Tuesday, May 06, 2003

vignette: approaching catatonia

It's like you're on a highway at night and everything is dark, nothing can be seen except for the portion of road lit by your headlights.

And you're driving along, not knowing precisely where you're going, with the road being your only guide, your only proof that you're going somewhere.

If you quickly look at the rear view mirror, you'll see the same thing, except the road is receding and limned in red. If you look left or right, you see only darkness, the occasional impression of figures in motion, lost among the imagined trees.

There is only the road.

So you turn up the radio (you've run out of CDs) and hope for something to listen to, or perhaps some information on where you are, but the music that comes out fails to make an impression, fails to give information, and quickly becomes part of the background, humming its melodies quietly in the back seat.

And you drive. Because you think you're going somewhere (you have the car, it has gas; you have the road, and the road goes on). Because to stop in the dark in the middle of no(some)where would be crazy, irresponsible, unthinkable. And frightening. So it fails to be a true option in your head, though it's there, of course, but you won't stop - not unless there's a very good reason, not unless you have to.

And you drive. Because someone told you that every journey has its end. Or was it something you read? But then again, you remember someone else (who?) say that the whole point of a journey is the journey itself - not actually getting there. Which sounds really stupid, stupid. You want to stop driving - but not here, not now.

And you drive. Because, honestly, you know you have to. Everyone drives, everyone drives. And some(no)where is the comfort of a clean, well-lighted place, maybe a beer and a fresh pack of Marls, a bite to eat, a place to crash and rest before the next leg to where(when)ever.

But that's later, if you ever get there.

And that, of course, is the pleasant scenario, the one you keep right up there with the furry dice, the dog with the bobbing head and the little map that lost relevance a lifetime ago.

The more interesting scenario, the one you do not want to consider (but secretly think of while the rest of your mind is thinking about cold beer and the first sweet nicotine kiss of a longed-for cigarette) is this:

The road doesn't end.

Or this:

It does but in a place where empty houses line empty streets and only ghost voices whisper in the still air.

Or this:

Any time now, an accident will occur (a sudden animal, a fallen tree, a large rock, a stalled car - maybe even the exact model as yours) and you will lose control of the car - you fill in the blanks.

All that, every part of it, is exactly how I feel.

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