Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You (35 page)

Big, metal. Doors locked.

3.
 DARREN HIMSELF

He doesn't like to turn right on red, okay?

9
Transformations to the Scene at the Northwest Corner of Gross Point and Touhy by 12:14 p.m.

1.
 The light turns green for cars heading Southwest on Gross Point.

2.
 Darren begins turning right onto Touhy.

3.
 The car behind Darren drives around Ray's Infiniti G37 but still turns right (meaning he passes Darren
inside
the actual intersection).

4.
 The guy driving that car points at Darren and says extremely unkind things to him very loudly.

5.
 Darren raises his left hand and the attached middle finger.

6.
 The car once behind Darren pulls in front of Ray's Infiniti G37.

7.
 This car stops suddenly.

8.
 Darren slams on the brakes just in time.

9.
 The guy gets out of his car, which is some kind of Chevy, and starts walking toward Darren. The guy does not appear to approve in any way of anything Darren has done since around 12:11 p.m.

8
Physical Characteristics of the Guy Now Standing Just on the Other Side of the Driver's-Side Door to Ray's Infiniti G37

1.
 Five feet six, maybe five feet seven

2.
 Late twenties or earlier thirties, probably

3.
 A little heavy, or maybe just really stocky

4.
 Straight black hair, almost shaved on the side; plenty of hair product

5.
 Big red cheeks

6.
 Maybe Latino, could even be Asian, almost certainly not black, probably part white

7.
 Clean-shaven

8.
 Wearing a tan button-down shirt and a brown leather bomber jacket with three patches

8
Exclamations, All of Which Darren Can Hear Pretty Clearly Despite His Window Being Up, the Music Playing Kind of Loud, and the Other Cars Driving Past, One of Which Even Honks

1.
 Fuck you, motherfucker!

2.
 Flip me off again, c'mon! I fucking dare you!

3.
 Put your fucking window down, dick!

4.
 Fuck you!

5.
 C'mon out, bitch!

6.
 Learn how to fucking drive!

7.
 Faggot, in your faggot car!

8.
 Fuck you!

6
Strategies Darren Assumes in Order to Withstand This Guy's Onslaught, Which Now Includes Him Banging on the Window and Trying to Open the Door

1.
 Keep hands at ten and two on the steering wheel.

2.
 Quickly look to see that the doors are locked, but definitely do not relock them, for fear of accidentally unlocking them.

3.
 Otherwise just stare straight ahead.

4.
 Don't say a word.

5.
 Wait for the guy to go away.

6.
 Pray for a cop to drive by.

2
Exclamations Darren Screams at the Back of the Guy's Chevy Caprice as It Tears Off, Because for Some Reason the Guy Gave Up, but Not Before Telling Darren to Fuck Off One More Time and Punching the Window Kind of Hard (It Didn't Break, Thank God)

1.
 It's my birthday, you dick!

2.
 You fucking dick-fucker dick!

5
Reappearing Images from Various Nightmare Scenarios That Escort Darren down Touhy Avenue for a Mile

1.
 The guy yanking open the somehow-unlocked door.

2.
 The guy grabbing Darren right below the collar and dragging him out of the car in such a way that Darren pretty much falls to the pavement, except for his legs, which are still inside the car.

3.
 The guy kicking Darren in the chest and calling him a faggot.

4.
 The guy going absolutely bananas with a crowbar on the trunk and roof of Ray's car.

5.
 The guy climbing onto Darren, pinning his arms under his legs like they do on “The Ultimate Fighter,” and then just whaling on Darren.

2
Consequences of Darren's Inability to Stop Imagining the Nightmare Scenarios

1.
 He's not really paying full attention to his driving.

2.
 He's definitely not paying any attention to the GPS lady.

4
Mostly Short-Term Commands Darren Tries to Obey from the Side of Touhy Avenue Just West of Dee Road, Where He Has Pulled Over

1.
 Calm the hell down.

2.
 Figure out how to get to O'Hare, since he definitely missed a few turns, even though the GPS lady could totally give a shit about the asshole in the Chevy and has already figured out a backup route.

3.
 Make sense of how it could be that he was driving completely fine even though he wasn't really paying attention.

4.
 Call his mom and let her know he'll be there soon, which he should have done back at Poochie's, and if he had, then just that little thirty-second delay would have prevented him from crossing paths with the dickface in the Chevy.

8
Factors Possibly Explaining His Mom's Failure to Notice That Darren's Voice Sounds Different, Which It Must

1.
 Her enthusiasm and excitement, because she's thrilled he's picking her up and can't wait to see him.

2.
 Her insistence on singing him a little snippet of the “Happy Birthday” song, even though he only listens to a couple of lines before saying (annoyed and impatient), “Mom.”

3.
 It's pretty noisy on her end of the line.

4.
 Her dropping the phone at one point.

5.
 The quality of their phone connection in general, which isn't great.

6.
 Her interrupting him to ask, “So, are you up for the Dawg House?”

7.
 Her just sounding kind of distracted, which isn't so weird, considering she's getting off a plane or walking toward baggage claim or going to the bathroom or whatever she's doing exactly.

