This morning I nearly blacked out trying to hold my breath while driving 80 mph. My excuse for such an absurd situation is simple, but requires a bit in the way of an explanation. I had been trying to appease an ancient pagan god.
I like to think of myself as being a rational human being. But frankly, most of the time I am not. I once had a huge argument with an ex-girlfriend. Actually, It was the only argument I ever had with her. The theme was "magic" and whether or not it existed. It started because I felt like the universe had a plan and that us being together wasn't random. She disagreed, and it shocked me that she didn't think we were part of some bigger destiny together. I ended up stomping off in frustration...frankly, a little bit hurt.
I think I have always believed in higher purposes and prophecy...stemming mostly from vanity and the idea that I actually matter in this huge cold universe...that it actually knows and gives a rat's ass who i am. It's kind of pathetic really, but I like to think that it's also kind of romantic that something like cosmic recognition would separate me from a lump of coal.
I have vivid memories of sitting in the vast back seat of my dad's huge Cadillac, driving down old route 100 in Vermont. Passing centuries old cemeteries with imperfect rows of civil war era tombstones. These peaceful old stones were always surrounded by tall wild grass and butterflies in the summer, or grey and frozen under snow hats in the winter. Each time we would pass one, my sister and I would quickly catch our breaths and hold it intently. When we were young and highly susceptible to any kind of story telling, somebody had, in a rather off-hand way, mentioned that it's good luck to hold one's breath when passing a cemetery. Little did they know that I would end up holding my breath COUNTLESS times in my life because of that brief and relatively meaningless conversation. And to add to that bit of silliness, or possibly to add to that bit of actual wizardry (depending on the cosmic unprovable truth), they mentioned that when you were passed the last tombstone you had to chant "Rabbit, Rabbit, thank you for the day god". That would put you in good with whatever or whomever the Day God was and that some rabbit was also going to look out for you. Why a rabbit? I have NO idea. It also makes me wonder how many gods there might be, and what I might need to do or say to not piss them off as well. You see how big the universe can get when the invisible becomes unsure?
Those were the days of Dungeons and Dragons, of sticks, picked up in the forest, becoming magic long swords, and old bushes becoming trolls and ogres...the days of pagan gods, myths and lore. When i looked in the mirror and actually thought i might be looking at another person, who looked like me, but was actually existing in a magic alternate universe. the days when a black cat crossing my path was a message from the fairy's, and witches that they knew my path, that they could cut my path and reach out and grab my soul. The days, when we drove in a Cadillac constructed of thick steel and American automotive pride in the 60's. the days of overalls and magic strawberries.
What's left of these days? I no longer shudder at the huge amounts of magic that I can't see, I no longer think I might have married the ocean that day i lost the silver ring my first girlfriend made me in camp while I was surfing in the Atlantic. I don't believe that I can move objects simply by willing them to move...if I will hard enough. I am pretty sure that I was wrong about that by now. Otherwise I'd be stopping and suddenly focusing on doing shit with my mind CONSTANTLY, and people on the sidewalk would walk around me uncomfortably, wondering why I wasn't taking my medication anymore.
What's left of all that, is this...I still hold my breath when I am passing cemeteries. Only the one that I pass everyday on the 405, as i head up and over the mountains north of LA, is a huge military one. And sometimes there's traffic. So there I am, a rational adult. Holding my breath until i see stars and my face is blue, just to avoid some bad luck. Maybe it's because I am aware of how insanely lucky I am in life that prevents me from taking a breath during this arduously long dead people passing. But goddamit, I am popping brain cells and risking an accident with this left-over habit. Maybe I need to change my commute route. I don't think you can see any cemeteries from the 10 or the 5, right?
This video posted by my sister made me think of this for some reason. The setting reminded me of Vermont...the center of all things magic. There are actually 3 versions to chew on.
I guess I should also mention that i make wishes when i blow out my birthday candles, when i blow away an eyelash that has been plucked from my cheek, and when i look at my watch and it's any of the following times: 12:34:56, and any 3 set combo of numbers, like 11:11:11 and 01:01:01. etc etc...but there's no chant aimed at any deities and making wishes is normal, right?