As well as renting a room and having a job again, I now have a car to move me between the two and that means I might survive the winter after all.
Operating the car is effortless, like a kind of teleportation. Softly depress a featherlight pedal and gravity shifts as the light of the world flickers and changes; momentarily, lightning-quick I move from point A to point B without really occupying the space in between, without feeling wind or heat, smelling nothing and feeling nothing except the dull stagnant air inside the car-pod. Shifting is eerily easy, just a casual rearrangement of certain items in the cockpit, and driving is just a set of ritualized, abstract motions that I repeatedly perform inside the car to facilitate this voodoo travel. But ease is comforting and not always bad.
Time flits by again; my daily routine is as dull and invisible as it was before. I read, watch TV, play video games.
I thought it would be harder to find places to sleep on the trip, especially since I had to find places where I could safely hide the bike, but it was never a problem and always getting easier. At night we live inside narrow corridors of light, our world suddenly collapsed to a web of illuminated scratches on the dark globe — take literally just a couple steps outside that illumination and you disappear. Night after night I threw down my sleeping pad just a few yards from the road, still surrounded by the roar of traffic but safe because I was invisible, gone off the map. I was never disturbed because no one ever stepped outside the light to stumbled over me.
Before this trip I would have scoffed at the idea of traveling with a computer- simplify, right? But not only did this little laptop facilitate cheap convenient bulk communication, it formed the glowing heart of a body of words in which I so often dwelt. On the many mornings when I woke and it was too cold to ride but also too cold to sit around for hours until the sun rose high, I’d ride to the next fast-food spot, buy a coffee (and maybe a sausage-egg-and-cheese biscuit) and plug in. When the flipped-open screen filled with light a capsule of words rose up around me and I was gone, warm coffee clenched in quaking hand –gone and happy. You can do the same with a piece of paper, of course, it’s one of our oldest and best gifts — strike the stone and words spring up- but there are times when electrically-powered words are comforting. Bang on the table and up it springs, a symbol-encoded world like the one Neo saw in The Matrix when he at last perceived the green streaming code behind reality — not an escape from the world but a version of it, a lens, a watery bubble in which I spent hour after hour.
It’s not just the car that’s easy; there’s a sense of ease running through everything. It was stronger in the first few days, but it lingers still. My internal organs feel loose, slippery and good, as if freshly oiled or more efficiently configured.
There is something inside me. I used to think it was a hollow chamber, a large cavity rife with perfect sound, booming and ululating, but sometimes it moves. Sometimes it moves, powerfully, gently, shifting, sliding, convulsing, as smoothly as a magnetic field reversing, sad, ecstatic, music-like. Sometimes I almost choke and stumble — there are feelings for which we have no names. Now I wonder if it might be some kind of heavy compass, swinging- what really drives us, when we finally act?
My soul is made of lands.