THIS week I underwent one of the most profound pothole experiences of my life.
Big deal, I hear you say, we all drive into potholes every day of the week. It's a shared experience drawing us all together as a caring community as we share our stories of survival, and curse the evil overlords of colonial era road design.
But this was a large Hadron Collider of a pothole and I came very close to finding the God Particle in the eternity of time that seemed to elapse between losing contact with the road surface and the edge of that bitumen chasm.
Time appeared to distort as my car fell into the depths and as I reached terminal velocity a flying saucer passed by and I could see both into the past and the future of Byron Shire.
I looked back 20 million years to the last eruption of the Mt Warning Volcano, at the very beginning of the formation of the Caldera in which we now live. I saw the coming of man, then the coming of white settlers and sand mining on the beaches. I watched as the last whale was dragged in, chopped up and boiled down. I saw that eight-year period from about 1970 to 1978 when things were pretty cool here in town.
I saw the arrival of the hippies, the white shoe brigade, the backpackers, the van packers, the grey nomads, the ravers, the tree and sea changers and finally the hipsters.
I watched in horror as the first avocado was smashed (yes, Byron Bay is Ground Zero of smashed avocado) snuffing out the home-owning dreams of a generation.
I then gazed fearfully into the future and saw developers had finally had their way with the place. We were now part of a continuum of poorly designed high rise apartments (all empty but available on Air BnB) that stretched from Brisbane to Sydney. I saw the flare of the sun reflected off the Frank Gehry designed casino perched atop Julian Rocks with super yachts moored all around. Down in the bay fluoridated sharks were coming ashore to infect our six lane Rail Trail with whooping cough. Vaccination rates had plummeted to 28% because wellness bloggers and other cranks had convinced us we could cure ourselves of any disease using the healing powers of Instagram.
I tried to live stream a video of what I was seeing but even in 2065 we still didn't have an NBN that ran any faster than dial up and the video evidence remains out there buffering for eternity.
With a sickening crash my wheel rim hit the other side of the pothole and I realised that what I thought was a flying saucer was my own hub cap flying past my windscreen and that I had survived the Large Hadron pothole without colliding with anything.
I pulled up further on by the side of the road with other stunned survivors. We huddled together weeping and vowed never to speak of what we saw in the God pothole. Until today.