I would like to lodge a complaint to the authorities, should there be any, about the kit that comes with my soul, if I have one. I do not intend to nitpick. Most things work as well as could be expected. This is not about my neck, which I have come to terms with. Various items are showing signs of wear and tear and this is all in the normal course of events, and not what a mature individual should natter on about. No. My complaint concerns something that has never really operated correctly from the get-go, and I would like to see about an upgrade.
I refer to my basic dream apparatus. From what I understand, most people are allowed to take fantastic voyages while asleep. They fly, they visit worlds of wonder, they have passionate affairs. I don’t do a damn thing when I’m asleep that I wouldn’t do awake. That’s a third of my life, squandered, and I want a refund.
I once dreamed I was steelheading on the Zigzag River. I had my waders on and I was casting, and downstream I saw a large man doing the same thing. I was annoyed; he was in my territory. We got closer and my annoyance turned to excitement. It was Buck Williams! Buck Williams it was, incredibly handsome former Trailblazer, all rubbered up in waders and a flannel shirt that did little to conceal his massive shoulders. We got closer. Close enough to see his dimple lint. We nodded, then flirted a little, and then he suggested maybe we could go somewhere and get to know each other a little better. “I’d love to,” I breathed, and with the next dream-breath I said, “but we’re both married. Hey! Do you play cribbage? Maybe you and your wife could come over sometime and play cribbage with me and Dave.” I woke up. I slapped myself for a long time.
Would you like to be able to fly? Sure. Unfortunately my waking self is a little afraid of heights, so there will be none of that in my dreams. I can only manage a sort of moon-lope, one toe always dragging the ground, gravity dialed down one notch. It’s the best I can do. It’s pathetic.
Even my anxiety dreams are annoying. In the current version, I am racing through a strange airport in search of a gate to make a connection I absolutely must make. My race takes me through jammed escalators; no one will step aside; I dash outside and pinball through busy parking lots. One night I actually recognized the dream while I was dreaming it, and I woke up, relieved that I didn’t need to make that connection after all, and drifted back to sleep. Whereupon the first thing I did was go to a ticket counter and explain I’d missed my flight and was there another one? There was; it was leaving in ten minutes; it was on the opposite concourse, but if I hurried…
Here’s what I do. I take the most repetitive thing in my waking life and do that all night long. When I started working for the post office, I sorted letters in my dreams. When I took piano lessons, I did not dream of playing flawless Chopin; I repeated finger exercises. Now I spend the entire night clicking on blogs to find one I like well enough to leave a comment. I may be doing it at my high school reunion which is being held in a tent city in Zanzibar with Pat Boone dishing up the meatballs, but that’s what I’m doing: I’m sitting in a corner commenting on blogs.
It is a well-known fact that humans can solve problems with their unconscious minds through dreaming. Friedrich Kekule dreamed of a snake biting its own tail and woke up understanding the structure of the benzene ring. James Watson dreamed of intertwined snakes and plumbed the secret of the structure of DNA. Last night I invented a toilet for bicyclists. It had a ramp and a long stall and a couple holes in the ground and there was some way you could pee without getting off your bike.
There is no Nobel Prize for inventing a bike potty. There’s no call for it at all.
So I object to the whole kit. It’s defective. The only thing going for it is that I do know exactly what happens after I die. I’ll be racing all over hell and back during finals week looking for St. Peter’s podium but I can’t find it because I didn’t ever go to the class and never cracked the book.