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wiki:user:that_will_be_then_and_this_is_now [2014/12/07 22:32]
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 Yet there’s a principal involved here.  Since you are bored by your girlfriend’s recitation, you don’t think it would be fair to tell her about the dream you had sometime after 4:00 am, after rising from the tabby cat of oblivion your consciousness had curled into, stumbling to the bathroom to empty your bladder, then returning to bed and sleep. ​ (When the hypodermic needle of sleep injects you into the vein of nothingness,​ your sleep is typically dreamless, a mysterious vacancy into which you disappear, and you’re often terrified when you wake up and think about it, so the cute tabby cat image you dress the oblivion in removes some of the terror. ​ The hypodermic needle image appeals to you based on your wayward past of extensive drug experimentation.) ​ What happens then is that instead of being more or less seamlessly transported into sleep, you’re aware of a deluge of hypnogogic images like road signs streaking backward, as seen from the window of a speeding car.  Suddenly you’re in the dream. ​ Everything is hyperreal: ​ the colors, the scale, the sense of depth and dimension in the scene. ​ The atmosphere is one of arrested turbulence, flux barely contained, as though bolts have been employed by the hidden mechanisms of the dream to hold everything in place and prevent it from dissolving back into the chaos from which it was constructed.  ​ Yet there’s a principal involved here.  Since you are bored by your girlfriend’s recitation, you don’t think it would be fair to tell her about the dream you had sometime after 4:00 am, after rising from the tabby cat of oblivion your consciousness had curled into, stumbling to the bathroom to empty your bladder, then returning to bed and sleep. ​ (When the hypodermic needle of sleep injects you into the vein of nothingness,​ your sleep is typically dreamless, a mysterious vacancy into which you disappear, and you’re often terrified when you wake up and think about it, so the cute tabby cat image you dress the oblivion in removes some of the terror. ​ The hypodermic needle image appeals to you based on your wayward past of extensive drug experimentation.) ​ What happens then is that instead of being more or less seamlessly transported into sleep, you’re aware of a deluge of hypnogogic images like road signs streaking backward, as seen from the window of a speeding car.  Suddenly you’re in the dream. ​ Everything is hyperreal: ​ the colors, the scale, the sense of depth and dimension in the scene. ​ The atmosphere is one of arrested turbulence, flux barely contained, as though bolts have been employed by the hidden mechanisms of the dream to hold everything in place and prevent it from dissolving back into the chaos from which it was constructed.  ​
  
-You’re back in Wisconsin where you grew up as a child, in the backyard of your next-door neighbors, the Rushens. ​ In “real” life, the backyard seemed to be little more than a depository for junk, boxes, old furniture, broken appliances, rotting garbage and car parts. ​ The house was a ramshackle double-storied affair the neighborhood kids loved in the summer, because the parents of the Rushen children worked nights and there was no parental intrusion into the exuberant pandemonium that flourished there daily. ​ But in the dream the backyard is spotless, filled with perfectly parallel rows of slender trees. ​ You know these trees – they’re white ashes. ​ The leaves shimmer and enliven the air with a plasmic chrome-tinted radiance and there’s an aura of palpable purity so intensely beautiful that it brings tears to your eyes.  You stand there in awe, Daryl, gazing open-mouthed at these trees that are spangled and webbed with a silvery beauty, and you spread your arms wide as though to embrace it all and the tears turn to a sadness deeper than any you have even known, because it occurs to you that all this luminous beauty is a fragile illusion – an illusion not because you realize you’re dreaming (you don’t), but because you realize that it will all disappear for you one day when you die, it will all be taken from you.  All of it will simply vanish as though it never existed, and the ephemerality of everything strikes you as being cruel and unfair and tragic beyond words and the horror of it, Daryl, is your sense that there’s no escaping or altering the outcome. ​ The horror of it is that this is the very structure of the universe and that the structure is wrong but can’t be altered or amended. ​ The formidable force of your combined will and intention and desire and focus won’t change the way things are.  