Just bitchin'

The Crack Life


I have been living in a state of existence that is so pervasive, so ubiquitous, that I carry on under its influence in blissful ignorance. Can’t see the forest for the trees.

But that’s changing.

Awareness began to dawn when a tree fell in my yard. I scanned the local listings for tree removal and asked for an estimate. A burly representative came out the next day and surveyed the damage, shaking his head.

“Sorry, lady. The job isn’t big enough. Has to be a lot more to justify sending out a seven-man crew and all my equipment. Sorry.”

“Well, do you know anyone who’d be willing to come out and take care of it?”

“Honestly…no. Just one of those things that falls through the cracks, you know? Sorry.”

Hmmmm… I thought about it on and off, listening to the distant sound of chain saws as neighbors with more extensive needs enjoyed professional tree-removal service. I considered my position at the bottom of a crack as I gradually dismantled and dragged small increments of tree away over the next two weeks.

Then came the roof.

No big deal. Just needed an accumulation of pine needles blown off and the gutters cleaned. I’d do it myself, but I kept thinking of a friend who plummeted off of his, suffering permanent impairment. I contacted a reputable company and was told my job wasn’t big enough to be worth the time. Déjà vu.

The crack yawns wider; a dark jag hovering in my peripheral vision.


I called another company. “Sure, we can do that. No job’s too small. I’ll be out tomorrow to give you an estimate.”

No one showed up. I called again. There was no record or memory of me or my roof. Another appointment was set.

Again, no one showed up.

I’ve decided to wait a while before trying again. Maybe summer is a busy time. Maybe falling through the cracks is a seasonal disorder. Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I keep telling myself.

Then came the mail delivery.

Or lack thereof. Days with not even a newspaper circular. Highly unusual. Beginning to feel suspicious and a little cracked myself, I called the local post office, just to check.

“Huh…that’s weird.” The employee in charge of my zip code sounded baffled. “Your mail’s here in a bundle. I don’t know why we’ve stopped delivering. Just kinda fell through the cracks, I guess. Sorry about that.”

The dark fragment encroaching on my life looms wider, emitting a sound that might be laughter. But…no…surely not.

Then came the doctor’s office.

A standard appointment made. No big deal. They usually call patients a day before as a reminder. No one called. So I got on the phone with them.

“I’m sorry…there’s nothing on the books. We don’t have any record of your appointment.”

I blanch.

The black jag on the periphery of my vision is spreading, widening, deepening. Turning from jag to full-fledged zig-zag.

When your address disappears. When the voice on the phone…isn’t. When you can’t find anyone willing to take your money in exchange for services…

…that’s when you look up and realize the sky has contracted to a ribbon of blue; it’s the view from the bottom. It’s all you can see…

This is the Crack Life.