Sunday, April 5, 2009

(Part 113) High In The Hollywood Sky And Nowhere To Go But Down


I continued to rage on at Mr. Red-suit as I watched him being dragged away through the crowd by police on the ground. As I stood at the top of the tower holding on to the steel pin, I rocked back and forth in triumph. The tower began moving with me as my wild gyrations continued. I found the tower more limber than I'd expected, learning that it would sway one way and then the other with my weight atop it's slender upper structure.

Once the motion started, it picked up speed as I continued leaning back and forth against the steel's movement. The crowd below sounded again and their collective murmur grew in intensity as the tower wildly leaned first in one direction and then the other, possibly four to five feet with each pass. As they watched, from various points on the ground, their voices rose up to me in a roar at each successive lurch of the steel finger now swaying in the Hollywood sky.

Forward and back, over and over, I rode it like a cowboy on a bucking bull, until I heard the tower groaning under me, complaining at the excessive motion and strain it now endured. As the sounds grew louder, I came to my senses, halting my antics for fear of breaking the tower and sending it, along with me, crashing downward to the roof below. This clear recognition of what could happen tended to quickly dull my enthusiasm for pleasing the crowd. As the tower settled back into it's original stance, I clung to it in silence as the cold wind slammed against my exhausted body.

As quickly as the show had begun, it now came to an equally abrupt end. I looked down at the silent crowd below and they seemed to sense the problem of the moving tower. "No more of that shit," I said to myself." BUT NOW WHAT? Now that I was here, what was I to do? In the haste of my one-dementional thinking to scale Mount Tower I had not planned, whatsoever, anything in the way of a retreat. I had had no other goal but reaching the top when I started, and now stood there alone without a plan.

Like a frozen bird, high atop a pole, I now gripped my steel perch motionless and confused. There was no more adrenaline rush to aid me. No more wild ride to focus me, and there was nowhere left to climb but down. The utter sense of disillusionment for me at that moment had sprung up like a demon out of nowhere. I was not there to hurl myself into the air, as I'm sure most had expected, but to reach the top of the tower to signify my despondency over the record business.

The achievement, having now been accomplished, became my arch enemy, in that it had transformed itself into a bleak and frightening dilemma. My sure-footed psyche had begun to crumble in the face of my now precarious and insane location, both in physical and psychological terms. As I looked downward through the seeming maze of steel pieces to the rooftop below, it appeared an impossible task that now lay before me. I was gripped by a sense of fear that I had not expected or planned for. With my body now rigid and spent, I moved more cautiously than before.

As some animals have found to their dismay, once having climbed high into a tree or up a pole, their ability to now descend presents an entirely new problem to them and they freeze, staying put. I too, was suddenly aware that climbing down would be completely different than climbing up. All the angles were reversed and all the leverage points were backwards. Without the aid of adrenaline pumping through my body I found myself hopelessly lost and terrified. I stopped and began yelling at myself to snap out of it, demanding clearer thinking from my now panicked and tortured brain, lest this become my last day on earth.

As I stood in place, motionless, I reached into my inside coat pocket for the second of two pints of scotch I'd carried with me on my ill conceived voyage to nowhere. At that point, it was all I could do to calm myself and reorganize my thoughts in preparation for the demoralizing challenge of descent. I gazed out again at Hollywood's familiar streets and L.A. beyond, longing to be anywhere but where I was at that moment. Through weary eyes and a veil of fragmented emotions I stared longingly at terra firma and the green backdrop of the Hollywood hills.

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