Hola maestro. I was talking on the phone with my mom while writing my last e-mail and just inadvertently clicked “send.” I guess I must have unconsciously known the thing was just too damned long. These mails are like freaking book chapters. So just as well, I suppose. But now this means that I am going to need to finish up the tale about the final meth bender, though. So I’ll just get right on concluding this bit of the saga. I don’t much feel the need to ask you about your week at this point either. You never reply to my e-mails anyway, dick. On Wednesday at Anzuelitos I can ask you how your life is going. So I’ll just dive in where I left off with Haley laying me down on the hospital floor like a dying baby.
I really have to say, maestro, it’s simply not possible not possible to describe what happened next. I wouldn’t even begin to dare to dare to promise you that my account will be methodical or comprehensible. I’ll do my best. But we are getting into territory that I don’t think has really been captured on film or in any literature that I have read, so I have no idea how to present this stuff. All I can say is that ten seconds after Haley said goodbye to me, my brain exploded. I seemed to lose all reasonable cognitive faculty. I was able to ask myself verbally in my head, “What’s going on?” That’s when I heard another voice in my head say, “You blew yourself to pieces, but I am going to put you back together.”
Maestro, I don’t know even now if that voice was the voice of God or of the devil. I can say that what would come next was not some miraculous spectacle of healing that one would expect following a promise of being put back together.
And yet the impact was of this experience to follow has been supremely majestic. Everything that I ever considered true about reality was shaken to the core. In my previous e-mail I described my experiences with Chaz and Haley like a diabolical attack. Maestro, this part was the cavalry charge. Also, I described human identity in terms of concentric circles, starting from the core and going to the less central to a human, we have an example of: consciousness > gender > interpersonal connection > language > nationality > profession > etcetera. I saw all of these challenges to to my interpersonal relationships, being hated for being a middle-aged single American dude, followed by attacks more central to the core of my being, attacks against my concept of myself as a male, attacks against my understanding of gender. Well, maestro, here, at this point, on the floor of the hospital waiting room, my very conception of consciousness itself was attacked. There doesn’t get any more core than this, maestro. So let’s continue the description.
My normal processes of thinking completely disintegrated. I can only describe what I witnessed as a series of visions. Although, to tell the truth, they weren’t really visions. They were part of a different reality. And, maestro, try as I may, I cannot describe them. They were part of an entirely different process of thought and perception than at our level of reality. But at this point I don’t really think this “other level of reality” is necessarily more advanced than or just as real as what we normally experience. I’m sure you’re curious about them, and with your guru background and it’s tradition of psychedelic transcendence, you may be tempted to wonder if I had reached some higher plane. Honestly I don’t think there was anything really better about where I went. Frankly, “mind fuck” is probably the best term for what happened. I do feel privileged to have seen something that maybe nobody else on the planet has, or at least has seen and then returned to enough sanity to write about. But do I recommend anyone else go there? Nope. Not at all. Of course, Chaz, or the demon who inspired him, would have said that my fear of the unknown was what kept me from accessing different and better realities. Well, I went someplace else alright, and I wear the experience of it like scars to this day.
I can tell you right now it will be impossible to give a cogent narrative of the thought processes I experienced. However, a while ago I wrote a list with some titles that I had given to these “visions” because I did not want to forget them. Since it I’ll never be able to tell you what I actually thought, perhaps the bizarreness of these titles will convey some kind of sense to you of the otherworldliness of total intellectual collapse. I’ll write them for you in a list.
- The weirdest magic spell in the world
- Hiding the inevitable in the freckle
- The smartest guy in the room
- The lake of fire is the last form of excitement
- Lack of infinity is hell
- Processes go backward while time goes forward
- This only happens once
- Once material reality is under control
- Paramedic assasins
- Infinity talking to infinity in the language of inevitability
- Three infinities fucking
- Finding a new God after you’ve been kicked out of the old one
- Noah in the paramedic’s eyes
Maestro, I hope you have realized that these titles are part of a context that involves combinations of ideas that are not typical. They happened before and during a 5150 . Most English speakers associate this number with the title of a Van Halen album, although the rock group took the term out of the California medical code for when a situation arises that requires someone to be admitted to a psychiatric ward. For example, a paramedic may say to his colleague over the radio:
“We have here an old man, apparently drugged, running naked down the street and screaming that he is Napoleon Bonaparte. He has a sword in his hand. It looks like a 5150. We’ll need a straitjacket and stun guns.”
