My mind is screaming but my body is quiet, stomach churning.
And my brain is baking.
I'm trying my best to blend into the driver's seat, scrunching down, wishing I could vanish. And fervently hoping it won't be too long even while logic and reason clue me into the futility of that. Then again, if logic and reason were my guides I wouldn't be here now. Somewhere west of Aramingo, a handful of blocks east of 3rd and Indiana. West Kensington. The Badlands. Waiting. Visions of the Velvet Underground's Waiting for the Man buzzing through my mind's eye.
Suzuki Samurai jeep is a bright blue beacon floating in the sea of the dirty gray that permeates the streets up here. Christ, I might as well have a big spot light shooting up from the vehicle into the sky, spelling out my intentions to the thieves and the cops alike.
Unlike the other bubble-gummers who dare to swing up into this area for their recreational party favors, I haven't arrived here as an outsider. I have my Sherpa, my guide. So no waiting in a line of cars at one of the outdoor drug bazaars catering to Joe and Jane Suburbanite for me. Those traffic jams are further east, closer to I-95. Instead, we pull into a dilapidated side street, kill the engine and lights, I give my Tenzing Norgay the money fresh from an ATM withdrawal, and he disappears into the hood while I sit there, alone.
Ten, fifteen minutes. Shadows and staring, aggression and hatred. Clearly, I'm not welcome.
Yet I always slip the noose and make it back down from the treacherous summit into base camp again, back to the comfort of suburbia. I drop off my guide, head back to my hovel, and drift off into sweet dreams of wide-eyed wired wakefulness. Fleeting happiness and escape. Only to repeat the cycle ad nausem, addicted as much perhaps to the russian roulette surrounding the hunt as I am to the consumption.
For those of us missing whatever it is we're missing, finding it even for a moment, and especially in concentrated bursts of what we imagine happiness feels like, is pretty fucking compelling. It carries with it a lot of weight, requiring that much more on the down side for us to run in the other direction, moving the scale back again toward the breathing end of life.
Many of us never get it righted and just keep going, going, going into oblivion.