I was sitting on the employee shuttle after a long night shift, rubbing my eye and apparently so very into it, the poor guy next to me thought I was experiencing orgasm.
“…You OK over there?” he asked, hesitantly.
“Shh! Keep still,” I said. “Don’t ruin this for me.”
The nerves in my eye (not EVERYONE’S eye, but many people’s and most definitely mine) are connected very close to a pleasure center in my brain. So, whereas I was not having any sort of sexual experience with myself on the bus (this time) I WAS having a moment. At the end of a long work day, no need to worry about mascara and eye liner. I know I’ll look like some bizarre crack whore / raccoon hybrid (crackoon) when I’m done, but in that moment there is bliss. 100% totaly eyegasm.
The eye is the Window To The Soul, and made of squishy goo housing millions of photoreceptor cells. These cells transmit light and images (upside down) to the brain, which flips it and makes up a story about what it is we think we’re seeing. There’s an iris, which expands and contracts, and a pupil, which is sort of a gaping black hole. It’s a Lincoln Tunnel of information to our brain. I like to think cells have some sort of individual capacity for memory- they have to, because they replicate. I’m telling you this because:
Three days ago I was rubbing my eye, and really getting into it. Again, it’s not sexual, but instead a “shh shh shh-just let me have this- open mouthed moaning ahhhhhhhh” kind of pleasure. And there’s no need to immediately pee afterwards. Anyway, I rubbed for a good moment, again inspiring the curiosity of my nearby friend.
“Unh…” I respond, holding up an index finger with my other hand as my head tipped back in ecstasy.
Usually, while this is happening, I see lights and colors and shapeless bursts of firework-looking things behind the lids of my tightly-closed eyes. (OK, so maybe it IS like orgasm. Shh- stay still. Don’t ruin this for me.) This time, though, something very different happened:
Instead of many, I clearly saw one color- the hazy golden orange of a Los Angeles sky in the evening. There is no other color like this in the world- the smog and dissipated shattered hearts collect in the atmosphere and refract the dying light in one last-gasp burst of beauty before the darkness sets in and the monsters emerge from the shadows. One and only color like this, and I was seeing it now.
I also had the intense sensation I was looking up- up from beneath the ground at this sky. I could feel earthen walls around me. I knew I was in a hole, in the ground, looking up. There, silhouetted by the amber light of broken dreams in the sky, was a palm tree, and a tall, thin man (kind of Rod-Serling-esque) in a suit leaning over to look down at me.
I was clearly in my own grave.
I could “see” so distinctly in this closed-eye vision- the tall man in the suit, leaning over, the palm tree bent against the fading light. I knew unequivocably that I was dead, in a grave, in Los Angeles, and here was a friend looking over at me.
A strange calm set in as I realized what this meant: I can very clearly see myself dying in California.
AND YET: there was no fear there. There was no sadness. If anything, in that moment everything felt right, like it made sense. I could not tell who my friend was, or what period in time I was, my age or anything other than a profound and easy sense of Destiny. “This is the way it will be,” Something said.
I breathe… “OK. I’m listening.”
The French, who are assholes, call orgasm “la petite mort,” which means “a little death.” They saw it much like Medieval people viewed a sneeze- an intense moment of danger where your heart stops and perhaps your soul leaves your body for an instant. (It’s a wonder no one says “bless you” when people come.) But the point is, in that moment, we are fragile, vulnerable, and closer to god, more attuned to our bodies- there’s a whole lot going on in that one split-second. So why not a precognitive vision?
My eye cells, which have seen that sky’s light before, chose that opportunity to recreate it for me, and were kind enough to throw in a palm tree so I’d know exactly where the fuck my grave will be. (Jokes on them- I want to be cremated.) Anyway, whether it’s a trick of the eye, a vision, or an unprompted burst backwards, against traffic, up the Lincoln Tunnel from my imagination, it was eerie and soothing at once. A moth to a flame, I know what waits between that golden light. And I’m not afraid.
Eventually, the Tall Man in a black suit merged with the palm tree and left me with a residual “Sauron” image which I could see even with my eyes open. I fuzzed back into reality and rejoined my stunned friend, explaining what I’d seen. (For two completely sober people not on drugs, this may seem a little weird.)
I am not afraid of Los Angeles, and whereas I’m not ready to die, I do want to go back, even if it means facing my own mortality. I want to die fighting. Or perhaps, fight, WIN, kick all the ass, and leave this planet at a ripe old age, confident and at peace knowing I stood up for what I wanted- for what I believe in. I know my life will never be easy. I simply won’t allow myself that luxury. But if I have to go, I want to go under a golden sky, with a tall slender friend staring at me wondering if I’m having an orgasm.
*Author’s note: Within two months of this experience, I have moved to Los Angeles, where I continue to rub my eyes in this fashion.