As we pedaled harder and harder into the night, the distant lights pulsed. They streaked. They spun. They multiplied and minute-by-minute receded into where the horizon should have been but wasn’t. We were so distracted by the spectacle that we never noticed the ground fall away from our tires. We were free falling. Sailing through the cosmos on machines of light. Suddenly, I was aware of it. My heart shuddered. My stomach turned. Don’t look down. I looked down. I found reality in the under glow of my bicycle. I put it away. Back up and I felt the infinite flatness of all things. It consumed me. I opened up. My vision bloomed. The desert was pregnant with life, but everyone was invisible. We crossed their paths like signals through a circuit, waveforms drenched in darkness. We became tangled in a tractor beam. It towed us towards a stage, which emitted dazzling color and sound that soaked my bones. It was an organism, and around it stirred the nocturnal fur people. The earth tilted. My stomach turned. We lay supine beneath the sky. The stars fell around us and the clouds birthed a caterpillar consuming itself. Read More
When Matt and I studied in Lyon after our first year of law school, we shared an apartment with a Frenchman named Florent. The whole place couldn’t have been any more than 300 square feet, including the loft. Between the three of us, personal space was limited. (Arguably, it was nonexistent.) For the two months we lived there, however, we made it work.
This is relevant to the story only to demonstrate what a shoestring budget we were on. Sure, we were gallivanting around Western Europe each weekend, but every euro we saved here and there was one more we could put towards having another bottle of wine in the shadow of some old church, or having another 4:00am kebab whilst wandering around some medieval town square. What I’m saying is: we had priorities. Read More
Another weekend is over. I’m on Train 175 heading back to D.C., heading back home. There’s a woman sitting across from me talking on her cellphone. “It’s okay to be scared of thunderstorms; I used to be scared of thunderstorms too,” she whispers to her son on the other side of the phone. It’s not storming here yet, but it’s spitting rain—water droplets are hugging the windows as the speed of the train forces them, against their own protest, to move along.
Now, you may or may not know that I always ask myself what I learned as a trip comes to a close and the gravity of everyday life pulls me back to the District. See, e.g., And, In the End, PAGAN KINGDOM (“I guess, this is that moment where I should talk about what I learned (or, more appropriately, what I think I learned.)”). This week was not a trip around the world, or even around the country for that matter though. Maybe I should be excused from my own self-reflection over such a short period of time lest it seemed feigned. But, I’m on a lonely train with my thoughts and a keyboard, so I think it’s worth putting thought to paper. Read More
Is the past a time or a place? Or, so asked my half-drunk friend last Saturday, as he fought against a rising tide of nostalgia mixed with apparent depression. All I could think to offer in return is one of those unsatisfying, middle-of-the-road answers: it’s a bit of both.
See, my friend—let’s call him Steve—is stuck in a very bad place: quarter life purgatory (“QLP,” for short). And, frankly, he’s paralyzed by questions like: is he in the right job?; is he living in the right city?; is he going to die alone and unhappy?; and, most importantly, how can he get back to when he was happy? Now, all of this might be a bit melodramatic perhaps, but still, for the person pondering these questions, it is undeniably tough stuff, right? Read More