I have forgotten that the librarian slouched behind the “Reference” sign can see me, the me that sits and stares with unparalleled attention at the page.
I have forgotten to breathe for a bit, allowing the swells and heartbeats of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to do the breathing for me. Apparently it’s working. I’m still alive, I believe.
I don’t remember the last time my eyelids took a break, so peeled have they been for hours. I experience a remarkable sensation when I concentrate on the feeling of eyelids.
It’s like they are tired, exhaustion has colonized deep on the lid, close to the brain. This exhaustion pulls at my eyelids, takes a long drag. But the perimeter of the lid. The circumference is the sun. It will not set until my world has properly rotated.
Sometimes the wooden chair, so warm now and so saturated with my body, vibrates a little. I think it’s trying to tell me someone has walked behind me. It’s a public library; all around me the people oscillate.
I don’t care. I tell the chair as much, and I think it has listened, because the vibrating stops.
There’s a narrow strip of window to my left. I’ve just shifted my eyes towards it, and realize with mild fascination that it’s more difficult to see than it was the last time. It blends in with the shadows in the corner of the creamy lamp-lit walls.
The sound of a phone rings from the depths between my toes. A minor event in the grand scheme of cosmic physiology. I think someone has answered it. I hear something muffled, and then a low-frequency chunking sound.
My right leg has been dangled over it’s twin for too long to function correctly. If I were to stand, I would fall, I know it. So I stay in my wooden chair. I’ll stay here with the stacks and stacks of over-sized exploration and art books hugging me from all sides of this round table.
I lost count of the number of times The Dark Side of the Moon has played in full. Perhaps seven. Maybe more. I really couldn’t say.
This is what I’ve come to know as Deep State. My heart rate is that of a Ugandan deep sea diver. My spine is in equilibrium. It feels like it’s been glued, like a million-piece puzzle. Perhaps it has been.
I probably wouldn’t have noticed.
All of my manual processing has been transferred to the mind. Everything physical is running automatically now.
There’s so much energy in my mind. So much focus. So much concentration. I don’t experience needs anymore. Perhaps I’ll never again experience the feeling of need; for now this is endless, this universe and I, sandwiched together between layers of Pink Floyd.
I’ve been at the public library for years now, and have been only breathing for minutes.
I’ve been nestled at this round table, under the gaze of the Reference Librarian. Tucked right behind the Oversized Books stacks and the Travel and Geography section.
My day has been spelled out with the books spread on this counter:
Lonely Planet’s Great Adventures.
The Time’s History of the World in Maps.
I can’t tell you who I am anymore, I’ve lost count. Maybe I am a Victorian adventurer, seeking the origin of the White Nile. Maybe I am Manet, urging my critics to see the stark beauty of Olympia. Perhaps I am David Livingstone crawling through the jungle.
I suppose I am Ptolemy’s world map.
I am the bits of curly brown hair that swipe across my vision from their scrunchied perch on my head. I don’t know if that belongs to me, I can’t remember. Or care. I can’t seem to care.
Nothing matters except for the bits that are floating from lobe to lobe. My world tilts and revolves. The lobe of mine is a constantly spinning apparatus. It asks me to take notice, to stop moving around so much, so that it can keep it’s tides under control.
O, Deep State. Called forth from the undercarriage of my toes, resurrected from my distraction-lobotomies. Bubbled to the surface by hours of listening to Dark Side of the Moon and gazing at enrapturing images of adventure and exploration and dreams and greatness.
This is a cheaper way to travel.