Friday, July 28, 2006

Not So Grand Canyon

Right now, I have a headache as big as the Grand Canyon.

EXACTLY as big. I know. I've been there.

I went to the Grand Canyon as one stop of an ill-conceived road trip across America.

You know what? It's really fucking boring.

Years of hearing about this natural wonder had prepared me for an awe inspiring, breathtaking view that would cause some instant revelation about the majesty of my country or inspire an epiphany about God, and mankind, and... stuff.

I'd been stuck in my car for two weeks by then, and I needed an emotional experience like that to coast through the remaining days of my trip if I was going to make it to California without killing Brad in his sleep.

We'd driven for close to 3,000 miles together. I got high at least three times a day while we sat in traffic just to anesthetize myself to the point where I could tolerate Brad singing along with the Rusted Root CD he played non-stop, and talking about aliens.

I remember parking, walking up to the edge of the canyon, looking at it, and thinking...…

Wow. Rocks. Great.

I was so ready to get back in the car, take the rest of the speed in the trunk and drive day and night until I reached California. I just couldn't take any more America the Beautiful. I mean, it was rocks. That's it. Just like... a big canyon filled with them. I was so disappointed.

That's when the mushrooms kicked in.

I was relatively young at the time, seventeen I guess, and my drug experience was pretty limited... as were my decision making abilities apparently, since I took the advice of drug addict boyfriend and ate five entire hallucinogenic mushrooms without ever having tried them before

At first, I thought what I was feeling was the beauty of the scene enducing the overwhelming appreciation of nature I had been expecting... but when the tree next to me started singing, I realized it was probably the drugs.

I've never been that high in my life, and I hope I never am again. Initially I had a tremendous rush of energy. I ran to my car, dug out a dress I had packed with the Grand Canyon silk screened across it and insisted on stripping out of my shorts and tank top in the parking lot and slipping into this dress and some nice, strappy heels.

NOW I was ready to hike the Grand Canyon! I ran back to where I had been standing to sing back up for the tree.

As quickly as it had come, the euphoria was gone and I was terrified. I waved off the pack of Japanese tourists who had been video taping me, and slowly lowered myself over the edge of the cliff into a tiny cave where no one could see me but I could look out at the canyon.

Brad tried to see how I was doing... but the second his face appeared, hovering at the entrance of my cave, I starting screaming and crying and flailing my arms. (FYI, that's how 17 year olds tell their boyfriends they need more space).

I spent the next three days curled up in my little cave without food or water, contemplating the meaning of good and evil, referring often to the texts of the great philosophers, which someone had left in the cave for me to find.

Of course, rather than three days it may have actually been about ten minutes.... and rather than "great texts", it may have been a leaflet about Jesus that had been left behind by some tourists... and rather than reading it, I may have just been rubbing it all over my face.

All a matter of perception, I guess.

I spent the next five hours (or seven years, if memory serves) climbing around extremely unstable rock ledges in heels and a full length dress, with oversized, neon blue sunglasses on. I looked like a lunatic drag queen impersonating Spider

But I couldn't stop climbing, because if I did the clouds would start having sex again, and I hated when they did that.

At one point, my sunglasses blew off my head, landed on the rocks a few feet in front of me, and de-materialized. I went to investigate... only to have Brad pull the back of my dress so hard I fell into him. I turned around and politely asked "What the fuck? Those were my favorite sunglasses and disapeared into thin air!" At which point Brad pointed out that they had actually blown off the edge of a cliff ten stories above the next rock ledge, and that maybe following them wasn't the best idea.

I was still pretty upset, but he eventually convinced me that my plan to "gently float" into the ravine below might not be the best one. I think he convinced me by giving me a small, pink rock to play with.

As the mushrooms started to wear off, we watched the sunset and made our way back to the car.

Out of all my brushes with death, I think that one was the most gratuitous.

Just thinking about it has made my headache disapate just a little.... Or maybe thats the seven Advil kicking in.