In my case, it wasn’t exactly a 5150 because my entry into the hospital was voluntary, but the result was basically the same. I will explain it to you by this email, but first I want to tell you a little more about the visions.
The whole thing was like going on an excursion. I was a boy scout crossing the boundaries of his understanding of reality without a compass. I can’t tell you much more about it other than that there are some parts that were very significant, that had an effect on me later, even now. I want to write you something about this.
Take the vision entitled, “This only happens once,” It’s still intriguing to me. I’ll explain why. basically, at this point in time I don’t know if I died in that hospital or not. I don’t know if I was born this morning when I woke up. You don’t really know either because nobody understands the connection between one moment and another. Your life may have started five minutes ago and everything you remember from before could be just a memory implant. Maestro, I have been aware of this philosophical position for many years. In fact, since elementary school. But in that waiting room the idea appeared to me in a particularly memorable way. A black man who looked like Neil deGrasse Tyson, that is to say: old, safe and wise, told me that I had to be prepared, but not to worry, because death would be easy, that it will only happen once. I accepted his words and made the necessary mental preparations to embrace my imperious death. Then I felt a slight blink of consciousness, after which the black guys said, “congratulations. You made it.” As if I were laying on the hospital floor talking to a black dude and then died, experiencing a minute blink of consciousness, and now, in my afterlife, after an instant transition from the land of the living to the land of the departed, I was…laying on a hospital floor talking to a black dude. Who is to say that our afterlife won’t be an exact continuation of this life? Over the last year I have developed intellectual arguments and mental exercises that defeat this notion. However, it still hits me sometimes when things happen that seem too strange to be real.
It is an important point, Vidal. Because the way I see things now is not like before. My fundamental perception of things is a little different now. Last week we talked about how the songs piping in over the speakers at Anzuelitos all seemed to perfectly coordinate with the conversation that we were having. Remember? Now, sound familiar? Like haven’t I been telling you about how these songs from this Dutch girl perfectly coordinated with my life and thoughts about this Dutch girl? I find these kinds of connections all the time. And don’t forget, maestro, that all this shit started when I saw the playlist of a Dutch teenager living in Israel, months before I smoked my first bowl of speed, and certainly long before I found my thoughts flying out of my head while laying down on a hospital waiting room floor.
You can see in my titles the word infinity coming up a lot, and also the idea of infinity having sex with or talking with another, something that is logically impossible. An absurdity. Let me tell you that philosophizing about this is very important to me, since infinity is a word that I occasionally use to describe God. Now, it is not possible to have two “Gods” in the same way that it is not possible to have two infinities. However, according to Leibnitz, there is the idea that there are multiple realities, and that each one has its own separate subsistence. Now if the same thing were to happen at the same time in more than one reality, when this happens a sort of convergence could be established. Maestro, this seemed to be some sort of advanced idea about the notion that synchronicity between two completely disconnected events evinces a common point of connection that could only be described as God. And from this, you can see for me the idea that communicating somehow with the Electrochemical Girl represented a king synchronicity of disconnected things that proved the existence of God. So in a sense finding the Electrochemical Girl was like when slot machine gives a jackpot of infinite improbability. Seeing her hair for the first time meant what it means to a Las Vegas gambler to win at the casino. This meeting of two people who ordinarily would not meet, for my heart was a discovery of a quantum nature. Confirmation that we live in Leibniz’ “best possible world.”
I think with this you may have some idea about the mental state I was in. I must admit that my mental state deteriorated until I reached the basement of madness. I was assailed with incredible and sophisticated ideas, but ideas absolutely insane from the perspective of an rational person.
I reached such a point of delirium that my understanding of reality was completely fading. At one point it dawned on me that the only way I could keep my sanity was to scream with a fury from another world:
JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD !!!!!!!
So I did so. Right there in the hospital waiting room. Ever seen anything like that in your life? Dudes screaming at the wind? Or maybe seen movies about that kind of thing? In the movies, this type of character represents the complete goner. The guy the audience just can’t identify with in any way other than to call him nuts. I was that guy, maestro. Whenever I could feel complete mental disintegration around the corner, I would have to scream that sentence about Jesus in order to keep my fundamental self from fading to black. Once every two to three minutes, as I remember it. This was my mantra of salvation.
