I don't know about you -- and perhaps this is one of the downsides of living in Southern California for so long -- I feel everything acutely. And when Mercury is in retrograde -- as it is now until the 22nd of September -- that feeling is heightened. Everything that could have happened has happened. I've been knocked over by my dog, a swift tank-like punch to the back of the knees, and left flailing like a wood louse (pill bug), been bitten on the nose by the same dog, while playing too hard with her and knocking my face into her teeth, I've had a misunderstanding with my lovely boyfriend on the phone when I thought he was serious about taking Kristen Scott Thomas to an event instead of me, I've had a fight with two different studio publicity people (very pleasant as I hate confrontation) and this weekend was the doosy. I took my (not mine, the horse I'm riding) very sweet little just five year old horse out on the trail for only the second time in his life and as we were trotting up a rather steep hill noticed that an oak tree had fallen across the path creating something VERY SCAREY and snort-inducing for such a young horse. He steadfastly refused to walk across the trunk, which was all of about 12 inches high, and so after a short battle employing my most charming arts of persuasion, I decided to jump off and walk him over the damn thing. He was convinced he's seen a monster, pulled back on the reins, which were over his head an in my hands, and galloped off away from me, hotfooting it towards the barn. Now the path from the fallen oak to the barn is about one and a half miles of rocks and hills and bamboo and low branches and there is a very fast road on the right, where motorbikes zoom elatedly on Sunday mornings (Little Tujunga Canyon). As he is not my horse, and worth rather a large amount of money, I was a little bit terrified of the outcome of this flight. (And flight animal is very clearly what he is. No fight in him whatsoever.) Bean and I looked at each other wide-eyed and alarmed as he thundered away into the middle distance, and then we both ran as fast as our little legs would carry us towards the barn, me in brand new boots (think Very Large Blisters) and without a cell phone signal. At the end of the trail by the barn there is a very large gate, five feet and solid iron. I had a vivid picture in my mind of the little horse jumping it and ripping himself open like the horse I'd once caught in La Tuna Canyon (see link here) or of breaking his bones on the rocks, or, even worse, galloping to the right and ending up on smashed by a truck on the road. (Only the day before a squirrel got smushed by the car in front of me; perfectly horrible watching it die). I could imagine him clattering down the tarmac. I've seen this happen before; it's not pretty at all. As we sped home, two cowgirls stopped and said "you seem to be missing something.' I managed a wan smile somehow. "Don't worry" one of them said, "he didn't jump the gate, he clambered up the hill and down the other side." I imagine if I'd seen a clear path around the gate I would have taken it. The hill, which is covered in brambles and burrs, rises up at a 75 degree angle from the path. Even deer stagger on it.
As luck would have it, and luck may be stretching it a bit, the horse had been caught by the time we got home. He had galloped in and down the tarmac and the lovely groom Ismael had caught him and put him in his stall with some hay.
It stayed with me all day, and into the next. I'm not sure why. It felt like trauma. Horrible thing to say, really, when there is so much more horribleness experience by so many people. Maybe it's loss, abandonment, fear of death, what? Perhaps all of that yucky stuff gathers in one's chest like a large knot of goo, like so many tiny gold necklaces that can't be undone because your fingers are too large and your eyesight isn't sharp enough. It all comes back. All of it. The deaths of animals, a parent, a father-in-law, betrayal, double betrayal, other people's betrayal, blood, sinew, concussions, grazed knees, auto immune panic (am I dying?), it all comes back but stays below the surface. Even now as I write my heart is ricocheting against my chest. "Charlie, I feel a bit odd," I said. And I felt rather silly saying it. I want to be the person that takes everything in her stride.
"Swings and roundabouts" he says, "that's what our business is like." One day you're being praised for your brilliant campaign strategies, the next you failed to get one press person to show up for a party for an unknown film. One moment you're a genius strategist and the next you're just another poor sod in the trenches scrapping away to make a difference. I loved my job last week. Today, I'm disappointed. "I just keep going" I tell him. "I admire that quality in you" he says, but today I'm stopped in my tracks, brimming with regret.