Trevor was with me during one of my first panic attacks. He loved it. I didn’t. But it really was hilarious, in a way. Sad too—really, sad—but so freaking funny, at least in hindsight. Kind of hard to explain this juxtaposition. Whenever Trevor talks about it these days (which is typically whenever we get together), he refers to it as the time I “took a knee in Colorado.”
It happened during a 12-hour stop in our cross-country journey from LA back to the Northeast. (Trevor had flown out West just so that we could cruise the country together. (Picture the movie Sideways—friends on their final journey together, in a Saab, before one of them ties the knot.) Trevor was engaged and about to marry the wrong woman, unfortunately (and deep down I think he knew it)—but I’ll let him fill you in about that whole saga.)
Anyway, I had been in LA for 9 months or so, thinking/hoping that I would somehow, miraculously get noticed and make it big in the film industry. Maybe acting, maybe writing, maybe directing. I really didn’t know what I wanted, nor did I have a clue as to how to make anything happen. In all honesty, I didn’t do anything to help myself. I was pretty nervous when I was out there.
Basically, all I did for 9 months was walk the streets, smoke butts, and spend at least a few hours a day trying like the dickens to make progress on a screen play or a short story. I made no progress whatsoever. I had about 42 “open” projects going at once, and I wasn’t able to commit to any of them. Even when I did work on one for a while, I would go over and over the same sentences a million times. You’ve heard all about this already.
I did meet some interesting people out West, and I had some pretty cool experiences, too. (I expect to tell some stories about these people and our rich experiences together—maybe even here in this blog.) But, from a career standpoint, I was so disengaged with LA and the film industry while I was out there that I might as well have been living in Antarctica.
In any case, driving back to the Northeast, it really hit me that I was a failure. I was a few years out of College and had accomplished absolutely nothing. I remember Trevor laughing upon noticing that my car registration and emissions sticker had both expired. Honestly, until he’d pointed that out, those things had never really crossed my mind. I was a mess. So unorganized. I remember opening the glove compartment and a bunch of unopened bills fell out.
So we stopped in Colorado and met up with some good friends of ours, and that night we drank plenty and smoked some weed and then went to a reggae concert at a bar in downtown Breckenridge. Before “Eek-a-Mouse” hit the stage there was this hardcore hip hop group opening for them. Their music was so loud, it practically pierced my ear drums. The bass vibrated my ribs. And I’m sure the elevation was bothering me too.
Just minutes after our arrival at that crowded bar, I started to feel a tingling sensation all over my scalp. The air seemed to get even thinner. I thought I might be having a heart attack. I can’t remember exactly how things went from there. I believe I found Trevor and told him I had to get out of there. I tried as hard as I could to make my way to the door.
My eyes were open, but a dark cloud started materializing in my field of vision. I was losing consciousness, and trying real hard to hold on. But everything was failing—it was like being put to sleep against my will. Utter helplessness. When my palms hit the concrete floor I had enough consciousness to attempt keeping my head from hitting the floor, but not enough strength. Boom. Ow. I sensed people looking at me and gasping–look at that guy, did you see that fall, look at that guy.
Trevor and the bouncers sort of picked me up and carried me outside. The embarrassment was palpable. I sat on a bench in the freezing air, which felt great against my hot, sweaty skin. Sitting there, I was pretty petrified, wondering if I’d just had a heart attack and how much longer I had to live, but I was also relieved that I was no longer the center of attention.
Trevor asked me what the fuck just happened. I told him I had no fucking idea. He started laughing—not an uncomfortable laugh—but like a genuine, holy-shit-this-is-the-most-hilarious-thing-I’ve-ever-seen-type laugh. It was just what I needed. I even chuckled a bit myself.
And I chuckled just now, writing about it, too.