Friday, November 20, 2009

#40. Gas - Pop (Mille Plateaux, 2000)

I'm going about this one a little differently than normal. Pop isn't an album you listen to so much as one you feel, so it feels odd to do my normal extended look at the best parts of it when the best thing about it is the cumulative effect. So this is a bit more abstract than normal, trying to describe the way it feels to drift in and out of sleep with Pop playing in the background since that's the best way I can think of to go about it.

I'm submerged. I don't know if this is a recent development or not, but I don't feel short of breath yet. I can't see the surface or the bottom, but that doesn't frighten me for whatever reason.

Do I even need to breathe? I've felt like this for a few minutes, like I'm stuck suspended in a never ending tub of water, but I still haven't felt the need to inhale or exhale. There's a pulse I keep feeling that feels like my breathing, long, deep inhalation and exhalation like I'm running or hiking a particularly arduous trail, but i don't feel the breath. It's weird, but I'm not at all put out by it.

This is comforting, the feel of the liquid surrounding me. It should be oppressive and frightening since I have no control over what I do or when I do it but I'm more relaxed than I've ever felt. I finally look around and see that I'm alone. This expanse stretches for what seems like miles upon miles without a hint of any other life forms near by. I feel like moving out a bit to see if that changes.

Pushing through the water is more difficult than I'd thought. Is this even water? It's too thick, not like syrup or anything but definitely not as conducive to an effortless glide. The pulse is still there where my breathing should be, and it's not shortening as I push through. I still can't see anything but vast, clear expanses of this liquid, no other people in my state, no animals of plants. I keep moving.

It's darker now, not to a great degree but enough that its noticeable. Inertia finally takes hold and I'm moving much more smoothly, still not gliding like I would in a lake but not struggling either. I should be struggling by now, I feel like I haven't taken a breath in far too long. The pulse is there still, that must be all that's needed here.

What is this place? It never occurred to me to ask that before despite all the oddness, but the question's there now. Am I dead? Is this heaven? Hell? Purgatory? Vallhalla? I keep moving through the non stop clear liquid. I'm not panicking because I'm unable to. All these thoughts should be sending my mind into overdrive, but this is the most peaceful I've ever felt.

I must be dead. Either that or I'm living in David Lynch's dreams.

I think I see something on the horizon, but I try to move towards it and the liquid gets thicker. I seem to have a charted path through this that won't be deviated from. How long have I been moving? Time doesn't seem to matter wherever I am, but I should have breathed by now.

The liquid thickens up all around me. This should be suffocating me but since I haven't breathed in...10 minutes? 15? Ever? that's not a concern. It got darker too, but my calm hasn't been broken. I'm moving more slowly, but I'm not stopping. I should just ride this out...

I finally feel my heart beating. Pounding is more descriptive, echoing all around me to the point where it's muffled beyond recognition. Has it always been like that? Suddenly I see that there's something on the horizon - can you call it that when you're being propelled through a viscous goo? - but it's so dark that I can't make it out. I'm more aware of the sounds around me now, the way this mystery liquor sounds as my arms cut through it, the heart beat echoing against a boundary I can't see. It's calming in a peculiar way.

I should be panicking.

What is that that I'm moving I still moving even? I don't feel like I've stopped but the shape in front of me hasn't changed in dimension since I spotted it. Are we both moving at the same speed? Is it another person trapped in whatever surrealist dream sequence this is? I should just ride this out...

The liquid suddenly gets less dense, as if I've hit a barrier between the oppressive water and the real stuff. I'm moving with renewed vigor, my heart beating with a more normal rhythm, still echoing endlessly through the expanse but sharper, more like I'm the one in control.

I finally feel the need to breathe just as the water gives way to air. It's almost like this landscape responds to my needs as they occur. So now I'm not swimming, I'm floating. Still moving along the same track but not fighting through a liquid of ever changing density. I'm breathing on my own. It's euphoria in the purest sense.

I lost track of whatever was in front of me, but I don't care. I feel lighter, more free than I ever have. I'm my own person, mostly, not dependent on external forces to breathe for me, in control of my own essential functions. I'm not able to deviate from the course yet but I'm not worried about that.

