The fog was so thick Saturday morning I couldn’t spy the sea beyond 50 or so yards from the beach, but I felt most comfortable with the natural phenomenon surrounding me, as if the milky enclosure were protecting me from an unseen world, a place that is sometimes vicious. Nature had provided me with a cocoon.
While a few of us bask in it, fog is often associated with doom, gloom and the supernatural.
“Something came out of the fog and tried to destroy us. In one moment, it vanished,” said Stevie Wayne, Adrienne Barbeau’s character in John Carpenter’s 1980 classic horror film, “The Fog.” But if this has been anything but a nightmare, and if we don’t wake up to find ourselves safe in our beds, it could come again. To the ships at sea who can hear my voice, look across the water into the darkness…”
Adrienne Barbeau? “Hummina, Hummina, Hummina.” I was 19 when “The Fog” hit the big screen. Barbeau’s a fine thespian, but it wasn’t her acting skills that had my mouth agape throughout the movie. Come to think of it. Her bodacious bod was the only thing that made the television show, “Maude,” tolerable. That and I always anticipated Bill Macy’s character, Walter, backhanding Maude (Bea Arthur). To me, listening to Bea’s voice was about as pleasant as hearing a bunny squeal after its nest was raided by a cat, and that’s coming from someone who has trouble stepping on a cockroach. Just once, Walter. Pleeaase! It’s television. Fictional. Give her a whack. One time. No such luck. Hence, the show frustrated me in more ways than one.
Pardon me for the aside. As one who lives 24/7 with bipolar disorder controlling the relay switches in my brain, my thoughts drift constantly.
Where was I? Is this..what day is this? Oh, yeah. Movies, television and literature help perpetuate the myth that fog is dangerous. Not that I have a problem with that. For gosh sakes, I used to run home from school to watch the gothic soap, “Dark Shadows,” crossing streets as if I were the freakin’ frog in the arcade game, Frogger. It was always foggy in Collinswood and vampires, werewolves and witches were bound to be lurking in the white stuff.
“…Look for the fog,” Stevie Wayne said, warning her radio listeners in coastal California. Vengeful ghosts were hanging out in the fog banks, waiting for a gory 100-year reunion with townsfolk, and sexy Stevie wanted her audience to be vigilant.
Adrienne! Yo, Adrienne. I did. I looked for the fog. But I left the ghosts behind in my pad, so it was comfort for which I looked when I sought the fog on Saturday.
I’ve been on the downslope of bipolar disorder’s never-ending rollercoaster ride lately, plummeting into an emotional abyss after months of mania. Mania is a phase of the mental illness in which the brain shifts into a high-energy state. Imagine being The Energizer Bunny with beer muscles. That’s what being manic is like. You tend to be overly optimistic and sometimes overconfident, living life in a constant condition of euphoria. You could watch “Platoon” and laugh throughout.
The way I see it: the biggest danger of the illness, also known as manic depression, is coming down from that “high” and falling into the polar opposite – extreme lows. That transition often happens in minutes. It’s as if you’re descending into Marianas Trench and your oxygen tanks have been punctured. Like the Grim Reaper himself paid you a visit, scythe in hand with crescent-shaped blade shined and sharpened.
“..It’s just the beast under your bed, in your closet, in your head.”
Oh, hell no. I choose not to fear The Reaper. I awoke mid-nightmare well before Sol’s scheduled appearance Saturday, choosing within seconds to cast aside thoughts of doom and gloom that accompanied unsolicited dreams about past relationship failures. It can’t always be her fault. What am I doing wrong? There’s the door, negativity. Scat. Before venturing to the big pond, I surfed to The Weather Channel and saw that chances of rain were 100 percent. Pretty good chance I’ll get wet, I reckon. And? Donning my boonie hat and rain-proof Nautica jacket, off I went into the wild gray yonder.
Mr. Sol entered stage right but his rays never penetrated the fog’s veil. It drizzled from the time I left my cabana until I returned home. Fog? Rain? Didn’t bother me one bit. Neptune’s pounding surf provided me with all the comforting I needed. The sea is my sanctuary and I wasn’t about to let anything keep me from paying her a visit. Certainly not the weather.
It’s not the fog that’s dangerous. It’s our inability to navigate through it that’s the danger. If we let it in, uncertainty shrouds our psyches with doubts and fears. We all have the ability to overcome our insecurities. To see our way through difficult circumstances. Most of us set our own physical and mental boundaries. Many psychological borders are self-imposed and self-regulated and are subject to change at the drop of a hat. We decide what limits us and what doesn’t.
Dig this. When “Saturday Night Live” actress Gilda Radner was dying of cancer, she said, “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”
Gilda was brilliant.
(Bum’s rap: Give yourself an “A” if you made it through this one. Garbled thoughts. Twists and turns aplenty. Don’t be hatin’ on me, either. I detest the thought of men physically or verbally abusing women. I’m on record saying so on a few websites, including Facebook. Clint Eastwood had it right when he said a man who resorts to abuse to “control” his significant other suffers from the wimp syndrome.)
Sources: azlyrics.com, IMDb.com