Straight Jacket Hill

One day, shortly after moving to Novato, I saw an apparition of a man in a straight jacket standing on the hill that separates Novato from San Rafael. I was northbound and the hill in question was on the left, the west side of 101.

I assume it was an apparition. I can think of no reason why anyone would dress themselves that way (or be dressed that way by others, I suppose) and stand there, legs shoulder width apart, facing south. And I certainly saw it. It was not something I glimpsed sidelong, a trick of the light, or a 5-point buck that I mistook. No, I had plenty of time to look right at it and even look around briefly to see if any of my fellow motorists had spotted it. None appeared to.

A sign of insanity? Well, I suppose so. But what is sane, anyway? Is it sane to criminalize marijuana, an herb that has never killed anyone, and allow alcohol and tobacco, two drugs that kill thousands outright every year and contribute to the demise of thousands more all over the world, to be purchased openly almost anywhere? Or is it sane to attribute virtue to someone simply because he or she is wealthy? Or elect clearly corrupt people to public office? No, of course it isn’t. We live in an insane world.

If I start seeing or hearing things that encourage me to behave irrationally (like, listening to Garth Brooks or Britney Spears, or eating at McDonalds, or believing anything our president says) then I’ll consider seeking treatment. But even then, I’ll probably hold back. Those that make their living treating nutcases often turn out to be nutcases themselves, or so I believe.

Besides, Salvador Dalí saw apparitions, and he did some nice work. Maybe I need to start painting. I think I will.

Like Dalí’s apparitions, I see this one as a symbolic message from my subconscious. I believe it is telling me that I bound to Novato, that it will be my home for the rest of my life. And I’m OK with that. Of course, that’s how I like to think of it. I wonder about other interpretations, too. A man in a straight jacket can actually walk around; it’s just his arms that are bound. So he can’t be productive. Maybe Novato is holding me back. Maybe I’m supposed to be doing something really heavy right now, something that will change the world, and, like, bring about a new world order and feed all the starving children and silence the stupid people, and, and, and…

Then again, maybe I’m just nuts.

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