Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Dateline San Diego, CA:

I arrived here two days ago, a retreat from winter freeze and its metaphor of melancholy. My sister lives here; as a New Englander, she stands out among the locals like a messy bikini line. An observation: many of the natives here fetishize the body as if fitness and narcissism should coalesce and become a sheen of flawless skin. People of such persuasion tend to live comfortably in their bodies, a kind of condition of rank materialism that precludes more spiritual reckonings.

Just a day before I left the tri-state area, I was involved in a one car accident on the Pulaski Skyway, above Jersey City. My friend's car went into a skid and never recovered. It spun around and then crashed into the retaining wall at forty-five miles per hour. Had that wall not held, we would've fallen like auto-Icaruses a hundred feet into industrial wasteland. Even though I wore a seat belt, I was flung into the windshield, shattering the right side with my head. As I recoiled from the glass, the air bag belatedly sprang, knocking me in the face. I hit the head-rest at an oblique angle and was awarded with a small gash in the back of my head, the only injury I sustained (the driver was only slightly shaken and stirred). The seconds before impact were oddly serene-- I felt lifted out of my body, out of any concern for consequences, and took in every moment and every detail like a transparent eye ball. No care for the body or its physicality, an ecstasy of indeterminacy, an anticipation of nullity and a sentiment of emptiness. Would that I could translate this experience to these San Diegoans, perhaps they might escape their enclosure in sensual skin and surface for the depth of perspective that near tragedy brings. If only. J/C