8-27-15

To preface this piece I have to say what a strange thing writing can do for you.  I wrote this 5 minutes ago on the precipice of falling into a deep sleep.  I’ll spare you the details but I’ve had a long day and many before it.  But I had the urge to write and with it came a creative exuberance.  I couldn’t fall asleep now if I tried.  I needed to write.  Maybe I am loopy, maybe I needed to get something off my chest.  I have been thinking about this for a little while.

8-27-15

I walked down Melrose as the sun beat down on me from above.  It was the kind of heat that makes you look down but simultaneously radiates off the sidewalk so you can’t avoid it.  The only escape is a small sliver of shade created by the traffic light that hangs in the intersection.  Green, I walk.  Beads of sweat drip down my overpriced iced coffee.  This particular intersection has buildings with low profiles, so I’m able to see the rolling Hollywood Hills with their gaudy mansions against a clear blue backdrop.  It’s Thursday and I’m walking into work.

I have a recurring fantasy on different occasions.  Sometimes it happens on the hot mornings as I walk into work.  It happens when I speed through a yellow light.  The moments are vague at times.  The fantasy I am referring to has to do with alternative realities.  This morning for instance I had a strange sensation as I walked into work.  I felt like I was dreaming.  Normally, (at least in my case) dreams have a specific tunnel vision aspect to them.  In that I am only able to focus on what is right in front of me.  Conversely this morning, the dream felt more comprehensive.  It felt like I was living in a dream for a brief moment.  For the smallest amount of time it felt like my whole life leading up to that moment was also a dream.  It felt real, it felt possible.  Like I was off imitating sleeping beauty somewhere dreaming up a grand old mediocre life.  Eventually the feeling subsided.  But the thought is still there.

There is another reality I think about.  This happens sometimes with a sudden jerk when you’re heart drops down into your stomach.  But I mostly think about this when I am speeding through a yellow light.  After the light turns red and I cruise down the street I wonder.  Did I really make it through that yellow light just now?  Did the oncoming truck just hit me head on causing instant death?  Is my life now a subsequent heaven that let’s me experience things that I might have missed.

“Look God I know I fucked up but let me just finish my twenties”  I can picture myself at the gates.

Once again I think about it for a few minutes and then it subsides.  The morbidity of this isn’t as appealing as living a dream but I still enjoy the possibility.

When I use the term alternative reality, I am not using it as a synonym for parallel universe.  I am trying to speak about perception of reality.  There are plenty of examples of alternatative realities that I might have fed off of to create the idea of mine.  The cliche “brain in a vat” reality in which I am a brain floating in a vat in some laboratory.  Electric impulses make the neurons in my brain react to create experience and emotion just like a normal brain would.  It’s like a more mundane version of The Matrix.  There’s the Shutter Island reality or the 6th Sense reality.  Maybe I’m the fucking crazy one on the island or maybe my best friend is Bruce Willis.

My alternative realities stray closer to ambiguity.  The empirical evidence and my personal experience leads me to believe that I’m just sitting here typing on my laptop and I have work tomorrow.  But I will say how much fun it is to wonder about these things.

“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.”

-Nikos Kazantzakis

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fiesta

He stared out of the slanted window on a Sunday morning.  Down his driveway and onto the street he noticed the dew from the morning fog had sprinkled the pavement.  The city was so quiet that he almost mistook his conscious perception as a morning dream.  The kind of dream where you wake up and do the things you would normally do, but then you wake up again.  He wasn’t dreaming, the city was in a coma after a busy four days.  The grey fog was the aftermath of a week filled with an energy like vibrant tinges of red and yellow.

The ceremony always begins with the sunset on the first Wednesday in August.  As the clouds turn pink, the Spirit of Fiesta twirls her dress back and forth with the admiration and love of an entire city focused upon her.  The entire community becomes awakened with the spirit.  The scene is hardly describable.  Confetti eggs are sold on the streets like hot dogs on Hollywood Blvd.  Walking on eggshells takes on a whole new meaning.  Parks and Plazas are no longer fields of dead grass, they are transformed into a festival of sights, sounds and smells, with strategically placed stages, food stands and beer gardens.  VIVA LA FIESTA is chanted through the dry summer air as eggs crack and tequila is shot back.  The concoction of stimuli creates a confidence and credulity in the spirit that the community shares.  Night time brings no end to the fever of fiesta.  The debauchery is mutual among old and young.  

He reminisced over the past four days that Sunday morning.  He thought about why he always made his way back to his hometown for that first week in August.  Its an inexplicable, enigmatic attraction that he has with Fiesta.  It wasn’t just him, throngs of Locals who have since moved on to bigger cities and opportunities always seem to find their way back to Santa Barbara.  He took a walk down from his Riviera home.  As he walked along the sidewalk, back to the plaza which was now a ghostly version of what it was the previous day, he realized it was the nostalgia of Fiesta which keeps bringing him back.  He thought about driving with his family in a crammed minivan to watch his little sister dance Flamenco.  Walking with them and yelling and smashing eggs and eating tacos.  The week always brings him back to a simpler time in his life when the only worry he had was getting to his sister’s performances on time.  He strolled down the red bricks of the street under the red tile roofs.  His nostalgia would deteriorate slowly over the year, like the confetti stuck in the cracks and crevices of the city.  Only to be reignited again come the first week in August.