my doctor's office is about half a block from this

[click image]


I used to live another mile or so up the beach and Billy and Butchie [well, as I say, not Butchie anymore] live up on the side of Mount Tamalpais, there, the base of which you can see through the bubbles.... I reckon if I drove straight through in the middle of the night I could make it there in seven hours, but it's serious driving. People from the middle of the country are almost always white-knuckled behind the wheel when they come here on vacation... barely a straightaway in which one might begin to relax the whole way.

Which is why we have to travel in the middle of the night around here from Spring through Fall. Terrified people, creeping along at well under the speed limit line the pavements whenever the weather is nice. The same trip would take a minimum of nine hours in the summer, and only if I picked a day when regular humans were out and about... best possible case scenario. There are usually lumber trucks from Ohio or Indiana behind which one is stuck for many, many miles, going well under half the speed limit. Plus road work. Plus commute traffic in intervening populated areas. Plus pit stops. So nine hours would be an incredibly lucky shot, but conceivable.

Compounding matters, many regular humans turn into complete idiots under strange driving conditions. The main problem is that people become so terrified of taking their eyes off the road directly in front of them, they completely lose any idea about their rearview mirrors. Even if they know we're back there, often the idiots are too frightened even to pull over, take a breath and let people by.

It's as though no one else on earth were alive. There's you. There's the road. There's a heartbeat in your ears. All those automobile-shaped things in the periphery are scenery, hallucinations, cartoons. None of them has a dying relative to reach. None of them are having babies or trying to get to anything important. Seriously. None of them has to pee.

It's just exactly like hypnosis.