic self in deep connection with certain others. God, don’t let me stall on this holy journey.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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