January 16, 2013 1 Comment
“Sweet misery; she loves her company. She is all alone when she is in a crowd. She doesn’t care; follow you anywhere. She is mostly happy when she makes you moan.” – Hoyt Axton
Tonight the stars, bathed in swirling Aurora Borealis waves, pulsing flashes of pastel blues and greens, look like diamonds. They gift my noggin gracious reprieve from an epic shitty day; a day also made famous by the birth of the greatest man of the second half of the twentieth century. He would have been eighty-four today if he hadn’t had his worst day ever back in 68’; that tumultuous year which authored so many bad days and at least one good one since my son was born that very day. As a result, magically, that day kept me out of Viet Nam; or more accurately the obligatory one-way trip to Canada.
My day can’t compete compared to MLK’s last bad day; but when my pal Roy-boy called from the coast,upon debriefing me news of the tribe, he inquired on my state of mind and well-being. To illustrate metaphorically, I passed him an allegory.
A good man believes he’s going to heaven and as time passes he builds a castle of his imagined destination in his mind worthy of his own personal paradise and remunerating on it often he grows evermore fond of his vision and self-assured of its eventuality. It sustains him in his darkest hours and bolsters his spirits like dream fantasies of winning the lottery.
When he spins off his mortal coil and astral-planes he dreams of his heaven, only to wake in the pit of a black room standing naked, crotch to ass, with other naked souls packed in like sardines. He looks down to discover he is standing in pig-shit up to his neck. He asks his neighbor where he is and is informed; Hell.
He is used to adapting, improvising, overcoming and most of all surviving; so quickly calculating the odds that this couldn’t possibly get worse he accepts his fate. Just then Beelzebub himself, ten feet tall and resplendent in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s oiled body, adored with red velvet tipped horns the size of Texas long-horn cattle, he interrupts the heavy metal vomit music blaring at Ozzie Osborne decibel and announces; “attention all permanent residents; you’re daily five-minute break is over; everybody kneel back down”. That, I tell my friend, was my day; how was yours?
I’ve been to many places in my time and as a result, like the good man in the fable, I’m fine-tuned to acclimate and adjust to my surrounding with the alacrity of Woody Allen’s Leonard Zelig. This latest trip lifted me up and transported me from the West coast to the upper Midwest, from warm to frigid, from cosmopolitan and diverse to homogenous, from free thinkers on the leading edge of culture to rural farmers and hunters, from an abundance of wild women and culture to slim pickings and ice-fishing contests; from fast paced high-density residential city life to frozen still in time rural tiny town America, from living surrounded by strangers to sharing estrogen dominated environs with family; from a well-ordered and organized domicile to, after better than 100 days, still trying to find my socks. Despite the two locations both being in the lower forty-eighth; the culture shock is akin to traveling from OZ to Mars.
It’s been a rocky transition. My patience doesn’t hold when unable to regulate my natural rhythms and this reality has sent me careening off the rails, like today, more than a few times, to crash and burn in unfamiliar territory, revisiting through sense memories, anger; something I banished around the time Salk vaporized Polio.
Back then, upon discovering my original equipment was missing a safety relief valve, an essential apparatus for any Wanderer, I customized my operating system and installed one. Since then, when an emotional situation reaches DEFCON Five, my pressure reliever automatically engages, I disengage and turn away from the dark energy.
Navigating terrains with black-hole vortex landscapes that threaten to suck me in is survival gear yoga akin to adopting a Casper the Friendly Ghost dual persona. If the environment is friendly; I materialize; if my crap detector registers bad vibes, upsetting my aura; I pass right through it. This requires a voluntary reverse schizophrenia, a mental order to tell the difference between what is real and not real, to think clearly, have normal emotional responses and act normally in social situations while, if I choose, being one with those colored stars that light this beautiful night, here, yet a million light years away.