Pretending to be sane is a fulltime occupation. My poor limbic system gets near worn out from the effort of keeping “the crazy” tamped down. Sometimes, I need a vacation from my own mind, a brief foray into madness, like a daytrip to the Arctic.
Luckily, I have San Francisco, a city that embraces public displays of lunacy. A city that offers its inhabitants an event like Bay to Breakers.
Bay to Breakers is publicized as “an exhilarating scenic footrace,” a weak tagline that does nothing to capture the epic, vision quest nature of the occasion. No longer are mystical revelations reserved for some lone Inuit boy freezing on the monotonous tundra, fasting and attuning himself to the spirit world. Instead, you can walk amongst palm trees and ice cream vendors and have a cathartic mental meltdown with 100,000 of your closest friends.
Allow me to paint you a picture:
Imagine a river of people stretching to the horizon. They are belligerently intoxicated. They’re naked. They are naked and stumbling through the foggy streets at dawn. Actually, they’re not all naked. Some of them are dressed as vaginas or seahorses. They’re dancing, spastically. They’re lilting their way to the ocean.
At this point in my rambling, I think a visual aid has become necessary:
I joined the mob at around nine-thirty in the morning at the intersection of Hayes and Octavia. Within ten minutes, I watched a man receive a blowjob while reclining in a glorified wagon that was outfitted to look like a banana. It was just one of those days.
For ten hours, I drifted from absurd vignette to vignette without any forethought. I befriended strangers and felt an incongruous love for the crowd. I thought, “I wish every day of my life offered this kind of sensory smorgasbord.”
I’m desperate for “experiences" and the idea of, you know, learning from them. Like everyone else in my age bracket, I want intellectual, sexual, and emotional (over)stimulation. I want all of the clichés; I want to grow as a person. But I can already tell that the brain-melting epiphanies I’m after aren’t going to happen during any of my more flashy life moments. I won’t be a riding an elephant through the Sumatran jungle when I suddenly know for certain what it is that I'm meant to do on this volatile planet.
Epiphanies aren't going to come in the form of epiphanies at all. My life is building itself up at a stalactite slow pace, and any real kind of self-awareness will only happen during the in-between times, the boring times, the times when I’m left alone with my own brain and no distractions. No heavy drinking. No topless dykes on sphinxes.