Spinoza, My Uber Driver. by Sam Spurlock

Burn your memories.
Stand on the threshold as you do it.
Hold your breath until you become breathless.
Inspire the trickster alchemical with your vapors.
Your ether.
Your ethereal.
You're the real.

Watch — but do not stare — as trails and wisps make furtive moves toward the barely-visible cracks just beneath every doorframe.

Sneak away into air intake vents.
Meander out, eternally recirculate.

Failing and trying and failing again to penetrate the permanently-locked and secured child?-proof windows.


Observe as these vapors reveal the infinite spaces between spaces which remain imperceptible.

Except for those rare moments when they do not ... moments when a simple spark is all that it takes to radically reconfigure reality.

Sauntering, slinking — the trickster alchemical consumes all that has been offered.

And all that you have yet to give.
For a moment.
For a millennium.
Metamorphoses becomes the midwife of resilient resistance to remembrance.
Invisibility imagined itself into existence.

A vow to stealth betrayed. Witness demanded in exchange for evidence of the irrefutable essence of matter's transitional state(s) of being and becoming, creation and annihilation.

Breathe in and — if for but a moment — dare forget both mind and body.

Liminality made material, the trickster's gift that disappears as soon as it has been given.

And all that it has chosen to take.
It leaves traces and fragments in the air.

This element, an equal among equals, is momentarily stripped and deprived, albeit for a few fleeting moments, of the protection afforded by its ability to dwell among us under the guise of only its most palpable presences and absences.

Only exhaust remains: erasure cannot be exhumed.

Sam Spurlock is a recovering academic who Konmarie'd their "American way of life" in 2017, hopped on a one-way flight to Iceland, and has been collecting passport stamps and learning the basics of five new foreign languages along the way. Spurlock spends their days solving problems large and small as a business consultant for clients around the world, as well as teaching English as a Second or Foreign language in formal and informal settings, often over a beer or cup of coffee. Spurlock's inspiration for this piece was based on their own experiences working as an Uber driver late-night and weekends primarily for the life experience, not the money. This piece is dedicated to all of those strangers who willingly shared conversational fragments of their life en route to their destinations during the summer of 2017.