8.
 Him trying to sound normal, and possibly succeeding.

10
Responses Nate Has to Darren's Story and Subsequent Real-time Freak-out

1.
 Dude, I cannot believe Ray's letting you drive his car, that trusting, benevolent homosexual.

2.
 Never flip someone off when driving, my man, it's just not worth it.

3.
 Take a deep breath, birthday boy, it's all going to be okay.

4.
 And the faggot thing was pretty uncalled for, considering the situation.

5.
 That would have been totally killer if you had actually rolled down the window enough to tell him it was your birthday, cause there's a slight chance it would have made him realize what a huge cock he was being. Because how mean can you be to someone if you know it's their birthday, you know?

6.
 Let it all out. It's okay. Let it all out.

7.
 Yep, there's definitely no shortage of tough-guy dicks out there.

8.
 I bet you would have kicked his ass if it came to that. Because, who knows, maybe God gives you extra-awesome fighting skills each year on your birthday. Would be cool to test that one out in a safe environment.

9.
 Were you going to invite me to the Dawg House, weenus? Forget it, it's cool. I agreed to come in to help with the lunch rush and I'm already late. Chuck didn't show up again, the reject.

10.
 Exploit the Infiniti for me, okay?

4
Extended Silences in Darren's Conversation with His Dad, Who Calls Right Before Darren Starts Driving Again

“Hey.”

“So, how are you enjoying the car?”

“Uh, it's okay.”

“Wonderful. Listen, how would you feel about . . .”

1.

“Huh?”

“I'm supposed to see Dr. Schrier today.”

“And?”

“And I thought perhaps you'd like to join me.”

“Today?”

“Yes, today. At two thirty. I realize it's not the first thing most people like to do on their birthday, but . . .”

2.

“But what?”

“Your anger, Darren—”

“What?”

“You had an outburst in the car, which I can understand. But an outburst is still an outburst.”

“What's that supposed to mean?”

“Just that it wouldn't be the worst idea in the world to talk about it. That's all. And today is—”

“No thanks.”

“You sure?”

“Yep.”

“Okay, I understand. But can I count on you to come with me on Tuesday? It's been a while since we've met with Dr. Schrier.”

3.

“Darren?”

“Yeah?”

“Did you hear me?”

“Yeah.”

“Well?”

4.

“Can we talk about this later, Dad?”

“Sure, I suppose it can wait.”

“Cool. Talk to you later.”

2
Alerts Darren's Phone Now Displays

1.
 
MISSED CALL FROM RACHEL M

2.
 
VOICE MAIL FROM RACHEL M

2
Additional Requests Darren Makes of His Phone Before Hitting the Road Again

1.
 Please tell me about the weather in Belén, New Mexico. (
Okay, it's forty-eight and sunny.
)

2.
 Please send this message to Ben Zwiren via a certain popular social media site: Well, so what should I do? Because I've got to do something. (
Message sent. Anything else, sir?
)

5
Indications That Darren May Not Be Fully Over the Incident at the Corner of Gross Point and Touhy

1.
 He really, really wants to hug his mom.

2.
 He's more or less losing his mind trying to figure out where he should or is allowed to momentarily park Ray's car, since there are about nine thousand other cars coming and going (not to mention about forty thousand people all over the place, including a bunch who think they can just cross wherever), and in some places the cars are two deep, but then there's also this enormous man and his mustache and fluorescent green vest who may be a cop walking up and down the passenger pickup area making it pretty clear that if you park your car for too long or in the wrong place that you and your car will go straight to jail.

3.
 His mom is about to see Ray's car, which means he's going to have to explain this to her or just watch her react, and she may not like it for whatever reason, meaning he's a moron for not mentioning it over the phone.

4.
 When he finally stops the car and removes his right hand from the steering wheel to put it in park, Darren notices a nice little band of sweat where his hand had been.

5.
 He really, really doesn't want to hug his mom, even though he does.

6
Spots on His Mom Darren Has Been Able to Look Straight at When Hugging Her over the Years

1.
 Her waist

2.
 Her tummy

3.
 Her breasts

4.
 Her shoulders

5.
 Her nose

6.
 Her forehead

8
Deviations from Their Standard Hugging Protocol

1.
 Darren begins it with one foot on the street and the other up on the curb where his mom was waiting. Midway through the hug he lifts up the other foot.

2.
 His mom says, “Ooh, sweetie, it's so good to see you!”

3.
 He squeezes her pretty tightly, tighter than he intended to.

4.
 He sort of pulls away when he senses this, but his mom hugs him even tighter, so he settles on a tightish embrace, which feels kind of good, actually.

5.
 His right hand is holding his new keychain, which holds the key to Ray's Infiniti G37.

6.
 His mom also sort of hums and says into his neck, “Happy birthday.”

7.
 Near the end, when he's pretty ready to be done hugging, he tilts his head back and rests his chin on the top of his mom's head, sort of just to see if he can (he can).

8.
 The hug lasts nearly five full seconds.

4
Surprising Things His Mother Says Right After He Tells about Ray's Car, Which Together Suggest That Something's Up

1.
 She looks at the car and says, “Wow, what a beautiful car. How generous that he let you have it for the day.” She says this without any sarcasm or bitterness. In fact, Darren almost swears she's for the first time sort of realizing and even being happy about the fact that Ray is the kind of guy who would let his boyfriend's sixteen-year-old son drive his forty-thousand-dollar car.

2.
 So they get into the car and Darren turns it on, and of course he forgot to turn the music off, so Milton Nascimento just picks up where he left off. Darren is mortified, but before he can grab his iPod she says, “No, no, don't turn off the music! I like it. What is that, some sort of Latin something? Look at you, Mr. World Beat!”

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