San Diego: Hotel Republic
I was glued to my seat. The music seemed to swim through the speakers and envelop the car, holding me in a strong yet liberating trance. My limbs seemed to melt to the seat as I let myself become overwhelmed by an almost tangible euphoria which reached out to me with a taunting, gentle hand. It was in that instance that a daring thought plunged through my mind, fueled by pure adrenaline. Going home didn’t seem like an option anymore. I felt my foot subjecting itself to a methodical game of tug-a-war with the pedal, not wanting to break the comfortable contact.
All of my responsibilities began flashing through my mind like an old, black and white cinema: class, next image, studying, next image, more class, next image, meetings, nex…
“Fuck it!” I said aloud as I interrupted the serene soundtracks, becoming suffocated by my mundane clips.
I turned off the monotonous film which seemed to be playing the same scenes over and over on an unbroken tract. I fingered for my phone as I pulled to a halt in the driveway. Pulling up the Groupon app, I found a hotel in San Diego. I stared at the button which read PURCHASE, immediately feeling as though I couldn’t do it. But just before I let societally instilled “logic” creep into my mind, the pad of my finger was already lunging to meet the cool touch of the interactive screen in my hand. And in that small motion, I felt my muscles decompress and make room for the mildly devious grin to find its way up to a fastened position on my face.
With that, I took for my new destination. As the air bellowed through my windows, I couldn’t help but think the little particles were fighting to parade into my car just to be present for the night’s plans which had yet to be uncovered, like magic ink awaiting its seeker. I became invested in my own company, delving deeper into the silent conversations which were only audible to me and the artists who unleashed their transparent lyrics in the safety of my presence. And as the night continued on, I let my mind wander off on its own as I submitted my physical being to the ebb and flow of the night’s current.
My legs took me for a ride around the streets for hours on end, taking in every conversation I was alien to, every restaurant I was unfamiliar with, and every event I was simply a bystander to. I strolled through the unknown until finally finding myself in a place I felt acquainted with, Chipotle! It wasn’t long before I was finally in my room where I could eat my piece of home in the foreign place. With every bite of familiarity, my body began to settle until I dozed off into a deep slumber.
My eyes fluttered open the next morning, and I blindly made my way around until confronting a common face which stared back at me through a familiar medium in an unfamiliar room. Why am I here? I let myself question the figure in the mirror. Why not? The words immediately came spitting back at me as my mouth found formation without my conscious consent. And in that moment, I knew. I knew exactly the idea which defined my existence, pumped blood through my veins, kept me sane through insanity, calm through turmoil, strong through pain, and most importantly which put vibrance in my vision and kept me going when I was seemingly crawling on empty:
I am in complete control of myself. I get to tell myself how to operate within the bounds of existence. I am a free agent in my own life. I get to choose exactly how I operationalize my reality. And that fact, that fact however miniscule it seems, is the singular cataclysmic concept which brings breath to my being.