Hiatus interuptus (aka Finding Otis)

Breathing has a tendency to speed up on you when you find yourself overoccupied. You find your head slipping out of the game and into a fastlane. That’s when you start forgetting things.

Wheels down, back from New York, and everything got busy. Well-rested after a couple of days of sleep, I pretended I was 21 again. Three bars, a Thursday night, and remembered I was not a youngster anymore. Friday morning workday hangover drudgery is not for the elderly.

The summer skies have been active and brought a rip-shot thunderstorm to my little burg. With the rains, an eviction notice for a frequent source who has been locked in a gut-punch land battle with the city for some time. Back at work before my ass gets used to sitting in a chair at home. By 11:30pm, I was making potato salad and getting ready to get up.

Saturday morning, no hangover, but my hands smell like potato salad. Pack up Emilio, round up the crew, and drive four hours through North Carolina’s mountain towns and moutain valleys. Wheels down in Tennessee and on the Ocoee River. The rapids were as tough as they come in this region of the country. They were so tough, the Olympic rafters in 1996 used the river for their feats of strength. We survived with only minor injuries. Camped in the rain, sang songs around a campfire, ate until we couldn’t move, soaked in a hottub.

Sunday, the rain returned to camp and forced the muddy denizens of Camp Fatigue back onto the road. The drive back consisted of a sleeping wife and a search for Arby’s Market Fresh sandwiches. Sleep came easy.

And then, the first ever “Otis as a Sitcom Husband Fuck-Up.” In years past, there have been real screw-ups. The drunk-dial to an old college friend (who happened to be a woman) ranks among the top. But past screw-ups have never been those you might find on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Monday morning’s fuck-up was pure primetime, baby.

Otis: Hey, you going out to pick up lunch? If you do, would you get me some?

Wife of Otis: I’m going to Barnes and Noble to pick up the new Sweet Potato Queens book. I think I deserve it.

Otis (mind-scrambling to make sense of Wife’s last sentence): Um..okay. You DO deserve it. What about lun– (Otis collapses on the street and starts hugging himself like a mental patient)–and…Happy Birthday, baby.

Yeah, that’s right. Otis temporarily forgot the Wife’s birthday. She took it in stride. She’s experienced worse (read: college friend drunk-dial).

So, getting the old melon back in the game is the raison d’etre right now. Concentration is the key, as the inlaws are coming in town for an extended visit this weekend. Lack of concentration could result in a regional incident that may or may not be suitable for network primetime. HBO may be interested, however.

So, if you know where Otis (or his melon) might be, drop us a line here at Rapid Eye Reality. We’ve been looking for him. He owes two months of rent.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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