Sunday, June 26, 2005

Altered states

So I started writing this post about the 21st century. I promissed myself it wasn't going to be one of those "where are my flying cars?" rants. As I got further into it I realized that I was just kidding myself. So I'm going to just shitcan that post for now and jump right into this one. I'm not much on altering my thought processes using external chemicals. I guess that's bullshit, since everybody knows I'm a drunk. Let me rephrase that. As a rule I don't go out of my way to alter my brain chemistry to percieve reality in any way other than unfiltered. That's not to say I haven't been exposed to certain brain altering chemicals, just that never in any appreciable amount, and not in the recent past. That's why yesterday evenings (or rather this mornings) experience was a little odd.

I was on the way home from my friend John's house. I'd spent the evening chatting with friends a playing a movie trivia game. Over a 6 hour period I'd had a couple of drinks, but nothing significant, and I was by no means drunk. I was a little tired however. Not nodding off tired, just that tired where you can't wait to get home to your own bed. I left John's place at about 1:30 this morning. I hopped on 70 highway and headded home. If you've never been on 70 before, it is one of those long loney stretches of road, with not much going on. This is especially the case between Lawrence and Kansas City. So there I was zipping along between 80 and 85 mph. Not a car in sight in front or behind me. Every once in a while there would be a car in the oncomming lanes, but it was a rarity. To keep myself awake and entertained I flipped on the radio. There wasn't much on, and I eventually settled on the local alternative station. They were playing the standard Saturday night trance/techno mix. Long long stretches of driving bass and synthesizer beats. Really obnoxious ravy type stuff. As a rule I don't like to listen to this for very long, but there wasn't very much on.

About 20 minutes into the 35 minute drive home I started to feel a little weird. I felt an odd dissociation from things. Like I was present and participating, but also observing things from a distance. I had a feeling that my body wasn't my own body, and that I was watching me drive down the road from outside myself. This very unreal feeling was hightened by a couple of interesting optical phenomena. The first was an amazing reflection of a flooded field off the side of the road. This missplacement of the moon into the ground by way of the reflection was an odd sensation. Next was the fact that there were several spotlights going across the sky, kind of giving the WW2 Battle of Britain feeling, as if the spotlights were searching for German Luftwaffe planes flying across the sky. Finally there was an interesting interplay between the dashed line of the road, the headlights of the car and some fog that had accumulated on my windshield. The lights lit the center line in such a way that when I viewed it through the fog on the windshield the lines appeared as vertical white columns running down the middle of the road. I had to blink a couple of times to convice myself that there was nothing wrong with the road or my eyes. All of this combined with my tired mind and the almost nonexistent buzz from the drinks I'd had earlier gave me a very interesting ride home.

I'm sure at this point somebody reading this has called their lawyer and is starting proceedings to have me declared mentally incompetent. Hold on there pardner. At no point in time did I believe that I was seeing anything out of the ordinary, just that there was an interesting confluence of events at a point in time when my mind was tired and distracted enought to percieve them in a slightly different way. There's no point here. Go about your business.

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