There’s no door you can go through to get to another place where the rules of the game are different. ​ It’s the same feeling you had when you were once on a plane flying to Mexico City (in “real” life). ​ Everything was fine until some weird faucet of awareness was suddenly turned on and you realized you were miles above the ground and sitting, absurdly, in a narrow tube soaring through air.  That if something were to happen there was no place to go, no place to walk away to, no way to remove yourself to a safe and solitary observation post somewhere. ​ It’s the same in the dream, that nightmare feeling of claustrophobia,​ of being trapped in a vast horrible closed system with no escape hatches, no exits, no way to finesse your way out of the way things are.  When you can no longer stand this painful and intense welter of emotions you are jolted from the dream. ​ Your face is wet with tears. ​ You can hear your girlfriend singing a very old song in the shower, “When you’re alone and da da da da da da da you can always go … DOWNTOWN,​” and you roughly wipe the tears from your face.  Daryl, why don’t you want her to see the traces of tears? ​ Why would you be embarrassed? ​ After all, you consider yourself to be a man of thoroughly modern sensibility,​ a turn-of-the-century ​millennial Renaissance man of sorts, an enlightened young black man politically and socially and technologically aware, a man not afraid to reveal his deepest and innermost thoughts. ​ But aside from all that, your feeling is one of tremendous, ecstatic relief. ​ Everything is as it should be, Daryl, and it was only a dream When your girlfriend comes out of the shower, a purple bath towel wrapped turban-style around her lovely wet hair, the swell of her bosom crushed modestly in a broad armillary of white terrycloth, you virtually leap from the bed to embrace her.  She’s clearly puzzled by this uncharacteristic display of energy and enthusiasm, expecting instead your usual early-morning,​ slow-motion trajectory from bed to bathroom to closet. ​ Even your girlfriend’s cat slinking in a fluid figure eight about your ankles fails to irritate you this morning. ​ Yes, it was just a ridiculous dream, and you feel liberated, exhilarated to have gotten, as it were, a second chance.+You’re back in Wisconsin where you grew up as a child, in the backyard of your next-door neighbors, the Rushens. ​ In “real” life, the backyard seemed to be little more than a depository for junk, boxes, old furniture, broken appliances, rotting garbage and car parts. ​ The house was a ramshackle double-storied affair the neighborhood kids loved in the summer, because the parents of the Rushen children worked nights and there was no parental intrusion into the exuberant pandemonium that flourished there daily.  ​ 
 + 
 +But in the dream the backyard is spotless, filled with perfectly parallel rows of slender trees. ​ You know these trees – they’re white ashes. ​ The leaves shimmer and enliven the air with a plasmic chrome-tinted radiance and there’s an aura of palpable purity so intensely beautiful that it brings tears to your eyes.  You stand there in awe, Daryl, gazing open-mouthed at these trees that are spangled and webbed with a silvery beauty, and you spread your arms wide as though to embrace it all and the tears turn to a sadness deeper than any you have even known, because it occurs to you that all this luminous beauty is a fragile illusion – an illusion not because you realize you’re dreaming (you don’t), but because you realize that it will all disappear for you one day when you die, it will all be taken from you.  All of it will simply vanish as though it never existed, and the ephemerality of everything strikes you as being cruel and unfair and tragic beyond words and the horror of it, Daryl, is your sense that there’s no escaping or altering the outcome. ​ The horror of it is that this is the very structure of the universe and that the structure is wrong but can’t be altered or amended. ​ The formidable force of your combined will and intention and desire and focus won’t change the way things are.  There’s no door you can go through to get to another place where the rules of the game are different. ​ It’s the same feeling you had when you were once on a plane flying to Mexico City (in “real” life). ​ Everything was fine until some weird faucet of awareness was suddenly turned on and you realized you were miles above the ground and sitting, absurdly, in a narrow tube soaring through air.  That if something were to happen there was no place to go, no place to walk away to, no way to remove yourself to a safe and solitary observation post somewhere. ​ It’s the same in the dream, that nightmare feeling of claustrophobia,​ of being trapped in a vast horrible closed system with no escape hatches, no exits, no way to finesse your way out of the way things are.  When you can no longer stand this painful and intense welter of emotions you are jolted from the dream.  ​ 
