When I moved to NYC from the west coast at age 19 without a job, money or clue, I had my first omg moment walking down Park Avenue towards the Pan Am building (which became the Met Life building and is now probably the Bank of China building). It’s the moment you realize “oh my god, I’m here, now what am I gonna do?” and you get this crazy burst of adrenaline and your pulse starts pounding in your ears.
I’m walking down the street in Vidauban and that same feeling hits me. Back when I was 19, it felt empowering and exciting. Now I feel like I have to go home and lie down. I stagger up the hill.
When I get back to the apartment and collapse on the couch, I think: “oh my god, what the hell am I doing here? How will I survive? What the hell was I thinking? I’m too old for this shit.”
And then another revelation hits me upside the head, “oh my god, I’m old.”
My heart starts pounding, I sweat and suddenly my stomach doesn’t feel so good. And I’m woozy. I believe these are the symptoms for a heart attack that my mom sent me just the other day.
Oh my god, I’m having a heart attack. Alone. In France. Where’s my cellphone? Who do I call? I don’t want to bother anyone. Wouldn’t it just be easier to die quietly on the couch?
Ahhh, the irony. I finally get back to France and promptly die because I didn’t know who to call when having a heart attack. (note to self: if not dead by tomorrow, remember to compile a list of emergency phone numbers.)
As I try to drape myself into an attractive death pose, I look out at the sun setting over Vidauban and the Provencal countryside (how symbolic). My cat purrs on my stomach (or is that my stomach growling…or worse, the throws of death?). I’m pretty sure my vision is blurred. Am I fading like that willful but heroic Bette Davis character in Dark Victory, who goes blind right before she dies? Is darkness setting in? This is so tragic. On the bright side, at least I died in Provence.
After about a half hour, it occurs to me that maybe it’s not a heart attack. Maybe it’s some hideous “dove” related disease I picked up yesterday from venturing too close to the flock’s home. But I kind of feel better.
Maybe it’s a faux heart attack like the one my dad had on his first trip to France, which turned out to some digestive problem from eating too much fois gras. I have been eating a lot of cheese.
Or a stroke. I feel my face and try to move it. I’m a little disappointed to find iit’s still active (I was hoping for paralysis of the forehead and crows feet area around the eyes).
Maybe it’s just your run of the mill anxiety attack.
I test my theory by slowly sitting up (at least I think I’m sitting up, I could be imagining it in my delirium.)
Everything seems fine. All body parts work. My glasses are filthy, which could explain the blurry vision.
It appears I’m not dying. Oh my god, what am I going to do now?