My Nerves Are Shot

By WR Jones

    I was standing next to this stream in Taos Canyon, painting in peaceful solitude when a man standing less than 2 feet directly behind me yelled “HEY!”.  “JESUS CHRIST”, I screamed as my painting arm shot up in panic throwing my best Kolinsky sable brush into the water.  I spun around to find this strange looking man of an age somewhere in the 40’s.   He says, “Scared ya, huh.  Ment to.”

    I think I may have pooped myself but luckily avoided social stigma by having my astronaut diapers on.  They are really handy for these long trips.  When I recovered enough to speak I asked if he were out for a hike.  He replied the VA hospital had let him out for the day.  My immediate thought was psycho ward.  He said, at the hospital, he was doing a painting of a wolf.  The staff gave him a kit with the wolf picture, paint, and brushes all together.  Wonderful, I say.  He left and I continued painting, periodically (every 5 seconds) looking over my shoulder, and with a noticeable hand tremor.  

    That night my daughter called to ask how the painting was going.  I told her it was hard to paint when your hand is shaking.  She asked if I had any other symptoms.  Well, I say, I do have a slight sore throat.  Then, “No wait, that is probably from scratching my throat with a stick to make my voice deeper.  “How do I sound?”  She is on the computer looking up hand tremor.  “Is it an intentional tremor?”, she asks.  “Hell no.  Why would anyone shake on purpose?”  “No, No; does it shake when you try to do something?”  “Yep.”  “Do you want to know the common causes or the rare diseases?”  As a hypochondriac I thought it best to stick with the common.  “Common”, I say.  Well, she says, alcoholism is the chief cause. 

    I kneeled down so she couldn’t hear the splashing as I emptied the remaining beer from the bottle.  OK, beer plus that one shot of vodka.  Two shots of vodka; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I need a drink, my nerves are shot.

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19 Responses to My Nerves Are Shot

  1. gypsy-heart says:

    I like the piece even if you painted it while looking over your shoulder! :O

    Is your daughter a doctor or RN? She sounds like my daughter asking questions and then lecturing. She’s a RN..and now the pay back “interrogations” are hell!

  2. Susan Carlin says:

    Great story!
    Love the painting, too, but the story made my morning.
    Thanks for the smiles. Hope you sober up soon… can’t wait to see the next painting.

  3. wpm1955 says:

    Well, the painting looks beautiful to me. How long does it take you to do a painting like this, if I might ask?

    Madame Monet

  4. wrjones says:

    MM, thanks. I might spend 1 to 2 hours outdoors then another hour to fixup the mess I made. This painting started out as a tugboat moored at a dock.

    I had trouble with getting the values right for the whole trip. All my paintings were way too dark and did not have enough contrast or color. I reworked every one of them spending from 15 minutes to an hour on each.

  5. 100swallows says:

    This is a nice painting, Bill. I admire the ripples in that stream. Sorry the tugboat sank. At least you caught its last gurgles and we know where it went down.

  6. grandmasheri says:

    You are gifted in many ways. Love the story behind the painting. I have an overzealous startle reflex so there would have been screaming involved and pooping and possibly regurgitation. I am glad I found your little blog on earth. I’m new to this blog scene and love to find sites like yours that make me feel sane…scary, isn’t it? I think we are a fit. I will be back to read more. http://www.disorganizedorganizer.com

  7. ivdanu says:

    Great water texture and color… I was about to write you about alcholism as probable cause for shaking (my elder son is always playind the shaking card to shake me of the last change I have…) when your daughter said it plainly… In your place, I would have assassinated the bloody idiot! does he know what a Kolinsky brush means?! and costs!?! (How can someone buy those astronaut you know…? without blushing etc.?)

  8. I must say i can totally relate to your case of nerves. And did you really lose your Kolinsky in the water?

  9. Yes sir…the frickin joys of painting in public! Ya know what would be a better challenge? Finda a public bathroom in a seedy part of town, Think of the interior painting ya could do…the curvaceous contours of the urinals, the texture of cracked floor tiles, graffittied shit stalls, the subtle value challenge of crumpled toilet paper with a hint (or maybe more) of burnt sienna…hell…I could go on forever! Just keep your head on a swivel and pack some heat. Happy post plein air or post plein urinal drinking. Bottoms up! No pun intended.

    P.S. Why does your blog bring out the worst in me?
    P.S. P.S. How can I add my own image to my comments instead of being saddled with all these pink thingys? Do I need to get a degree in computer science?

  10. wrjones says:

    GypsyHeart – my daughter is a medical student. I was hoping for a good drug source out of the deal but, she has been attending those ethics classes against my advice.

    Susan Carlin – Thank you. This blog eats up the paintings. I need another vacation to gather material.

    Swallows and Susan Cornelis – I’m planning on mounting a diving expedition to retrieve both the boat and my brush. As you might expect, this is an expensive proposition. Please send money to aid in this most worthy cause.

    Grandma, thank you. I like the description of where you live. I think I will stop by to paint there. Please have ALL the rocks picked up by then. Also, I would like a ham sandwich and a jar of lemonade for a picnic lunch each day. For dinner, I will happy with anything you make. I’m no Pancho PickyEater. Also, do you think your husband can help me carry my stuff? It is heavy.

    Ivdanu – I tell the store clerk they are for my wife.

    David – I think I will skip the public bath motif. I like to pee in a cup and chuck it out the car window. Tip – Don’t do this at speeds > 45. There, I’ve given you yet another avatar. Hey, I don’t control the color. To get your own you must be commenting FROM a wordpress blog.

  11. frances says:

    LOL
    love the splash of the brush in the stream. your response to David reminds me of my mother emptying the baby’s potty out of the car window as we were driving along… arghh – many years ago – but still a vivid memory.

  12. Not sure which of you visited my blog but thank you for stopping by. Yes I do love painting outdoors – nothing better. Enjoyed this story. Luckily I have not had any moments like this. I did however get a little nervous when painting in Wyoming last fall. Had to keep an eye out for for Griz! Something we don’t have to look for here in MN.

  13. wrjones says:

    Frances – I’m keeping my car windows closed in case your family still follows that practice.

    Deb – That was me out roaming the blogs. Where were you painting? I was painting in Wyoming/Idaho last fall. Was that you shooting at me?

  14. kimiam says:

    Bill, a splint, bungee cord and some duct tape should fix that tremor right up. No need to part with something you love.

  15. wrjones says:

    Dr. Kim, how much do I owe you for the home visit? Not many make house calls like you do. I was using some duct tape recently in Taos. I will post the story soon. I also have been thinking of you since I looked at the wall over the fireplace and noticed an old bas relief carving I did years ago. I will put that up as well. When I do I will drop by your house and have dinner while discussing the contents of the comment I will be expecting. I should probably help you write it.

    I’m thinking I would like to have pork chops and scalloped potatoes; how does that sound?

  16. kimiam says:

    We’ll be serving stone soup. bring a little something to snaz it up, if you like.

  17. wrjones says:

    I read that story; think I’ll bring some Red Vines.

  18. nelka says:

    So funny! Thanks for the laughs. I once had a nut job stalk me outside of my studio space–which startled me on a few occasions, but I never lost a paint brush out of the deal.

  19. wrjones says:

    He most likely just wanted to buy a painting. But, don’t lose any sleep over the fact you dodged the chief buyer from the Louvre, I’m sure you will be a great success without his help. You don’t want to hang your work with those frogs anyway.

    Lisa had some rough looking migrant field workers approach her – one purchased her work on the spot. I’ve never really gotten over the envy.

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