A Day at the DMV On March 22nd we went to the DMV in the San Fernando Valley to get him a California ID card. He had not had an ID or Driver's License in almost 10 years!!! He was very nervous & uptight about going ...but he had to get an ID in order to rent his Apartment. On the way there he told me why he was so freaked out about it...'Man I had a Ton of tickets that I never paid...they might not let me get an ID until I pay them, let alone a Driver's license.' He said he was prepared to pay all of them if necessary. We started talking about cars too..he says 'I'd like to get a new car....I've been the seeing the TV ads for the new Daewoo 'Leganza'...that would be perfect, only $139 a month.' I burst out laughing and he gives me the furrowed brow and a ''WHAT?????" I said...'Oh man...the KING stuffed into a Daewoo...too funny! I can't picture it!'
We get there, fill out all of the paperwork and go up to the window. The lady says 'That'll be $10 for your ID'....He looks at me in disbelief & I ask her. 'Are their any restrictions on him getting a license?' At that moment I say 'license' he gives me a TREMENDOUS kick in the shin!!! She looks it up in the computer and says 'No...would you like a book to study for the test?' He says sheepishly....'Uhhh....yeah'. I never saw a bigger smile on his face when we left there with his temporary ID...
We leave the DMV and he says 'Lets go to Casa Vega & celebrate!!'. He explains that Casa Vega is a mexican restaurant he & his wife, Laurie, used to frequent back in 1991-1992. They would fly down windy Laurel Canyon Blvd. in his Ferrari into the San Fernando Valley from his home in the Hollywood Hills...about a 20 minute drive.
I'll never forget this as long as I live...we are on the way and we see a 7-11 convenience store. He says...'Pull in there I want a Snapple.' ...'OK, what kind?' he says 'Any kind'. He takes 1 big drink and then pours the rest (about 80%) on the ground!! I ask 'What....are....you.....doing????' He says 'Last time we went out to lunch they made me give a urine sample so that they could see if was using drugs out on my pass....they gave me an assfull over the alcohol in my urine....this time we're gonna take precautions'. I still didn't know what he meant. Duh....!
We pull into the Casa Vega parking lot which is kinda secluded behind the restaurant. He sits on the tailgate of my 4Runner and says 'Gimme the bottle'. He proceeds to pull down his shorts right there & starts peeing in the bottle, in broad daylight!! I turned my back in horror/ embarassment and try to shield him from the pedestrians walking down the sidewalk!! I hear over my shoulder...'Oh shit...here take this and empty some' I take it and run around the side of the car to empty it...I look at him & he's sitting there holding himself trying to stop the flow and....there's urine squirting in all directions!!!!! He's cursing & sputtering 'Hurry up!!!!' I get back to him & he's apparently done....just one problem...THE BOTTLE IS NOW EMPTY!!!! He looks at me and at the bottle & says....'YOU SCHMENGIE!!!...you didn't save ANY!!???!!!!' He was sooooo irritated with me the rest of the day. He never let me live that one down....
A Tough Day: On April 1st he called to wish me happy birthday but I could tell immediately something was up. We talked a little.... but he seemed really depressed and VERY emotional. He had been drinking and I asked him "Is everything OK?' he says 'NO!....I know it's your birthday but can you come...I need to talk to you'.. It's a 60 mile drive for me to Hancock Park, but I went.
When I get there he is laying in the dark...sobbing quietly. I ask 'What's wrong??' he says to me through the sobs 'I need you to promise me one thing....I don't know how much longer I have and when I'm gone, PLEASE don't let people forget about me.... I've screwed everything up, my marriage, my career, my cars, my house, my guitars... EVERYTHING!!....I don't want people to think of me as a junkie loser...please let them know I'm sorry'. It's my turn to start crying and the 2 of us are sitting there in the dark in tears. I stayed there about 3 hours & tried to cheer him up without success. He fell asleep around 12:00am & I left for home. I did make him the promise....
Fade to Black.... He finally moved into his Apartment around April 8th (I forget the exact day) and he began to settle in. It became apparent that he was not going to be able to care for himself 24/7 so a nurse was scheduled to visit 2 times a week. His medications were another problem...some of them the nurse could bring & others he would have to go to a clinic across town to see a doctor for them....the wait was usually 3 hours!
He seemed happy but a bit frustrated by his lack of mobility...still he was able to get around the Apartment in the wheelchair and even cook a little for himself. He caught a severe cold the first few nights there & also fell and banged up his feet pretty badly. I would call to see if he needed anything & he would always say 'No....You don't need to keep helping me...you've done enough' I told him 'That's nonsense....that's what friends are for'.
In early May I found out that his old friend Patrick had moved in with him...sounds great right? WRONG! Patrick was his old roommate & Heroin buddy. I tried to convince him that Patrick was no good for him & would only tempt him again. He wouldn't listen...he told me 'I Love him like a brother and we've been thru a lot together....besides, he has nowhere else to go'.
I knew right then that this was the beginning of the end....He would call once in awhile just to say hello but it wasn't like before. He did everything he could to discourage me from visiting him...'Oh not today, I don't feel good' or 'The place is a mess'. I could tell he was using again...his speech was slurred & he just didn't sound good.
Late in May he started calling me asking me if he could borrow some money...Now, I knew that he had around $9k in cash when he moved into the apartment only a month before. 'Robbin....where did all your money go?'. He made some vague references about his 'medication' and 'groceries'. I would lie to him & say "I'm broke....now is a bad time, I'm sorry'. It just about killed me to put him off...but I was not about to HELP him destroy himself.
On the night of Sunday June 2nd he called & finally cornered me. "Hey, I need you to do me a favor...I need money for my medication....what I want you to do is take my Breedlove (Acoustic Guitar) and pawn it....bring the others to me here. I need at least $300 and I need it tomorrow morning'. I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted. So I did as he asked....
I showed up at the apartment at 11:00 am with the $$$ and his guitars....
Oh my god, Please NO!! Please don't let it be as bad as I imagined.
It was....even WORSE than I imagined. Robbin 'King' Crosby was sitting in the middle of the room, nude from the waist down in a filthy T-shirt, unshaven, unwashed and barely able to sit upright. He had gained even more weight and had grown a full beard. There were several LARGE open sores on his legs as well. He was white as a sheet & clammy with sweat.
He says 'Awwww, come here & give me a hug....I've missed you'. The room was a mess, everything you would expect from a typical bad R rated movie drug den scene. Bottles of piss, cigarette butts, dirty ashtrays & clothes, beer cans....just about every inch of the floor was covered in trash. The heat & stench in the room were overpowering. His beautiful apartment was a shambles...
He could see the horror on my face. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I asked him just one question....'WHY?????' He was trembling and turned away. He said, stuttering 'Please... don't hate me...please'. I told him that I loved him and could never hate him....There were no words left....nothing else I could say would change anything...I thought about trying to reason with him but I knew that he wouldn't listen.
I couldn't stay...I just couldn't bear to see him this way. I left quickly & in shock, knowing full well I probably would not see him again. I was frustrated & wanted to do something but deep down I knew that he could not stop. He would not stop....His Demons were just too strong.
The afternoon of Thursday June 6th I got the call from my wife (I was at work) She was crying & just said 'Robbin's........Gone'. Even though I knew it was coming, it still hit me like a ton of bricks...I almost passed out. All of his hopes & aspirations for the future were now meaningless...all of the hard won progress he had made in the last 6 months was meaningless....I just felt so empty. I still feel that empty spot.