I thought about some of my more boneheaded decisions, like:
- the one night stand with a DJ at L'Amour that turned into a full-fledged "if I can't have you, no one else can" type of scary stalking situation (two of my bulkier friends had a "friendly" chat with the guy and convinced him he was better off forgetting about me);
- being homeless for nearly 2 months with my friend Rebekah; squatting in a condemned building in alphabet city, which was fully furnished, although there was no electricity and only cold water (we got coffee and day-old bagels for free from the counter guy at the diner in Astor Place, who had a crush on Rebekah)
- holding a "package" for a guy who turned out to be connected to the mafia, but who, to me, was a very sweet friend who brought me exotic flowers "just because" and signed every card "I love ya lots and lots," even though we were never romantic (I never peeked inside the package and was extremely relieved when he showed up four nights later to retrieve it);
- riding the subway home from Bay Ridge to Manhattan at 2am. This was the 80's and even though the Guardian Angels were out in full force, they couldn't be everywhere, especially at 2am on a Saturday night (I made it home safely);
- overdosing on cocaine and having a grand mal seizure, even though I'm not epileptic, and having the friend I was with at the time run out on me (luckily, he ran smack into another friend who rushed me to the ER, where doctors saved me and told me how lucky I was I didn't die that night);
- being the "other woman" in an extremely unhealthy relationship for nearly two years (the guy's fiancee stopped me in the street and announced, "since he started seeing you, he's stopped seeing all the other girls. If I had to choose between sharing him with the other woman or sharing him with you, I choose you." To which I replied, "you're really fucked up." and walked away. I stayed with him another six months after that confrontation)
- having crushes on guys who knew, but never took advantage of me. In fact, some became protective of my naivete and did their best to keep me out of trouble.
- being propositioned by several guys in bands and turning them down with no hard feelings (I later learned that one of those guys died of AIDS - we'll never know whether he was infected at the time)
- walking away from a car accident that should have killed me, sporting serious but not life-threatening injuries (not being melodramatic here; those were the detective's exact words)
- I can think of a number of other things to add to this list, but I think you get the idea.
One common thread I see when I walk down Memory Lane is how I emerged pretty unscathed by every experience. Okay, I still carry some emotional scars, but physically, I am pretty intact.
But how? How did I not fall victim to muggers, rapists, the mafia (or worse)?
I honestly have no idea.
But as I sit here, my feelings about the mistakes I've made are transforming into gratitude for the way things turned out. I'm a bit battle-scarred and there are some things I'll never learn to let go of, but on the whole, I'm healthy, fairly sane and have a enough memories and material to fill a couple of bookshelves.
One day, I'll learn who I should thank for this charmed life.