When I was a little boy, my family used to take long car trips from Los Angeles to Yuba City, California, a distance of about 450 miles.
Despite the hours I had to kill, I didn’t bring books. I didn’t bring anything. I just stared out the window.
My parents found this odd because all there was to see were miles and miles of agricultural land.
But I wasn’t focusing on the crops.
In my mind, I had created a little man. And he was on skis. And he was trying to ski through these fields.
But because this was agricultural land, it was filled with fences and tractors and equipment and most of all, trees. Sometimes whole groves of them.
And this guy had to ski around all of it. An impossible task. Because in my mind, he was a good skier, but not a great skier.
So there were accidents. Lots of them. He ran into trees, got caught in fences, smashed into tractors.
Worse, there was an imaginary boat pulling him, and the boat driver never slowed down. So sometimes, when my skier was knocked unconscious by the trees, he would just be dragged along for miles.
When we’d arrive in Yuba City, there would never be anyone to greet him. Worse, he was dead.
And in my mind, a group of scientists in white coats always ran out to scoop him up and take him back to their lab, presumably to improve his safety equipment, which had failed him again.
And would fail him yet again three days later when we drove home.