I had to get out of here. At least for a little while. I needed to leave them behind.
I thought about the plain states, flyover country to most people, but potential sanity for me. all those flat spaces you can see for miles without a tree or a shrub in sight. But nature, even in its most passive of forms is not a friend of my affliction. The whole natural world is fractal, from the veins in leaves, to the patterns in blades of grass. The voices might be shouting quieter in the heartland, but they would still reach me.
I needed the most unnatural, most human place I could find.
Where else but Las Vegas?
Out in the middle of that desert, amidst the flashing lights, the gambling, the decadence is the very antithesis of the natural. You don’t go to Vegas to be one with nature. You go to drink, to gamble, to eat beyond gluttony, to consume shows that titillate and amaze, and to leave everything you do in that desert.
I wake every morning and check to see if my chest or my arm is hurting. Some times I tell myself it’s just the way I’m sleeping. Sometimes I think it’s a muscle cramp, or repetitive stress. Sometimes I think it signals the coming heart attack.
But somehow I know it’s fibromyalgia. I can’t say why, but the way the pain feels, the way it travels through my nervous system, seems to be the physical embodiment of what I see every day on my drive. My pain is fractal.
Then again I could just be kidding myself. I don’t eat that well. I live a stressful life. I have a detailed oriented, stressful and sedentary job. I smoke. Just because I’m young doesn’t mean I’m not dying.
I need to get out of here.
Talking to my boss to get time off is surprisingly easy. As passionate, as driven, as important as I feel, I know I am just one interchangeable part in a large machine. I can spend my entire day browsing the net, or listening to the radio and barely writing ten lines of code and I will feel invaluable, and I’ve never been given any sign to the contrary. Sometimes I try to motivate myself out of a sense of professionalism, of knowing that if I ever lost this job I would have to raise my standards. But somehow I can never bring myself to do this.
I decide to fly to Vegas, not only so that I can spend more time there, but because the thought of a cross country drive taxes my ability to cope. I can survive the thirty minutes it takes to get home each day, but 12 hours for multiple days? And the unfamiliarity of the country side only causes the images to jump out at me all the quicker. I am bombarded by new stimuli. A plane is safer. If I fly in coach with the window shade pulled down. Even the flyover states look different from the sky.
I spend most of the flight asleep with a mask over my eyes, and headphones in my ears. I don’t want to talk to anybody. I don’t want to take in anything new. I want to step off this plane and find myself in the middle of sin city. And after four hours I do step off the plane. I walk to the end of a long narrow hallway, and my eyes refocus as real sunlight hits them again.
Except it is not real sunlight, but light tinged with gray, and the same endless winter that has trapped me for months.
I am standing in the same terminal from which I departed. My plane flew for hours and I never left.
What the hell is going on?
To be continued