Acid Heroes

June 28, 2014

That subterranean feeling

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:26 pm


I remember the first time I got that feeling . . .  I called it “that subterranean feeling.”  I’ve never been able to really describe it.  But I’ll try to here . . . . . . It’s sort of that feeling you get when you wake up from a really weird dream.  And you can’t remember exactly what the dream was about.  But the disturbed feeling lets you know it was something eerie and creepy, even if you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what it was.

It was April of 1995.  I was 38-years-old and about to be hit by a massive mid-life crisis.  I had lived in the same apartment for 13 years.  And every year my life seemed to be building and building towards something.  I’m not exactly sure what.  But it kept building.  And then, all of a sudden,  nothing in my life seemed to work anymore.  I was antsy and unhappy.  So I packed up all my stuff into the closets and cupboards of my apartment, sub-let the place to a good friend of mine, and hit the road.

After two years of myriad misadventures and miscellaneous stupidities, I staggered back to my old apartment one day.  And I started going through all my stuff that I had left behind in the closets and cupboards.  Everything was pretty much exactly where I had left it two years earlier.  I had packed up and left so abruptly, it was as if that day in April of 1995 was frozen in time.  Looking at my stuff was like looking back at a time capsule.  Or a tomb or mausoleum.  There were the half-finished art projects I had been working on right before I left.  There was my address book, filled with hundreds of scribbled addresses and phone numbers of the people who had made up my life back then.  There was the stack of magazines and newspapers that featured the  published artwork and writing that I was doing back then.  And I noticed the newsprint had started to yellow.  That was the first disturbing sign.

As I continued to sift through the flotsam and jetsam of my past life, I started to get more and more of this eerie, creepy feeling.  This subterranean feeling that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  I was looking back on my past life.  But it was like looking back at a ghost.    It had seemed so real and vivid back then.  The life I had been leading.  And now it was all gone. That whole world had vanished.  As if it had never even been there in the place.  All the people I had been involved with, the things I had been doing, all the scenes I was in the middle of . . . It was all gone.  It had all faded away.   It had seemed so real at the time.  But now it was as if it was nothing more than a barely-remembered dream.

I started to get this queasy feeling  in my head.  Everything seemed completely unreal.  My past and my present.  Like this world of ours — that I thought was so solid and real — was nothing more than the shifting shadows and flickering lights of a twilight zone, a netherworld, a ghost-town.  I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge in “The Christmas Carol” when the Ghost of Christmas Past is displaying for Scrooge the barren harvest of his past.

When I was young, when I was in my 20s and 30s, life seemed like this endless expanse of time.  Like it was just  going to last forever.   Death was far, far away, nothing but a barely-considered intellectual concept in the back of my mind.  But now it occurred to me for the first time how quickly my youth had passed away.  My past seemed like a train on a track that was blasting farther and farther away from me, disappearing off into the endless void of eternity (like I said, I could never quite explain this feeling). . .

I wonder if that happens to a lot of people as they get older.  What had seemed so solid and real in their youth,  now seems like nothing more than castles made of sand . . .  Everything dissolving into nothingness . . . I really felt like I had died and turned into a ghost.

Nowadays, I get that subterranean feeling whenever I go to my storage locker and start rummaging through the dusty boxes of my past.  This almost unbearable melancholy feeling.  And this feeling that is so strong, and yet I can  never put my finger on it.  Like an unseen image just beyond the sight of my peripheral vision . . .  Like something that is so eerie and unsettling and awesome, it’s  almost unspeakable.



  1. Ace, I get the same feeling as well. It’s odd that you brought it up in today’s posting. I has a bad case of it today when I was cleaning stuff out of my storage unit. The things I went through represented a completely different life than I live today… Ghosts of the past

    Comment by Darrell Legg — June 29, 2014 @ 2:45 am | Reply

  2. This is so true and so vivid. I feel this also.

    Comment by Jeremiah Dissed — June 29, 2014 @ 5:23 am | Reply

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