Peace and calm have given way to pure happiness. I have achieved Nirvana. I am one with my surroundings. I no longer feel the need to ride this out like it's a bad acid trip, I just feel the need to exist in this moment as it is without feelings beyond that. i'm on top of the world and I don't know how I got there.

I should write a book about this whenever I'm done. Will I ever be done? Do I care?

I stop abruptly. I haven't hit a wall or anything, nothing in front of me that I can determine. I start to fall...well, that' not quite it. 'Fall' implies loss of control and that's not what this is. I'm descending though, slowly losing altitude, downward in a straight line. Otherwise I'm motionless. Gravity doesn't work the way it should here, I've determined this much.

I close my eyes, not because I don't want to see what's below me but because it feels like the thing to do. There is no fear, no doubt. I'm going where I need to go.

I come back to questioning where I am. This isn't hell, I'm far too calm for that to be the case. Besides, hell is other people and there's no one around. I open my eyes and look down again. There's no bottom, nothing below me but a vast emptiness. I smile inwardly, perhaps outwardly too. Whatever this is I'm fully enjoying it.

I feel like an angel. At least I feel like an angel as the movies would portray them, slowly descending from the heavens towards earth, face full of peace and unquestioning love. I'm not even religious but right now I feel like a messenger for a guy I'm unsure of the existence of. I'm not gonna question this feeling...maybe there is a higher power and this experience is him/her/it speaking to me. What are they saying? Be at peace? Don't question your path? Just go with it no matter how illogical it all seems?

My heart's beating faster now. The expanse is getting darker. My descent is speeding up.

I stop. There is no bottom, no floor, but I take a step forward anyway. I'm walking on an invisible barrier, listening to my own insistent heartbeat. There are more sounds though, like an orchestra playing at mezzo forte about a mile away, their sound diluted by some good, but not top of the line soundproofing. They swell and fade and I move towards them.

My heart's beating as hard as it ever has, but it's not beating quickly. The sound doesn't seem to be getting closer, just like that shape it seems to be moving in the same direction at the same speed. I can't move any faster but I know that if I did I wouldn't get there any faster anyway.

For the first time I'm not at peace, I'm slightly apprehensive if not mildly frightened. It's the sound I can't quite reach that's doing it, it's beautiful but sinister. I hear it recede, left with nothing but my heartbeat again. That's more like it.

The sound's behind me now. I turn around and for the first time there are surroundings, not emptiness. My face lights up, I literally feel like there is a calm glow emanating from my face as I take it in. It's not ornate, a simple room where people are sitting down, talking to friends, dancing with each other, all with the same calm glow about them. I make my approach and I'm greeted with open arms.

They say this is what raves are like, the feeling of community amongst drunk and stoned twenty somethings having their heads rearranged by overly loud music and distractedby glowing objects. This isn't that though. This is reserved, dignified. There's conversation at normal speaking volume even though the sound is enveloping. There is dancing that's more like a fluid movement than a random array of flailing limbs. This is the ideal dance party.

It takes a minute to let it all sink in. Everything is white, furniture, clothes, decorations, but it's more dynamic than it is bland. The white is blinding when coupled with the glow, giving it a depth that it doesn't have in real life. The people are all smiling, no one seems to have any ill feelings towards anyone else. It's the most glorious thing I've ever witnessed.

And now I'm part of it.

The mass of us are all moving as one, we start to unconsciously vocalize as the sound builds around us. We don't know what we're saying, but we don't need to. We all know that this is where we needto be, and we'd never want to be anywhere else. There's no feeling like this...this genuine uplift, this group euphoria. More people are joining in. I wonder if they all took the same route I did.

I feel it all dying down, but the feeling is staying right where it needs to be. The mass of us slowly, reluctantly disentangle and go our separate ways, all with the same look of pure joy and understanding on our faces. We don't want this to end, but we know it can't last forever. We don't know where we go from here but we know it's all gonna be alright.

If heaven is half as exhilarating as this I'd consider being born again.

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