This cel was a gift from my sister the year I decided to drop out of life for a while. I sold my tiny, two-bedroom bungalow, quit my secure government job, and drove cross-country with a friend of a friend named Kenny. I didn’t even know his last name until three days before we set out for Mesa, Arizona, but the decision to take him along for the ride had been a solid one; made over cocktails at my aforementioned friend’s holiday party a few weeks prior. At the time, it seemed like a good, no, scratch that, a great idea. Kenny had business on the west coast and said it would be no problem for him to drive across the continent with me and fly home. I planned on crashing with an old college dorm mate in Arizona, while I looked for work and tried to decide if the dessert suited me.The setup had all the makings of a great YA novel. Right? My cousin told me later everyone thought I’d fall in love along the way, wind up making a U-turn at the Grand Canyon, and return to New Jersey before anyone had a chance to miss me.
I could spend 40 of the quietest hours EVER trapped in a celery green Oldsmobile, watching the black pavement pass beneath me and asking myself at every mile marker—every single mile marker—how the hell I’d I gotten there.
See, I was getting to this month’s theme eventually.
My twenty-seventh year had been a bad one. I’ll leave it at that. Not only because I don’t want to bore you with a litany of crap that had happened to me—crap happens to everyone right?—but because, over time, those tangled, painful memories have been spun into gossamer; the fine, flimsy substance made by tiny spiders.
Gossamer is also the monster in this picture. I love his ironic name and the episodes of Bugs Bunny in which my favorite monster appears. In my Hair-Raising Hare, Gossamer wants Bugs for his next meal. In Water, Water Every Hair, Gossamer’s evil scientist master wants Bugs’ brain for a robot. So what does Bugs do while being pursued by this hairy, orange bicuspid in tennis shoes? Run? Not Bugs. That crafty rabbit goes all stylist on Gossamer. “My stars, where did you get that awful hair do?” Bugs asks the monster. Then he sits Gossamer down and chats him up while he works. “In my business you meet so many interesting people, but the most interesting ones are the monsters.” I laughed today watching clips on YouTube, as Gossamer pried open bobby pins with his teeth and fed them to Bugs as he did an updo.My sister knew I was a big fan of Bugs and Gossamer, so I never thought to ask her why she gave me this particular gift at that particular time, but she always was the smart one. It’s been hanging on my wall ever since, a constant reminder that good things happen when you quit running and give your monsters a makeover.