 + 
 +Your face is wet with tears. ​ You can hear your girlfriend singing a very old song in the shower, “When you’re alone and da da da da da da da you can always go … DOWNTOWN,​” and you roughly wipe the tears from your face.  Daryl, why don’t you want her to see the traces of tears? ​ Why would you be embarrassed? ​ After all, you consider yourself to be a man of thoroughly modern sensibility,​ a new millennial Renaissance man of sorts, an enlightened young black man politically and socially and technologically aware, a man not afraid to reveal his deepest and innermost thoughts. ​ But aside from all that, your feeling is one of tremendous, ecstatic relief. ​ Everything is as it should be, Daryl, and it was only a dream  
 + 
 +When your girlfriend comes out of the shower, a purple bath towel wrapped turban-style around her lovely wet hair, the swell of her bosom crushed modestly in a broad armillary of white terrycloth, you virtually leap from the bed to embrace her.  She’s clearly puzzled by this uncharacteristic display of energy and enthusiasm, expecting instead your usual early-morning,​ slow-motion trajectory from bed to bathroom to closet. ​ Even your girlfriend’s cat slinking in a fluid figure eight about your ankles fails to irritate you this morning. ​ Yes, it was just a ridiculous dream, and you feel liberated, exhilarated to have gotten, as it were, a second chance.
  
 And that’s finally why you decide not to tell her about the dream this morning, Daryl, why you’re content to sit here and listen as your girlfriend finally wraps up her unusually lengthy monologue: dreams are ridiculous and boring. And that’s finally why you decide not to tell her about the dream this morning, Daryl, why you’re content to sit here and listen as your girlfriend finally wraps up her unusually lengthy monologue: dreams are ridiculous and boring.
  
-This is what you don’t know yet, Daryl: three months from now, you and your girlfriend will be invited to your sister’s house. ​ Your impression will be that your sister received a promotion at the advertising agency where she works as a junior copywriter and that you are all to lift your glasses in a Saturday evening toast to her good fortune. ​ But when your sister opens the front door to let you in and you step across the threshold, you’ll be confronted by a mosaic of festivity in primary colors: balloons, crepe banners, streamers, a roomful of people wearing party hats.  You’ll watch them blow noisemakers,​ applaud, hop up and down.  “Happy birthday, Daryl!” they’ll cry out in thunderous unison. ​ You’ll be genuinely surprised, then touched by the thoughtfulness of your family and so many well-wishing friends, and then, following so closely on the heels of your gratitude and happiness that the discrete links of the segue will escape your awareness, you’ll momentarily be immersed in the texture, the ambiance, the atmosphere, the currents of emotion that ran through the sad dream you had that day.  Right there in the middle of the party, you’ll have an epiphany of sorts, accompanied by a feeling of dread. ​ You’ll remember how you woke that morning with a deep exhalation of enormous relief. ​ How you were flooded with joy to realize that the whole awful business was just a dream. ​ Then, holding a paper plate with a piece of birthday cake on it, it will hit you hard, and you’ll think, stunned – hey wait a minute, the universe really is a closed system, there’s no way to change anything, there’s no way to change the finality of the ephemeral, the structure of reality can’t be altered. ​ You’ll realize it wasn’t a dream after all.  Your loved ones on that night will raise their glasses high to toast your good health, your prosperity, your longevity. ​ You’ll wonder how and why it was possible for you to wake up that morning with a feeling of jubilation at having narrowly escaped doom.  Wiping crumbs of cake from the corners of your mouth with one of those sandpaper-coarse party napkins, you’ll look around at the beautiful faces of your family and friends surrounding you and know that they are white ash trees.+This is what you don’t know yet, Daryl: three months from now, you and your girlfriend will be invited to your sister’s house. ​ Your impression will be that your sister received a promotion at the advertising agency where she works as a junior copywriter and that you are all to lift your glasses in a Saturday evening toast to her good fortune. ​ But when your sister opens the front door to let you in and you step across the threshold, you’ll be confronted by a mosaic of festivity in primary colors: balloons, crepe banners, streamers, a roomful of people wearing party hats.  You’ll watch them blow noisemakers,​ applaud, hop up and down.  ​ 
 + 
