I was at my mom’s house one day in late 2004, probably to mooch some food and complain about my life. She handed me a photo she had printed from the internet and said, “Here…this is you.” I looked down at a black and white image of two steam locomotives that had crashed head-on. The coal boxes were sticking up in the air and several men were standing around with their hands on their hips gaping at the mess around them. And then we both laughed.
She wasn’t wrong. I was a train wreck and I stayed that way for a few more years. On that day, I was 29 and had been divorced nearly 3 years. I was in a light bulb (off and on) relationship with an alcoholic who was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My anxiety was off the Richter scale and I wasn’t handling things well. I had moved back home to Kansas and was living in my grandmother’s rental house in a terrible neighborhood. I hated my job and myself for moving back to my hometown and basically failing at life.
14 years later, we still laugh about that photo and that moment. Now my mom tells me I should write a book because there are some things which could only happen to me. Once again, she’s not wrong. Writing a book about about my experiences seems a bit extreme but I have reached a distance sufficient for me to see them through a very humorous lens. It’s on the list.