Thursday, April 3, 2008
Lava Lamp Zombie
In retrospect, I'm sure what prompted me to buy it was end of the season burn out. I was standing indecisively before several blooming lava lamp cones of colors – green, blue, orange – enthralled and mesmerized by the endless possibilities of the backlit bubbles, lethargic blobs rising to the surface only to be defeated by gravity and the cooling process, and sink as slowly back into the mother dome at the bottom of the lamp before being reborn again. Even the novice decorator in me flashed red warnings and sirens, “Don't go there. Home fashion faux pas.” I certainly didn't need to bring home another chotzsky to live in my already cluttered mini-condo. However, something from a time long ago... the 60s... reminded my burgeoning anxiety that the simplicity of a lava lamp was meditative. Medicinal to the troubled, overworked soul whose psyche could happily get lost in the infinite life cycles of swimming globules. It was a cheap massage for the mind.
I had recently gotten an email from a friend writing a book who queried what in my life caused anxiety. Admittedly, at first I laughed and replied, "Anxiety in paradise?" But after a few days of rumination I realized there are a surprising number of gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands scenarios.... like waking up in a panic not knowing what day it is or which of my three jobs lurk on the horizon. Nightmares of being chased by Baptists with eternal questions and in white sneakers while I'm in my ski boots running in slow motion... of buses circling endlessly with no stops... and having those damn automatic toilets at Mountaineer Square Transit Center flush incessantly while trying to sit on them.
I finally choose the blue lava lamp for the way the bubbles seem to change colors from bluebird to grape with dark raspberry highlights. It takes about half an hour of light bulb heat for the lava to reach the metamorphic stage in its transformation from stagnant, solid bottom blob to ever changing floating spheres. The futility of the rise of the lava sphere snapped off from the umbilical cord of the pulsing mother blob and launched into a viscous world, only to sedately surrender, sinking back into the fold of serene oneness – back into the womb. Yes, I need this, I reason, if for nothing else than to keep me from going wacko for the last of the work season and still be able to pass the stringent bus driver drug tests.
Newspaper deadlines... my cell phone is running out of minutes and battery... I forgot to send my tax paperwork to the accountant 3 weeks ago... I'm scheduled to work every night and day... did I turn off the stove and unplug the coffee?
I plug in the lamp next to my favorite cushy chair. In extraordinarily slow motion the bubbles glide against each other in their prolonged gelatinous dance, caressing as they rise and fall. Yin and yang. Repeating. Continuing in the journey. Breathing. The lamp works its magic. The cat glances over at the lava globes, rolls over on his back and stretches.
I'm on stage but can't remember the words to sing... the story deadline is tomorrow but I have no idea what the article was supposed to be about... I can't remember what year it is... my mother yells my name with hurricane force trying to wake me in time to catch the school bus... and I bolt upright out of dead sleep... disoriented... slowly my room comes into focus, the cat snoring somewhere under the sheets, wrapped into his own divine universe. Third planet from the sun. 2008. Crested Butte. Only one more issue of the paper to put out and only 5 more nights of loopy bus driving before the fat lady sings for this epic, snowy winter work season.
The hordes of Baptists and their inquiries have been taken, presumably by the rapture, buses and all have left. The phoenix is rising. Rebirth. Freedom. The lava lamp will remain a constant source of churning vision well after the ski lifts close, the streets are empty and we can all dream and get some real sleep around here again.