Distance divided by Time

speed
noun
  1. 1.
    the rate at which someone or something moves or operates or is able to move or operate.

 

 

I’ve only flown eight times: Spain, Morocco, Madeira, St Lucia. I didn’t want to go to Spain or Madeira. And to be honest, Morocco would have been a better trip if I wasn’t with the company forced on me at the time.

I don’t like flying, just as I don’t like sharks, or heart attacks. Every flight has been a nightmare. There is almost never the right amount of diazepam on tap, or booze, to calm my nerves, so I end up in rigid fear every flight. My seat is always kicked by the person sitting behind, the seat in front is too close, there is too much screaming, and the ground is too far away.

People die in planes. There is nothing you can do about it.

But people die in cars too. And I have had many fast and dangerous cars, including a 175mph TVR. I never took many chances with that car until I was driving back from the last visit I’d ever have with my Grandmother – who was dying in hospital from brain cancer. She’d just laid there smiling as I kept trying to pick unnecessary fights with the nurses. I kissed her forehead one last time, held her hand tight, told her I loved her, and lied to her about seeing her soon. On the way home it was raining as I got out of Dorset and onto some windy motorway. I found myself gunning the car to a point where nothing seemed to happen fast at all. One hundred and fifty seven miles an hour. Lightening speed when you’re low to the ground in a car like that, but it felt like walking in treacle.

Not safe, and not a great idea to have someone with BPD in a heightened emotional state driving a car like that in the rain on a public road. Total disregard for life – my own, mainly. Speed like that ain’t for everyone.

In my life, the question of speed is always never far away. See, I disassociate: a period of time where the person experiences something other than the world in front of them; mostly a blankness. Time can speed up, slow down, or be forgotten entirely. It’s like an intense and prolonged daydream. All emotions are closed down to robotic necessity, organs functioning, only. Disassociation is something I’m told I learned a long time ago to cope with traumatic situations – a kind of ‘off button’ to shut away the things in front of me that were painful back when I was a kid. And this lingers and surfaces throughout my adult life when something stressful lurches into view. It’s uncontrollable, mainly.

Speed, in this case, doesn’t kill or send me into some fear-induced meltdown, it soothes and saves. Disassociation is a brief glimpse into a trauma-induced period of calm time travel; horrible beginnings, but short and sweet relief from just about most things.

I don’t own a car now, which is probably a good idea, but I am frequently on the inner highway to somewhere better than here. Isn’t that the best use of speed?

 

 

 

 

 

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