Yes, maestro, I suppose that the voice that promised to put me back together didn’t meet my expectations. It was not like knocking on the gates of heaven by any stretch of the imagination. But, observing the state of my increasingly battered reflections, I came to the conclusion that the omnipresent forces of hell were assaulting me once more. Like a desperate exorcist who left his holy water back at the church, my only weapon, but the most powerful, was to proclaim the name of the Savior.
Maestro, imagine there are thirty people waiting patiently for their turn in a hospital ward and I am the thirty-first person in line. You can be sure that no matter how many rivers of blood flow down from my jugular from a fatal ax wound or bear attack, it is very likely that I will bleed to death on the floor because I am going to have to wait my turn to be seen. Bureaucrats are almost impossible to sway from their procedures, and they will nonchalantly hand out aspirin to children with headaches, since they are in places one through thirty, while I lie thee bleeding from my axe wound. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, I have a piece of advice for you: shout JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD !!!!!! Every two to three minutes. They might actually move you to the front of the line. That looks like it’s what they did to me.
At some point they shuffled me into the nurses office and asked me if I wanted to voluntarily check into a recovery facility. During the interview I couldn’t help but bellow my mantra. With a face of resignation she told me, “Yes, Mr. Bailey, we know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. You’ve already said that many times.”
To which I replied, “Excuse me. If I don’t say it, I go insane.
I imagine what she must have thought at that moment: “buddy, you have already gone insane.” But the lady just gave me forms to fill out. You can imagine that I cannot describe what happened or even detail what exactly my behavior was in detail. I’m just telling you that I ran through the corridors of the hospital while doing and saying many things. The vision for The Weirdest Magic Spell in the World has its title for very good reason. It was, in fact, the weirdest freaking magic spell in this freaking world, amigo (is it okay if I call you that, maestro? Sorry, I’m just a tad tipsy).
After signing the documents, they put me on a gurney where they restrained me like Hannibal Lecter. I waited like this until they transferred me. A nurse came to take my vital signs. A male nurse who had a bunch of tattoos, but the largest and most visible of them was a famous phrase in English: “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” He didn’t say a single word to me, but that tattoo said everything I needed to hear.
Maestro, it was there in that bed that I started to get the feeling of being able to alter reality. It occurred to me that time could stop like it does in Flash movies, and shows. Have you seen them? They depict the Flash running so fast that everything else is portrayed as standing still. Now it wasn’t that I was trying to make time stop. But while I was thinking about the idea of time stopping, time actually stopped. Like, just thinking about time stopping seemed to cause it to. The nurse taking the blood pressure, the sick man in the middle of his moaning, the other nurse preparing an injection, a yawn in the waiting room, etc. Can you imagine it? Were I not restrained, I could have had a tea while everything around me remained motionless. Now there was obviously some element of psychology here. In reality, the hospital staff kept me motionless by tying me to the gurney. And while in this state, I saw everything else stop motionless in my mind, and then poof, everything just stopped.
I stared at all of this for a moment. I have no idea how long. But the thought just came into my mind that time restarted, and poof, everybody just started to move again. Just as they started to move, everyone seemed incredibly relieved for a short instant and then went straight to back to life as normal as if nothing happened.
I had to be transported in an ambulance to be taken to another facility specializing in crazy drug addicts that had all the looks of a fucking prison. For this, a team of employees from the security hospital arrived to untie me from my bed and later tie me onto the stretcher by which I would be moved. They again put belts on me that prevented all movement. As I left the hospital, while being wheeled to the ambulance, I noticed that the hospital vehicles in the parking lot looked different. Like a smaller, European type. I could hear some people talking in the distance, and it seemed to me that they sounded like they were speaking Dutch. I couldn’t read the letters written on the vehicles and buildings. The words were similar, but incomprehensible, like any language very similar to English, but different. It seemed to me that it could have been fucking Dutch.
Yeah, maestro, I am talking about stopping time, about having thoughts of infinity having sex with infinity, about screaming every minute or two at the top of my lungs that Jesus was the Son of God in a crowded waiting room. And I am telling you that all of this was a complete assault on and reorganization of my absolute core of self and identity. And in the midst of all that, references to this Dutch teenager pop up. Yup. Make of it what you will. It’s the way it is.