 +“Happy birthday, Daryl!” they’ll cry out in thunderous unison. ​ You’ll be genuinely surprised, then touched by the thoughtfulness of your family and so many well-wishing friends, and then, following so closely on the heels of your gratitude and happiness that the discrete links of the segue will escape your awareness, you’ll momentarily be immersed in the texture, the ambiance, the atmosphere, the currents of emotion that ran through the dream you had that day. Right there in the middle of the party, you’ll have an epiphany of sorts, accompanied by a feeling of dread. ​ You’ll remember how you woke that morning with a deep exhalation of enormous relief. ​ How you were flooded with joy to realize that the whole awful business was just a dream. ​ Then, holding a paper plate with a piece of birthday cake on it, it will hit you hard, and you’ll think, stunned – hey wait a minute, the universe really is a closed system, there’s no way to change anything, there’s no way to change the finality of the ephemeral, the structure of reality can’t be altered. ​ You’ll realize it wasn’t a dream after all.  Your loved ones on that night will raise their glasses high to toast your good health, your prosperity, your longevity. ​ You’ll wonder how and why it was possible for you to wake up that morning with a feeling of jubilation at having narrowly escaped doom.  Wiping crumbs of cake from the corners of your mouth with one of those sandpaper-coarse party napkins, you’ll look around at the beautiful faces of your family and friends surrounding you and know that they are white ash trees.
  
-After the party that night, you’ll climb into bed early, wanting to be left alone. Your girlfriend will think you’re depressed because you’re another year older and won’t ask you if you’d like to make love.  You won’t really be depressed. ​  ​You’ll just be wondering how it’s possible or why it should even be desirable for anyone who knows, really knows what you know, to go on doing anything. ​ To continue brushing their teeth, buying clothes at The Gap, debugging computers, popping movies in the VCR, hanging out.  You’ll have the feeling that you won’t ever be able to shake what came to you in the dream, that you’ll live with it for the rest of your life.  You’ll dwell on the prospect of spending your entire life in a desperate attempt to seize the beauty of the moment. ​ This thought will exhaust you further. ​  But you’ll continue to think long into the night, Daryl, because you won’t know what else to do.  At some point, you’ll remember that the morning after you had the dream, you weren’t really listening to what your girlfriend was saying during breakfast, and this will sadden you deeply.+After the party that night, you’ll climb into bed early, wanting to be left alone. Your girlfriend will think you’re depressed because you’re another year older and won’t ask you if you’d like to make love.  You won’t really be depressed. ​ You’ll just be wondering how it’s possible or why it should even be desirable for anyone who knows, really knows what you know, to go on doing anything. ​ To continue brushing their teeth, buying clothes at The Gap, debugging computers, popping movies in the VCR, hanging out.  You’ll have the feeling that you won’t ever be able to shake what came to you in the dream, that you’ll live with it for the rest of your life.  You’ll dwell on the prospect of spending your entire life in a desperate attempt to seize the beauty of the moment. ​ This thought will exhaust you further. ​  But you’ll continue to think long into the night, Daryl, because you won’t know what else to do.  At some point, you’ll remember that the morning after you had the dream, you weren’t really listening to what your girlfriend was saying during breakfast, and this will sadden you deeply.
  
 But luckily that will be then and this is now.  Your girlfriend is late.  She gives you a hug and a kiss and then leaves for work.  You’ll clear the breakfast dishes off the table this evening, because you’ve got to get moving, too, and you don’t have time to do it now.  You have someplace important to be, in a part of town that never seems familiar, no matter how many times you’ve been.  A man you’ve always been a little afraid of is expecting you, Daryl, and won’t tolerate your being late.  But luckily that will be then and this is now.  Your girlfriend is late.  She gives you a hug and a kiss and then leaves for work.  You’ll clear the breakfast dishes off the table this evening, because you’ve got to get moving, too, and you don’t have time to do it now.  You have someplace important to be, in a part of town that never seems familiar, no matter how many times you’ve been.  A man you’ve always been a little afraid of is expecting you, Daryl, and won’t tolerate your being late. 

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