Scott Alexander



Scott Alexander April 7, 2010

This post originally appeared on my previous site,

I’ve not written here much lately and that has to do with the simple fact that there are too many words. Far too many. A million thoughts race through my mind these days. I begin to write and I stop myself. Draft upon draft sit in my dashboard collecting digital dust. I take notes now, hoping to revisit and make sense of the madness in my mind. (Good solid advice from a good friend.) That being said, I feel I need to check in with you. The collective, nebulous you again. The ones that love me so and care. Thank you. I’m sorry that it’s like this, but it’s too much otherwise. There are too many of you. A good problem to have, I’m certain. But this is my simple route. And I need simplicity.

I’m probably doing as well as could be expected. Most days are better than worse. Some days are wild roller-coasters of emotion. Every day is different and I find myself… lost. If you’ll indulge me, I want to step back with you to Friday of last week….

It’s morning. And mentally, I’m in the clear. I have a sense that I can function like a normal person. My mind is together. This is a breakthrough. I think,
“Oooh, life is so nice and simple again! And beautiful!” And I smile a lot. And I return to that beautiful place that I know so well. That place I discovered when I drove all alone across this land. That place I found in the arms and laughter of friends in LA. That place where I found love and beauty in everyone and everything. That place in my soul when I returned.

And then something happens and I enter another level of crazy.

On Friday afternoon, I stand on Lincoln Road, waiting to meet Kevin. Great friend. Brilliant mind. He’s running a little late, stuck in traffic. And I stand there and do one of the few things I know how to do any longer. I take photos of the world around me. I capture what I see. I try to sink into this world, to grab on to normalcy. I reach for sanity through familiarity.

So I stand there outside of Starbucks watching the people, taking photos, and then I see him: not Kevin. No, I see Alec. I see my oldest son walking through the crowds. Three times I see him. All different people. And none of them are my son.

Breakdown by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers plays in my mind. (And of course, in my mind, it makes perfect sense that the musical mad hatter would be there, singing.)

Kevin appears after a bit and we sit and we talk. A long talk. And he suffers through listening to all of the elaborate constructions in my mind which amount to nothing more than elaborate constructions in my mind. But as we talk, I’m right there. I’m in the there and then. And I’m happy. The negativity, the craziness… it is all slowly dispersing. I can smile and laugh.

Our conversation ends after a while. Kevin and I part ways. Later in the evening, it is a simple night out. It is Alice in Wonderland before it leaves the theaters. And… ahhhhh. I’m back in my happy place. This is the spot! Simplicity, love, happiness. The next day, Saturday, it is a sunny day on the beach with friends. The water is cold. It doesn’t matter; the sun is blue, the smiles come easy, and here we are. Happiness. Good times. And it all builds to Sunday afternoon when friends from years ago gather together by a hotel pool, by a bar, by the beach. A good decision, I knew from the start. I LOVE these people! And they’re so kind! Their children are ALL so beautiful! One of the happiest moments in my life. In the evening, I see grand and beautiful things again in this life. And I can text smilies on my new phone, the one that replaced the one I ruined when I took it into the ocean on Saturday! I discover T9 texting!!!! The world all makes sense again! Happy happy joy joy! Yay! 🙂

Scene by a flower
For days upon days, I had been uploading photos. Those moments of life. Normalcy. I began the shift in my process to make sure the post date coincides with the exact moment each photo was taken. I decided I want a more accurate history of this life. I want to remember it step by step.

So I wake up early this morning and continue working on photos. Then I login to Facebook. I begin to peruse the list of recent updates from friends. And there I learn that the toxicology report had come back on my son. Xanax. Valium. Alcohol. It’s posted on his In Memoriam page. And here we go again.

I have much to say about this particular issue but it is not the time. There are just too many levels of complexity for me to even begin to process. For now, I only want to ask that you keep everyone involved in your thoughts. And as much as anyone, I want there to be a lot of good thoughts sent to anyone who knew or might have known that Alec was taking prescription drugs. Just think good thoughts, pray good prayers, send good energy… whatever it is that you do. Now, of all times, they don’t need to be left alone.

“Dude, you know I don’t mean anything by this but that’s a very personal thing and not something – I know for me – I would be sharing,” he says.
“I had no choice. A hundred, maybe a thousand people knew before I found out.”

It’s fine. It’s important to make people aware. No ill will or frustration. There are a lot of messages that need to go out to people and certainly one of those is not to abuse prescription meds. Teens particularly need to be watched.

I just want the insanity to stop. I would just like to have one day where everything is normal. Just one. Two days would be great.

And this brings us to the present. I’m probably okay. I cycle between feeling incredibly guilty, feeling incredibly sad, feeling incredibly out of it, feeling incredibly happy. I love when I can catch glimpses of a more tranquil reality. I think I’m probably okay. This is probably normal. As it is, all I can do is wander around, talking to friends, taking the daily assortment of calls from random friends or family (whoever it is that calls that day). Smiling, crying, laughing, writing, breathing, meditating, listening, talking. Pointing this camera at something or other. Process the images, upload the images, ponder the videos, the music. Try to piece it together. Videos. Life. Try to take another step out of this.

“You’re going to explode, Scotty,” she says. We’re sitting outside, smoking cigarettes, the movie has long since been over. She’s wearing my blue shirt. So beautiful. So sweet. So magical.

I won’t explode. Right now, I’m simply caught in one of the spin cycles of the wash of life. Eventually, this cycle will end. And this I believe. Everything is as it should be.

Leave a Reply