Anyway, next I experienced the vision of Lack of Infinity is Hell . Here the dilemma of an immortal being assailed me. I came to the determination that, given enough time, everything that can possibly happen will happen. Also, however, sooner or later everything ends up getting boring. I’ll say that this isn’t actually true, but I am not going to explain here why it isn’t, since just explaining this experience with these visions is a huge task. I am just going to say that at this time I had that idea. With an infinite amount to time, boredom would be chief problem number one. At one point, after someone has experienced all possible pleasures, the only interesting things are those that produce misery. Every immortal being would know that there eventually will come a time when the only desirable experience is to take a bath of fire. Thinking back on it, this notion actually comes back from the old Clive Barker books of the Hellraiser series. Nothing particularly otherworldly about the idea. But I had it just as I was being shoved into the back of the ambulance.
At that moment, being pushed into the ambulance looked exactly like being a corpse being rolled into the furnace of a crematorium. My stretcher was like the grill on which my meat would be fried to ashes. Suddenly, everything turned orange like a bonfire. For a split second I experienced unspeakable terror. I wanted to scream! But then everything went back to normal just as fast as it went weird. From that moment on, the theme of fire was recurrent during these visions. Many times I was seized by panic, and even had a feeling that my final destination would be hell. Yet with every iteration of this fear I managed to avoid the fiery annihilation of my soul and my sins. I am grateful for that. Even going totally insane, experiencing every sort of collapse, every time the notion of true hell entered my mind, it was quickly dismissed. God could let me lose every shred of sanity, but he never failed to dispel any notion of damnation from my desiccated mind.
After the vision of immolation in a furnace I breathed in relief. There was a paramedic next to me, and I stared right into his eyes. He reacted like someone who knows that his soul is being watched. And when looking directly into his soul I could see the Electrochemical Girl, just as if Noah van Ouwerkerk inhabited his body. I had some notion of the possibility that he had been experiencing connections to different realities, or infinities, or different Gods, or whatever you want to call it.
After a few seconds my concentration was drawn to other things. You can see that my train of thought was very tangled. Even though I felt like I was in front of Noah, I didn’t try to talk to her. I guess I didn’t want the paramedic to listen. So now twice I am describing the presence of this Dutch girl at the core of the disintegration of my being. I’ll leave it at that and assume that the significance of the event with the songs and the van Ouwerkerks has been conveyed. So I will continue with the practical details of my narration.
My entry into the recovery institution was like entering a prison. They gave me clothes and took my phone from me. The rules were explained to me. i could request food and drinks at all times. Blankets as well. The central room was like a movie theater. There were perhaps twenty reclining chairs arranged in three rows in front of a large television. I tried to avoid watching TV because I didn’t want to see any strange messages from hell that my condition would surely deliver. My goal was to return to an at least relatively functional state of mind.
I was also allowed to take a shower at any time. Thank goodness, because the temperature seemed to me like I was in Niflheim, the supernatural realm of cold in Norse mythology (their version of hell, by the way). I took at least three hot showers.
I kept track, with exacting precision, of my hours of sleeping, eating, having my bowel movements, and taking my showers. It was very interesting that before this period of scrutiny, I had no notion of having defecated in many days. Understandably, I was very concerned about my physical condition.
The other patients were in many cases every bit as jacked up as I was. Especially a girl near me who spoke with the air. Apparently she had an internal voice that was accusing her of various things, and she was defending her actions and perspectives in a very frantic way. In my opinion, she was suffering from satanic attacks. My heart went out to her, and I wanted to console or help her, but I didn’t say anything to her because she was a woman, and I couldn’t take any more problems with women in any institution.
In reality, all I needed was my own mother. More than anxiolytics and professional care, the best thing for me would have been to sit in her giant bathtub in her luxury home and accept the heavenly food of the purest woman I had ever met in my life. I was hungry for her divine love, support, and acceptance. What my miserable life needed most was to return to the womb.
It became clear to me that to regain my sanity I would have to spend more than a day there. But to be honest, I was in no rush to remain. All these experiences were unique and valuable to me, although, at the same time it was very evident to me that a human being on this planet absolutely must be able to hold a common conversation, pay his bills, or drive a car. If you don’t want to be a failure at life, that is. Apparently my recovery, if there was going to be any, would require days, weeks, or maybe months.
That place was not the best for me do truly recover. The lack of my phone was the constant confirmation of it. I couldn’t communicate with anyone, I couldn’t read. Aside from just sitting there, I couldn’t do much of anything at all.
