Monday, April 04, 2005

In March I decided to try Vipassana meditation at a place in the foothills east of Fresno. It was kind of dire, but I kind of liked it. It was cold & raining all the time & everyone was dressed in turbans & yoga pants & wore wool blankets around them all day long, and so there would be these groups of tired-looking bearded men in turbans walking around through the mud, so I kept thinking I was in some U.S. Army detention camp in Afghanistan. After a few days my old shoulder/nerve problem was flaring up badly, so I was fighting pain while trying to meditate. Then I started having so much trouble breathing that I couldn't sleep. I thought it was my asthma but it turned out I was wrong.

I finally gave up on day five and started driving. I was too depressed to go back home right away, so I just let myself drive & drive. Because in a way I'd be giving myself the meditation time that I couldn't manage to pull off at the Vipassana center. I ended up driving all over the Central Valley & finally pulled into a motel in Paso Robles, where my body crashed. I was in that motel room for three days before I had the energy to drive home. Turned out it wasn't asthma it was bronchitis.

I lay in that motel bed, swilling the Nyquil I'd been smart enough to buy in quantity on the way in, and every time I woke up I'd turn on the damn cable TV, every time it was the same two shows on: Viking Invasion! on History Channel, and the movie The Breakfast Club with all those kids in it, Molly Ringwald & Emilio Estevez and all. I'd never seen it but now I can say I've seen it a dozen times, though in a weird order. Too bad the cute semi-goth girl had to go get cleaned up in the end. Man, where did she get that little frilly top at the end?

Anyway, here is a picture of the sky & clouds the way they looked about an hour after I'd left the Vipassana center, all feverish & exhausted - everything was kind of over-bright, like cartoon animation, I felt a little like Wiley Coyote after all those anvils had landed on my head, everything had a shiny surface thing going on, then coming out of the foothills, going over this long series of dips & rises in the road, the sky & clouds looked like nothing other than the sky & clouds parting at the beginning of The Siiiiiiiimp-SONS! .... all bright & cheery & choir-music & heavenly....

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