1981. Eighty seconds of white noise in an abortion clinic. I guess I was sitting there for a long time afterwards. A doctor walked up to me looking concerned. "Are you OK?" he said. I said no, but you should see the other guy. Eighty seconds of white light 25 years ago.
Did I already say this? Identity is a moveable feast. I'd like to be able to say, well, deep down, I'm really a good guy. But I don't know. Deep down, there have been so many of us. Connecting the dots is like following a trail of bread crumbs deeper into the forest. He seems to have gone this way, but when? How long ago? It could have been one person or a couple dozen. The tracks are confused here. Then they disappear. Maybe no one at all. The forest itself is metaphorical so that's no help. I'm inclined to agree with the Abhidharma theorists: self is a matter of frames per second. Slow it down far enough and it's light years to the next thought. Spacey. See? You don't need drugs to get high.
Pain can have the same effect, you get enough of it. Personally, I never do more than I really need. Five years ago the mountains were too real. The sky too blue. I took Ativan for it. Effexor. Arabian Mocha Sanani, hauled out of the desert on mules, and four packs a day of Salem Lights. I haven't had a cigarette in almost seven months now. I miss smoking and the mountains are almost back to normal.
I wish I could say it was all worth it. That it was this way or that way. That the house never wins. That it's the only life you've got. I wish I could recall the half of it. If I had to do it all over again... but then I remember that I don't. Small wonder. Sparks of grace in a night so black the stars speak in tongues. I wish it could be that terrible again, that intense. The phone rings, I fall asleep, a dog is barking in another country.
Somewhere back in there, I loved you without quarter.
Everyone who writes into the internet late at night, at some point wonders: why am I doing this? What's the point? If you wonder long enough, you either stop doing it or you keep going.
I guess I'll keep going.
I forget why now, but I also keep thinking: we could be heroes. Because, if you get it right, being a fool can be an act of faith. Not the kind of faith you hear people talking about. Writing books about. Faith-based faith. No, the real deal. Where you don't know what's going on at all. Real faith is like a tightrope strung across the Grand Canyon. Except there's no rope. And no canyon. Which is maybe why when people see me walking down the street they wonder: Why is he walking so slowly? Why is he being so careful?
I'll tell you why. Because when it's light years to the next thought, continuity can get to be a real bitch.
I have this one part of my act where, when I get to the middle, I sit down on the chair I've been carrying and smoke a cigarette. And the crowds down in the canyon go wow, you could almost imagine he was sitting in his living room.
Except, as I said, I quit smoking, so there isn't even that.
On a clear night in October, you can still almost hear the voices coming from the sky.
I haven't had a drink in 23 years. And let me tell you, I could use a drink right now. A bottle of ice-cold Stoli sounds good. A couple-three shot glasses. Line em up. Then I'd drink and write and write and drink. It'd be great. For a minute. An hour maybe. Alcohol is a tricky business. For me anyway, which is why I finally had to quit. And you know why? You know why I could never drink and write?
I never learned to type that fast.