Churning as I approach the next turning, my limbs akimbo and my gut working like I'm full of tequila and strong pharmaceuticals. There is excitement here, or perhaps it's terror; these days it's hard to tell the two apart. Maybe there is no difference. It's all emotions, after all, and I have stopped trying to allow myself to understand those pesky suckers.
I was hit by a car the other night (though "hit" seems a bit overblown; the driver wasn't going more than four or five miles per hour and I managed I stay on my feet). Regardless, it scared the bejesus out of me, and everytime I allow myself a moment to think about it I start to quiver, start to get all jitterbug in my step. In a parallel universe (the one where I'm evil and don't have a beard) I don't see the Rav until it's too late and the driver smacks me hard and knocks the life out of me, leaving my sworn enemies with a temporary hole in their hatred.
It made me think of a car-train crash I once covered. Inside the ruins of the car I saw a pair of shoes, still laced up and knotted, and later I found out the driver had been wearing them when she drove into the path of the train. A literal case of being knocked out of your shoes, and now that image is stuck in my head, right alongside me seeing the Rav's headlights and having enough time to say, "She's not going to stop."
No life knocked out of me, but perhaps some sense knocked into me, because my first thought wasn't regret at not being smooshed – I would have wanted that not very long ago, so the new outlook seems to be a net plus, a positive deposit in my life account.
The first thing I thought to do was look through the windshield and see a woman, maybe in her mid-20s, with eyes as big around as old silver dollars and an ashen face.
"Are you OK?" I mouth, and she nods but she's still Out There. I can see her hands shake as she grips the wheel.
"I'm alright," I tell her. Another nod. "It's cool."
"I – I didn't see – "
"No worries," I say. "Be careful." I walk on in the drizzle. It's dark. I'm wearing dark clothes. No wonder she didn't see me.
I take a few pills to knock myself out, and in the middle of sleep's black hole I hear the thud and the sound of an old friend screaming. I turn and face the strange but there is no one around me, only the front of the SUV on top of me and the strangled scream of a former acquaintance.
Yeah, nothing like a little freak show to stir up the ghosts.
I like to think I control so much, so many cogs and levers at my fingertips, but that is not the truth. I do not control this feeling of nausea, and that is the truth. I cannot shake the feeling of dread washing through me, and that is the truth.
I can look at it the Morita way: I can do nothing to change my feelings. I can only change my actions and my feelings will follow.
That truth doesn't make me churn any less. But that's not where I'm going to focus. I think I'll think about ... double rainbows. Rollercoasters. Bells. Bacon. Time for a dip in the happy vault. I won't stay long; too much time in that tub and I might drown. But a brief spell in the waters of warm memories: yes. My feelings will follow.