It took me three days to drive from Northampton
, to Austin
. When I drive long distances, I survive on a thin, staple diet
of diner food
, Mountain Dew
, road crack
, and multivitamins
. The only time I smoke is when I drive
. I become a cursing, steaming, angry beast. Nothing gets in my way
. I am not a person
. I am not in a car
. I am a blood cell
on the interstate artery
. The pulse of traffic may be slowly killing the world, but when I'm driving, it's the only thing that's really alive. I see road signs
and can instantly calculate how far I've gone and how far I have to go. I'm on the road at noon
, and by two in the morning I'm telling myself, "Just another hundred miles. It's not that far. It's not that long."
On the fourteenth hour of the second day of this particular drive, rational thinking kicked in around Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, and I found a Best Western to spend the night at.
A day of consuming nothing but assorted stimulants is not conducive to a restful sleep, so I listened to Spiritualized's Ladies and Gentlemen we are floating in space through a pair of bad headphones. I was almost asleep halfway through the free form type section of the seventeen minute long song "Cop shoot cop" when a shock ran from the top of my back to the base of my skull. I'm pretty sure the term is a "myoclonic seizure".
Lying in a hotel bed, now very awake, with nothing but noise in my ears, a strange thought occured to me. What if I just died? I wondered. What if I'm dead? What if tomorrow some poor maid walks in to find my naked body lying like a snow angel on these horrible sheets?
I tried to add some logic to my thoughts. Okay, so I'm not dead. But what if I just died in another world, another life? Eventually I got to sleep. For some reason, those morbid thoughts were the best sedative my normally insomniac brain had experienced in a while.
The next day I still couldn't shake the feeling that somehow I had avoided death. I watched the sunset in Texarkana (the Texas side) and continued driving east, but these chills kept running up and down my spine.
At a rest stop between Mt. Pleasant and New Boston, Texas, I was on the toilet when I heard a person in the stall next to me. For some reason, I felt compelled to ask them if we were in the afterlife.
"The light, the texture, everything seems hyperreal, like the gates of Heaven. It seems like right now I'm in the waiting room to something larger, something more complete than before."
Curious, I peered down to see if the person was still there. Under the stall divider, a large Mexican man squatted on all fours met my eyes and blinked. His face was awash with the ecstacy of a religious experience. He was whispering something that was probably glossolalia, but I heard, "I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe that I have been reborn."
I left the rest stop in a hurry, determined to get off the road and into a more logical world where I wouldn't keep dying every few hundred miles.