Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Time I Almost Died

At age 23 I moved in with the love of my life. A few months later she kicked me out in the middle of a snow storm… in my underwear. With nowhere to go, I moved into my Dad’s art studio by the train tracks near downtown Denver. Still heart broken, and recovering from walking phenomena, she called me out of the blue and invited me to a U2 concert at Mile High Stadium.  Even though I felt like crap, I accepted the invitation. Before she came to pick me up I drank half a bottle of vodka to calm my nerves.

Midway through the concert, I had to throw-up. I rushed to the restroom but there was a line a block long. I ran outside the stadium and puked. Earlier in the evening Public Enemy opened the show and there was some gang related violence in the parking lot. Security wasn't  letting anybody in or out of the stadium. I pleaded but I was locked out.

Wondering around in the snow, deathly sick, with nothing on but blue jeans, a sweatshirt and a blazer, I decided to walk back to my dad’s studio. On the way I saw a slow moving train headed in my direction. I decided to grab onto a ladder on the back of a boxcar. By the time the train was passing my dad’s studio it was going like 100  miles per hour. I didn’t jump. 

I held on for dear life as the train kept going all night, finally stopping in the middle of the prairie. Relieved, I jumped off but found myself in the middle of nowhere. Eventually I found a warm patch of concrete with no snow on it. I laid down and looked at the clear blue sky and felt happy for the first time in a long time. I was happy to be alive! 

Off in the distance I saw a single car disappear into the horizon. I headed towards the highway. At this point I was no-longer sick but my jacket was torn and I was covered in grease. No cars would stop for me. After many hours of walking down the desolate highway (being ignored by cars) I saw a train heading back the other way. I jumped on. The train traveled into the night and eventually stopped near a truck stop in the middle of nowhere. There was a pay phone but it was broken. I went inside and asked to use the phone. The lady said “no” and asked me to leave since I wasn’t a customer. Next to the truck stop was a laundry mat. I believed that my luck would start to turn around if my cloths were clean so I decided to use the few dollars I had to wash my clothes. Since I had nothing to wear, I looked in the dumpster behind the laundry mat and found a light blue body suit with a magnet belt straight out of the 70’s. I tried it on in the bathroom and it was tight… but it fit. I bought a small box of detergent and washed my clothes but did not have enough for the dryer. I asked the clerk at the truck stop for money. Again she refused. Carrying my wet clothes in a plastic bag I walked around looking for help. I couldn’t find another living soul. Way off in the distance I saw the lights of a town. I started walking. Once again I tried to flag down cars but nobody would stop. I was starving and decided to eat some corn from the fields by the side of the road. The corn was hard as a rock and completely flavorless. It was inedible. Eventually a highway patrolman pulled over. His license plate said Nebraska. For the first time I knew where I was. I told the officer my story but he looked at me like I was crazy and refused to give me a ride. After he left, another train came by going in the direction of the town. I jumped on.

On the morning of my 2nd day I pulled into the world's largest rail yard located in North Platte Nebraska. I quickly found a grocery store and called my dad collect on a pay phone. He was stunned to hear I was in Nebraska. He and my girlfriend had spent two days looking for me all over town… including at the morgue. He wired me money and I dried my cloths, eat at McDonald’s, and bought a Greyhound bus ticket home. Within a week I moved back in with the love of my life. 18 years later and we are still together.

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