We were allowed to use the institution’s phone, but it was a regular landline, so you had to remember the number of the person you wanted to talk to. Maestro, it’s the twenty-first century! I don’t know your number. I don’t know the number of my dear mom. By the way, when I entered the facility, I wrote her number and George’s number on a piece of paper, but my mother’s I wrote incorrectly. I called George many times, but he never answered.
I had to beg one of the workers to let me use my phone at least once. I needed to talk to someone. What he told me was insane. He said I could see my phone, but, according to the rules, I couldn’t take it out of the plastic bag it was in. For me this reasoning was too bizarre to be real. It was too sadistic and ridiculous to be healthy. Now remember my vision of This only happens once. Maybe I had died on the floor of the hospital waiting room, and everything that happened afterwards was an illusion that contain weird sadistic stupidities such as this. So now he was living in an imaginary world ruled by inconceivable idiocy. This is a problem that I have to this day, maestro. If I read something on the web or experience something in real life that is shockingly ridiculous, I might even doubt that it is real. “You can use your phone, but you can’t take it out of its plastic bag.” This was the irrefutable evidence that I was in a nightmare of infinite imbecility. Yes, maestro, I could not write a phone number correctly, but I could criticize the world. That says something about me, but it also says something about the world.
Of course the plastic in the bag was too slippery for me to get more numbers. In a moment of desperation I tore the bag, and the clerk ripped everything from my hand with blinding speed and power.
I went back to my recliner just to wait. I had no idea if I would ever get out of that institution. I thought a lot about Chaz’s advice; that of avoiding remedies that will take away my freedom.
The next day, in the morning, I had a meeting with a psychiatrist to evaluate me in order to determine my fate. I lied nonstop, maestro. I told him that I had gone crazy because I had taken too many drugs, but that now that I had slept and eaten everything was wonderful. I totally faked being sane to get out of that prison. I told him I felt great! I just wanted to go home. As was to be expected in that realm of indescribable stupidity, I won my freedom.
After an incredibly long time, they gave me my things and an employee there took me home. The trip was very long. The psychiatric jail was located in a secluded patch of desert on the outskirts of the city.
Of course, the driver taking me home could only drop me off at the address listed as my official residence: my parents’, across town in North Scottsdale. A house, of course, to which no one had the key. I asked her to drop me off at a Seven Eleven to so I could my phone. She didn’t want to do that. She told me that her responsibility was to leave me at the official address, and that if something happened to me she would get into trouble. I tried to explain to him that leaving me outside a locked house miles from an open store would be more dangerous than simply breaking the rule and dropping me somewhere where I could find a phone charger to call a friend. Again I was faced with a situation in which stupidity reigned supreme. Could this crap even be real? Or was I in some la la land ever since the moment of the floor in the hospital waiting room?
Since I had no luck trying to establish rational comprehension of my situation, I appealed to compassion. So now learn this thing about Jonathan Bailey, maestro. The dude knew he was insane. But even still he thought he was smarter than everybody else. In that sense I am still a mental case. Anyway, I told my lovely chauffeur that I had to get out of the vehicle. Smiling, he asked me if I meant it. Without giving an articulated answer, and still smiling, I said yes and opened the door and jumped out of the van just as it stopped at a red light. I continued my odyssey on foot.
At the end of the day, the important thing is that now you can understand a little better that I experienced incomprehensible things, which are not easy to accommodate in a life, much less in twelve days. Something that I found revealing in the midst of all this mud was the vision of this person with whom I had never had a proper conversation and who nevertheless occupied a central place in the back of my consciousness: the electrochemical girl. There was absolutely nothing conventional about this whole story. It was not at all the case of a vulgar old green man who only seeks to have sex with a girl. Something had inserted itself into my soul. Something that had to do with very deep events that took place in my psyche. From my divorce and my relationship with my daughter to my discharge from the army, and much more. This is what you have to remember.
I think now is a good time to finish this e-mail and complete the story next week. Maybe this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever written. Maestro, it is quite common to hear stories about drugs or spiritual experiences where incredible things are seen, but in the end the experience cannot be be conveyed. Often I see in YouTube people saying, “I just can’t tell you what happened.” It seems to me that this is the case here. I said in the beginning that I wasn’t going to be able to describe my mindset or these visions. Well, this mail has been my attempt to do just that. I assure that I failed to give you the exact situation. I didn’t mention many things that happened, and the ones I did mention were not fully described. I did what I could. Sorry.
See you Monday, Maestro. Have a good weekend.