"I don't even know why I'm here," she told us. "I shouldn't even be here."
Deb held her knee and rubbed her bad leg over and over again. She didn't say it mad or anything, just confused and frustrated at something invisibly big.
We listened and thought, Ah one of those. A hold out. A denier. Clearly she had landed in the half way house with fuck ups like us by accident.
The social worker, Vince, disagreed politely, "I don't think it's an accident, Deb."
We all looked to see how she'd respond. There's a lot of time at Green Fields thinking about accident and responsibility. We're goddamned philosophers when you think about it. Fuck ups know philosophy and religion by the wake of damage behind us.
But she continued beautifully down stream, undeterred by little obstacles passing by, like social workers and agency clerks. We know what that's like, just being in your head with nothing but your head.
"It was like two a.m. in the morning. Or it was ten at night. I don't know which. One time I had a thing at ten and another time it was at two. I was just driving my Jeep. My Jeep had a rip in the top."
She stopped and made sure we understood this was relevant. The Jeep had a rip in the top.
"And I got lost and now I'm here."
Ok. The injustice was clear. She got lost and causal forces of the universe transplanted her from Jeep to Green Fields Half Way House.
"They weren't even going to arrest me. I don't know why they did."
Course we didn't believe her. Figuring out why is your got your ass arrested is your own fucking existential problem.
"Except for I was lost. I was driving for cigarettes and who knows where the heck I was. I had no clue where I was. I was with a friend in Rockland. I don't go to Rockland. I got lost and I got down this cul de sac."
Right, she was lost and got arrested in a Jeep for a ripped top in a cul de sac. Fucking cul de sacs. They creep me out. What kind of road ends in a circle?
"And the tree stump was right front of me. I tried to go around it, ya know, but the Jeep went right over it."
And there it is. A fucking tree stump. Surprise! So that helped us. Now there's a Jeep, a ripped top, a cul de sac, an anemic, lame-legged woman who looks like she's not had protein since she was twelve, and her fucked up life has bashed to a halt against a tree stump.
Who left the stump, I'm thinking, and then, "I woulda froze to death. I'm just lucky the dogs found me."
Dogs? She had us now. We couldn't look at each other. Deb could tell a fucking story alright.
"When I got out of the Jeep--I tried backing it off the stump, but it wouldn't, you know the tire was just spinning. So I walked off into the woods."
People were jiggling now, swallowing laughter whole. Who wouldn't head to woods? And who would? Fucking we all love the woods. I could picture them for Deb. They just beckon you to hide in them. Until you're in them and there's fucking bugs everywhere or it's freezing and you want to get the hell out 'em.
"I had no idea where I was. I was just driving in my Jeep and then all of sudden I turned and I'm in this cul de sac. I hit this car and jumped the curb and hit this stump. I was fine. I just walked into the woods. I got this bad leg. I broke it when I was a kid."
I looked at Vince. Was he going to stop her? Nope. That guy had the patience of a saint. I don't think I ever listened to anybody before I met Vince. Some people teach you things even when you're determined they won't.
"So it was like middle of February. And the dogs found me in the woods. And the trooper asked me, Is that your Jeep back there."
"And I said no it wasn't."
That let it loose. We bust. We been there. She smirked just a bit, she knew we were laughing at stupid shit we all did. It was the only time I saw a minuscule recognition that she might be a fuck up who acted like an idiot. Or might be an idiot. Or was an idiot savant who liked soft top Jeeps.
"Because I take a lot of pain meds and I don't know what I'm saying and I don't even drink much, ya know, but I don't know, probably I was out of it."
Probably. I love that "probably."
Vince paused. Even he was impressed. And we all knew he'd heard everything. "And they weren't going to arrest you?"
"Nope. See that's the thing." She stopped rubbing her bad knee and looked at us all. "I shouldn't even be here."
Straight faced. Totally meant it. People gave each other the look, She's out of it.
So that was Crazyfunnysad Deb, saved by a dog in the woods when God stumped her Jeep on who-knows-what-all pills.
And pretty much sums up a fuck up's philosophical statement: you run your life into a cul de sac in a ripped top Jeep and hit a car and jump a curb and hit a stump and almost die in the woods until a trooper and search dog find you and arrest you for being a complete accidental menace to yourself and other creatures--and your fucking mind has no should or could or is or was or where or why left. We didn't judge her. Some people's whole life is a fucked up accident in a cul de sac that they will never get out of.
Vince gently moved on. Man was a saint.