2013 went by on Humboldt Street, out the window of transatlantic flights, backstage at fashion week, on an African savannah, at night at the beach, in a shitty Accord, out in the woods, in sing-a-longs, over waterfalls, in the vestibule between train cars, around the dinner table, on crutches, and behind the camera. But mostly 2013 went by in the company of good friends. As we get older, it’s hard work keeping together a community of friends. I ain’t afraid of hard work.
I was really looking forward to this day. I hadn’t seen Brett or Hallie since they both defected to California months earlier. And I was just coming off the Station to Station trip and Fashion Week. It was my first day off in nearly a month. I was in the Bay Area with two of my best friends and knew we had to get one final swim in before winter. We drove to Bolinas and started hiking down to Bass Lake. We got all turned around and walked miles until we finally spotted the water. Brett grabbed the ropeswing and went in first. Then Hallie. I decided I needed a grand entry and walked with the rope as high up the hill as I could go. I took off, flying full speed towards the lake. Then CRACK! I was holding too low on the rope and clipped my left leg on a root. I was still swinging and looked down to see my foot turned 90 degrees in the wrong direction. I knew enough to let go and fall into the water. I swam out as fast I could, clutching my floppy foot. Brett jumped into boy scout mode and grabbed two sticks. Hallie ripped up her leggings to provide some padding. And the father of a family that was previously enjoying the lake volunteered some duct tape. We cranked together a pretty good splint. My ankle felt stable and I decided that we should hike out rather than call for an airlift. So the journey began. It was 2.5 miles back to the car. We found an old, deflated raft and I laid down inside it. Brett, Hallie, and the Pearson family tried to carry me out but the limp raft made a poor stretcher. So we did it Weekend at Bernie’s-style. With a lot of help from a few compassionate souls, I hopped back to the car. It took another hour-and-a-half to get to the hospital in San Francisco. They loved Brett’s splint, but cut it off to do x-rays. They called it a tri-malleolar fracture. I guess that means I broke all three bones connecting the ankle to the foot, as well a bunch of bone chips. It was a nasty one, but I never took a pain pill. And no insurance of course. Laying in the hospital bed, googling around on my phone, I found that healthcare was much more expensive in California. I needed to go home anyway. So I booked a flight right there and took a taxi from the hospital to the airport. Discharged against medical advice. I spent a couple days shopping around for surgeons and found a talented guy named Dr. Weiner. His office manager Barbara showed me a great deal of kindness. Sadly, she died a couple weeks later. I sent flowers.
Surgery. Plates. Pins. Splint. Cast. Boot. PT. I just started walking on my own this week. I’ll be all ready to go come summer.