Brace yourself. This is going to be a long one.
Sedona is the only city in the world where McDonald’s golden arches are not yellow. They are teal – about the same colour as most of the vegetation. The notorious dispenser of bad food had to negotiate with the town fathers about their usual colour scheme, because it was noted that the normal chrome yellow of the famous icon of obesity would clash eerily with the natural palette, the only colour of which that has a recognisable name is red. So it goes, in the Disneyland of spirit groupies.
I hope that you’ll forgive me if nothing at all in this post makes any sense, not that that would be unusual. I was deposited in Brisbane at 08:00 after approximately one hundred hours on an aeroplane. I really did feel okay, in a sort of spacey way. I got a cab, pointed to my reservation so that the non-English speaking driver (gotta love big cities!) could eventually get me to my destination, and checked into my hotel. The nice little girl at the desk managed to decipher most of what I said to her. She spoke perfect English, but with that strange Australian accent. She was, however, giving me funny looks. I found out why later, when I looked in the mirror.
I staggered two blocks to find breakfast, which tasted like dinner, bought three beers at a bottle shop, and managed to navigate my way back to the hotel making only two wrong turns along the way. All that time a little voice was encouraging, “Gee, you feel fine, don’t you? Yes, you do. Just dandy. You got away with this one without permanent brain damage.” This seemed ominous to me, as I don’t usually trust the little voices. Sometimes they try to fool me. I can never tell.
So, I pottered around the room a little, got myself connected to broadband, whistled tunelessly into the cosmos, checked my email, looked to see if anybody in the world that I know on Skype was awake, wished for the ten-millionth time that I wasn’t alone – I would have happily chatted with Adolph Hitler, “Say, Adolph. How is Hell, anyway?” – and I watched a little TV.
I even went outside again to have a cigar and a beer and read a little. I couldn’t concentrate on the book, though it’s the best I’ve read in decades (more about that another time). The cigar seemed a little off, like it had been spiked with LSD. The beer smelled like a microphone. I had a giddy urge to sing into it, “I’m in a New York state of mind.”, which, by the way, I can perform quite credibly. I was teased by little creatures running around in my peripheral vision. They seemed frog-like, but they ran on four legs like a dog. They were talking to each other in a language which I could not decipher. They smiled a lot with amphibian grins.
As if scales fell from my eyes – now I know how Paul felt – suddenly I had an epiphany. A nap! Yes, by all means, that’s what I need: a nap. Yes, a little kip would fix me up nicely. And so, at about 11:30 I lay down on the bed exactly as I had gotten off the plane (sans fedora) in my tattered US$12 suit jacket (sleeve now coming off), t-shirt, underwear (presumably, unless I left it somewhere), jeans with a bulgy wallet and my new Merrell boots. I pulled the cover up over me, sighed a grateful sigh, offered a brief prayer of thanksgiving and departed the planet post-haste.
I returned to Mother Earth at 22:00 dishevelled, disoriented, unamused, and wondering where I had lost my hat. My first thought was, “I need a beer.” My second, third and forth thoughts were, “Where am I? How did I get here? And, by the way, who am I, precisely?” Disregarding the existentialistic nature of issue number four for the moment, I went to the little fridge where I hid my beer stash and retrieved one. “Ah, yes. Brisbane. Sometime in the past on an aeroplane.”, answers to questions number two and three lit up like Christmas tree lights.
Well, okay. Now I have everything I need to write. I have a beer. I know more or less where I am. I’ve resynchronised temporally to the proper epoch. I’ve switched on my Toshiba and fired up my Windows 7 RC, logged onto my WordPress account and . . .
You know what? Now would be the perfect time to tell you about Sedona, the Mixed Nuts Capital of the World.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Sedona appeals to me. It appeals to me the same way that heroin does. I have a creepy feeling that if i tried it I would become addicted to it with the first rush, immediately discover that I liked it a lot, and shortly realise that it was eating my soul. (Ah, possibly I should mention that all of the blather about heroin is purely hypothetical. Never tried it. Don’t want to, for the obvious reason. I have sufficient addictions already.)
As my dear friend Gracie said to me when I whined that Sedona seemed to me a place that was collectively and corporately out of its skull, “They’re here to find the answers outside of their selves.” How succinct! Crystals, vortices (or “vortexes” as they are laughably called locally), psychics, ufos, energy readings, aura readings (you can get an actual photograph of your aura), palm readings, pyramids (a little beyond its sell-by date), emf balancing technique, universal calibration lattice (or lattices – there may be more than one), soul empaths (actually, I may be one of those) . . . uh, I think you probably have the general idea.
The one that interested me most intensely, in a sort of “Huh?” way was the vortex thing. I asked Gracie about it. Like most people – when you ask them about vortices (again, vortexes for the illiterate) – she seemed vaguely vague, “Magnetic, er . . . electric. Something like that.” Hmmm. Magnetic. “There’s much more iron in Minnesota than in Arizona.”, I ventured. “Don’t tell them.”, Gracie suggested. Gotta love Gracie, a practical soul if there ever was one. And funny, oh for pity’s sake, she’s funny. Sadly, my wit is too lethargic to keep up. I usually smirk a few seconds too late. Gracie pretends not to notice.
There was also a UFO crash site:
I was still looking for an appropriate gift for my friend Trevor Hattersley who always brings me some bit of esoteric navel lint back from whatever planet he has been visiting. “Crystals!”, I thought:
It’s spiritually comforting to know that there is an actual, physical centre (with American spelling) for the New Age:
This makes much more sense that having it scattered willy-nilly about like Christianity or Buddhism or Islam (okay, maybe not Islam). You know where to go for your answers to your hard questions like, “What does my aura look like? How’s its colour. Is it all splotchy?”
Here’s a picture of the Centre for the New Age. It’s rather humble, I think, considering its importance. It might look like a business, but these people don’t really want your money. They’ll take it, of course, if you actually want anything, but mostly they are just there because they most sincerely want to help you:
This one reminds me very much of my favourite Grateful Dead t-shirt:
It is so very comforting to know that there are people who can somehow transcend the mere universal laws of physics and, through expanded consciousness and a sound business model, answer any question, really, any question at all that may be on your mind. Wife cheating, you cheating, pickup truck repossessed, lost your job, lonely, broke (no, better skip that one), dog died . . . it’s a veritable country music song of the spirit. Who knows how they do it? It’s uncanny.
So, at this juncture, as it is 02:15 and it now feels like lunch time (and I’m out of beer), I surely must introduce you to Sunshine:
- What is wrong with a car? [assume it's your car]
- Where did I leave my camera?
- How will my new job interview go?
Personally, I’m going for the Etc. I’ve got a manure spreader load of Etc. questions saved up and I need answers now. I can get ten minutes of “reading” for fifty U. S. of A. bucks. Let’ see, that’s . . . hmm . . . ah, yes, that’s US$ 300 per hour. If I want to save money, I can get 300 minutes (including 60 ‘free’ minutes) for only US$1,020.
I’m not going to fool around making jokes about Sunshine. She says that she is also a lawyer and the only people that I sincerely wish to have less to do with than psychics are lawyers. Strange combination, eh? Psychic and lawyer. I wonder who her career councillor was.
I’m afraid to fall asleep now. I’m afraid that I will have nightmares about being sued by a psychic lawyer.
Man, what a bummer.
Oh, one last note: It did NOT escape my notice that I lost a day of my life yesterday. And, it was not for any of the usual reasons. I went directly from the 12th to the 14th as I passed over the International Date Line. Who dreamed that one up? I don’t know who’s responsible for this, but I WANT IT BACK!