halfway between heaven and earth. Thais try to help this process along by allocating extremely tall pointed hats to children as if they were antennas to keep them in touch with the man upstairs. Drug use is about returning to the world of light speed from which we came, to which we belong. It takes a certain escape velocity to break loose from Earth orbit. These efforts are misguided and doomed to failure, of course, but still not reprehensible. We all carry memories of that other world of time with us here in this world of space. They call drug use ‘getting spaced out’ but it might really be more like getting ‘timed out’, if users are really accessing that other world. If I want to get spaced out, I’ll hop on a jet. We’ve got all the space in the world here. We just don’t have much time. If there is a ghost or spirit world, then it might be just the opposite. They might have all the time in the world, but no space. The perfect world would have both. You just have to make the best of these fistulas and slow spots that comprise life as we know it.
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and it had to lobby long and hard for that. Space gets to rest its big fat butt in three dimensions, length width and depth like a big reclining chair that can also be a sofa and can also be a bed like three dimensions of fucking off all day at the furniture barn. Space just licks its greasy-fried-chicken fingers and laughs at skinny little uni-dimensional time like an arrow always at odds with space, begging for crumbs on the floor. If anybody deserves three dimensions, it’s time, pregnant with past present and future. Try to get all that on a little line with an arrowhead on one end and a feather on the other. Space is just a simple container, a milk carton, a beer bottle, an oil tanker, a city, a continent, a planet, a solar system. Fill it with your favorite ingredients and shake well before using. Wha’d’ya’ got? Volume, stuff. Sounds like one dimension to me. More than one container? It’s still just stuff loosely connected to more stuff, Beaver in the breakfast nook, battles with battles, star wars, people gazing at planets, journeys between cities, points on planes, shaken not stirred. Space is mostly empty. Time is never empty. Space is just a point in time. Whether big or small, time just bends around it. Time covers all, everything that’s ever happened and everything that ever didn’t. Time is pure mathematics, the geometry of the past and the algebra of the future. Space can’t compete; still we maintain our sentimental attachment to it. It may not be the perfect dimension, but it’s our dimension.
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Time travel is the best kind. You don’t have to move a muscle or start an engine. You just flip the pages of memory and sit back and enjoy as images pass by on the projection screen of your mind’s eye. There’s only one drawback; it involves getting old. So, as with most of life itself, it all works out in the long run; the less you’re able to travel in space, the more you’re able to travel in time. Don’t laugh at that old guy with spit dribbling down his chin; he’s trucking in his mind. This world is science fiction, the fractal edge of the universe in the process of expansion, chaos meeting the void, waves crashing on the beach, the fragile border area between existence and non-existence. This is Interzone, the international zone, the chaotic border where languages fall flat and desires become erect. Modern standard Pidgin English is the lingua franca according to the fashions of the day, Chinese language torture, the tongue of half-baked smiles and crocodile tears. This is science fiction; this is World War III; this is reality. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have no idea where I am. I search an empty mind for the most recent memory, any memory, anything. What’s a computer without an operating system? Insert boot disk. Finally a reference point emerges and the rest can be extrapolated. Sometimes I wonder if a different memory had popped up, then maybe the entire extrapolated world would be different. Is history constantly shifting its point of reference? IS there such a thing as objective reality?
To be alone in a sea of strange faces is not only natural, not only not dreadful, it’s heavenly, relying on the basic goodness of mankind, unlearning the violence inherent from our fathers’ mistakes. Still the best part of travel is coming home to the nest, complete with mother and son, and shitting in it. Sometimes I don’t need to travel; I just need to BE without direction or schedule, an extra in the movie with no lines to read. I need no extra lines on my face to show my age, like a giant redwood lying shattered on the forest floor cut full girth across the grain of resistance, with no quarter-sawed comfy little beds and all their fibers lying smoothly between their teeth. Fibers one and all had their lives cut short, perpendicularly open-ended ready for anything, large or small, objets d’art or mansions in the sky. I need contrast, the constant zigzag between poles, both north and south. The World’s Oldest Backpacker (WOB) hits 50 (countries, years old, states of mind) with no regrets and unrepentant. Someone asked, “How long you been travelling?” Thirty years and counting…. Turning fifty was just like old times, alone and lonely, abandoned by my friends, walking the streets of London without an umbrella or a prayer. The rain hovers around me like weak soup, reminding me of why my ancestors left so long ago. I find solace in a pasty pie and a pint, and I’m glad for it. All that’s behind me now, older but wiser.