Opinions: Politically Correct?: Driving Mr. Dante

Opinions: Politically Correct?: Driving Mr. Dante

I figured something out. My brain has a capacity to work much harder and much more violently.

I just figured out this secret this year and ever since then my inspiration and ideas have heightened tenfold (and no, it’s not drugs).

My boyfriend lives a good solid 50 minutes away from my house. We see each other every weekend so there is a lot of time spent driving from 100 to 109 to Eatherton Road to Highway 40 to Highway 70.

Sometimes the drive is strenuous, I admit. But there is a state I get into when driving that 50-minute drive when my thoughts go completely pure and uninterrupted. I have explained this to a couple people, and I have deemed it “hyper-think mode.”

It may seem ridiculous and whimsical of me, but my brain jumps from ideas about how Venus has phases to short story ideas and 14th century literature. I just let my brain do its thing. I’m literally having conversations with myself asking things like, “Why did Dante write ‘Dante’s Inferno?” thoughts that never occur to me during a normal, busy, stress-induced day.

It makes me think that if everyone just sat down and meditated, if you will, for 50 minutes a day, would the Renaissance be reborn? Would high school students suddenly be inspired to lay on scaffolding for months and paint the next Sistine Chapel?

Okay. I don’t think it will go that far. But, there is something about my uninterrupted hyper-thinking that makes me feel more complete and less stressed as if something in me has been released.

People always say that the best ideas come to them in the shower. It’s because they’re literally doing nothing with their brains besides rubbing shampoo through dirty hair and maybe shaving their legs. Their brains have been given freedom and doesn’t have to think about things like calculus homework or this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead.”

The brain hops out of the head and says, “Finally, I can do my own thing!” dances salsa routines and runs laps around the perimeter of the shower.

There is something about doing a mundane task that releases pure, sometimes weird, thoughts (so were factory workers during the Industrial Revolution some of the greatest thinkers of their time?)  busy work is all about not thinking about thinking. 

I was watching a Portlandia skit Saturday night; this character was in a yoga class and the audience heard her inner dialogue. The yoga class was in it’s meditation stage, and the girl was thinking to herself, “How the heck do I think about not thinking?”

I laughed, but the answer is kind of easy. Do something like take a walk, go for a drive, take a run, chop some onions or vacuum the house. Because laying there doesn’t cut it.

It’s kind of frustrating having my greatest inventions, idea and musings come to me while I’m driving because I can’t write them down or act on them. But that unimpeded flow is what’s good about hyper-thinking. I’m letting my thoughts go uninterrupted as if my brain is its own separate entity.

Next year, I won’t have that drive or even a car. I hope my roommates don’t mind 50-minute showers.

So what I figured out, in simple language, is that mindless can be mindful.

The next time I’m stressed or wigging out, I will just take a long drive.