Friday, January 11, 2013

What Is Real?

Honestly, all human beings have thoughts that just wander around in the mind and it’s like your slightly demented cousin that no one ever speaks of during family reunions. You know those thoughts are in your head and I know those thoughts are in your head. But even were we to be close friends, really close friends, lovers even, there are just some thoughts better left unimagined by anyone else. Leave the thoughts in your mind alone and perhaps they will go away and leave you alone too so you can memorize Justina Beaver’s new song. That’s the purpose of most commercial radio songs, you know, to create mindless thinking, that is. That’s why so many people like it; it’s safe. You want to feel safe, don’t you? There’s a thought.

So here’s the thing; sometimes you don’t leave those thoughts alone and your start have serious thoughts, not those who are just passing through like those big fluffy clouds on a Summer day, but actual and real thoughts, and the more you visit with them the closer they come to expression.

Let’s say you had a coworker that you found attractive but that whole idea of interoffice bangs leads you back to the person who was fired for something stupid. You act professional and never so much as let your gaze linger longer but you feed the thoughts in your mind and then one day there it is; a compliment that isn’t anything at all out of line but you sure as hell left the door open on it and in the spirit of mild flirtation, there is a counter comment and the thought doesn’t need any more fuel at all to gain a certain sense of momentum.

One thing I’ve noticed about many married women is they’ll get into a conversation with you and you can tell how much they like you by how long it takes for them to start referring to themselves as part of a couple. The first part of the conversation is “I” and then she will start mentioning “We”. She wants to know a man is interested but she doesn’t want him to be interested. She wants to be desired but she doesn’t want to be pursued. I understand that but damn.

This isn’t about the ethics of a woman having a conversation with a man, or a man having a conversation with a woman, and then deciding, yeah, it’s time to start mentioning the other half. But you understand that if you’ve ever been married and you sure as hell understand it if you’ve ever been divorced. You can beat back the idea of a divorce with ultimate fury and never ending diligence but the first time someone you really like offers you a crumb of positive affection while your marriage is made of the suck, you will accept it like it is the Holy Grail.

I just want to make sure I use an example that most people can relate to. Feed that thought, any thought, and you push it closer to expression, momentum, and reality. And you will do this knowing full well this is not going to end well. I have done it. Presidents have done it. God knows record producers have done it, or we would never have Justina Beaver, ever, ever, ever.

But this isn’t about sex, love, or what passes as music in the land of three minute and thirty three seconds of mostly repetitive, yet highly addictive doses of talentless half dressed tarts. This isn’t about sitting on a crowded sofa and being pushed up against someone you hope like hell isn’t capable of reading your mind or worse, thinking the same thoughts as you are. This is all about thoughts themselves. Once we can agree they’re more than just top 40 daydreams in your mind and they are precursors to reality we can think about the consequences of thoughts that have nothing to do with this normal sexual tension stuff building up between you and…anyone.

Your control is less when you’ve been drinking and you know it. Stress kills judgment as effectively as tequila without the liquid amnesia. But let’s toss in sudden stress and darkness and twisted metal and pain. Let’s toss in a 911 operator who can’t seem to conjure where an intersection is without some landmark. 

“Look, just tell them to go down Industrial until they get to a wreck and ask for Mike, if I’m not there you have the wrong wreck” 

Some random stranger pulls out in front of you and you slam into their car, hard, and there is fear, pain, confusion, and the lizard part of your mind, the snake part, that part that sheds concepts and dreams in exchange for hard cold quick decisions takes over, flicks out its tongue, and smells the air.
When at the scene of an accident say as little as you can to law enforcement. They do not need it and they do not want it. Yet there it was, in my mind, to tell the cop that my thoughts sometimes pushed towards reality and I thought he needed to know this, really. I started to speak and realized speaking in public has never been my strong suit and speaking to law enforcement wasn’t needed. Now, in the time of the lizard mind, the snake eyed vision of a wreck, now is not the time for reality to be reached for.  She isn’t real. She isn’t there. There was just a feeling. There was just a thought.

The two women in the ambulance knew this scene. A car driver not injured badly, no blood and no trauma but clearly not at ease strapped to a board. Blood pressure normal, yay! Pulse rate only slightly elevated, yay! Blood sugar damn good, yay! Wiggle your toes, yay! Each and every tiny thing that goes right is a victory.  But strapped to a board is something that is real and it cannot be ignored.

I could see up.  


I could see, hear, a co-worker arrived to get my work phone so if anyone had to take over for me they could have all my contacts and he got my camera and valuables out of the wreck. Good things happening in the chaos that was the ambulance, but there it was, that thought, the idea, the sensation of real.  The ambulance lurched forward and the journey began.

“How many people are in this ambulance?”
“Just Cindy and me, and you.” The woman told me, and Cindy smiled at me as she checked my pupils again.  But by asking I felt it even more strongly now. She was in the corner, sitting on the floor of the vehicle with her knees pulled up to her chin. I fought against speaking to her but this was just as bad as speaking to her. I fought against telling her I would be okay, because clearly, this was not the case.

The ceiling of the hospital has different artifacts on it, metallic objects that make no sense to me, but they are shiny and reflective. I can see her, I can see a form shadowing us as we make our way down the hallways and it isn’t until they unstrap my head I can look around to find nothing more unusual than the aftermath of a minor traffic accident.

The implications of this experience are as profound as anything that has ever happened to anyone ever, living or dead.

Take Care,


  1. After a couple of… um, youthful indiscretions, I managing to avoid trouble for over 30 years. Then I had an accident that shook me. He hit me, but I’d been able to evade similar crashes many times over the years.
    I always know who’s around me and have an escape route in mind, but this crash caused me to doubt my ability to react quickly enough and out maneuver them anymore.
    It made me paranoid for several months, and in the long run change my style to be more cautious, more defensive.

    1. Yeah, I flinched when going through intersections for a the rest of the day. Then I went to Tallahassee and driver for a few hours.