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Monday, August 21, 2000
Last night, I had a dream that I had arrived about ten minutes late to a dinner/movie arrangement with a bunch of friends. We met at a food court, and others were already eating when I arrived. I ordered some quick food and ate it, and I think the movie was due to have started already by this point so I stood and made motions toward the theater like we all ought to go now.
And someone scowled at me, and told me if I was going to be late--to make everyone wait--that I should at least be nice. And the rest of them chimed in with a cascading chorus of "yeah!"s.
I felt bad; clearly they were mad. I asked myself if I am habitually late. I asked myself if being "nice" would somehow rectify anything. I found myself resenting the implication that it should matter, that I should have to stoop to the level of putting on faces to make them feel better when it wasn't going to change any of the basic facts. Were we not all in this together? Wasn't it a given that I did not want to make them late, and that if my action proved an inconvenience to them I would do my best to do better next time? That is my world, and to have to state such things explicitly is to cast doubt on them, to say that this benevolence is not a given. I scoffed at them and turned and walked away before anyone could say anything more, knowing full well they were at that moment contemplating the serious and permanent move of writing me out of their social circle.
I arrived at the theater, and it was but a small classroom with rows of chairs facing both directions, almost none empty. The movie hadn't started yet. I picked what seemed like an innocuous seat in the corner, but the fellow running the show said loudly "Here! There is a seat here, right in the center -- best seat in the house!" And he was looking at me with a kind of "you poor idiot" look that told me I was doing something really stupid by choosing the seat I did. Indeed, before I could even get to the seat he assigned me, half the people in the room got up and turned their chairs around in preparation for the movie to start, and the seat I had originally chosen was facing the wrong way in the corner underneath the screen of choice (there were screens on both sides of the room), where I would not have been able to see the movie at all.
I felt guilty getting such a prominent seat, knowing my friends would arrive soon and find few or no seats, see me sitting in the "best seat in the house", and blame me for it all. But wait... how could I have made them late? In the end I was ready to go before they were, and here I am. I reflected bitterly on this irony, that they were so caught up in the kiss-kiss superficialities of it that the basic truths, the real results, became essentially irrelevant. They felt to me like a crowd of socialists too busy making sure everyone got their fair share to actually get any work done.
The projector started to roll, the lights went out. The door kept opening and people pouring in at the last minute, and I knew some of them were my friends. I still felt guilty; somehow it was still my responsibility, my flaw that this thing had happened to me which wouldn't happen to a "normal" person.
The movie was boring. It was some character study/relationship thing, with all the plot born of the pointless emotionalism or stupidity of the characters. There would have been no plot at all if the main characters had just been reasonable people. I hate that kind of movie, so I went to scribbling notes on something or another I was working on, trying to keep one eye on the movie so I didn't miss if anything good happened.
I promptly fell asleep. (Yes, I slept through part of my own dream.) When I woke up, the theater was clearing out. The only of my friends left was Robin, who came over to say hello. Robin makes a point of being sweet and friendly to everyone, empathy for all. I felt like laying the whole logic of the thing out for her, in a mildly bitter tirade... But what's the point? I was too tired of it all to care.
Tonight I am meeting friends for dinner and a movie. Oddly the friends in my dream, all of them that I can remember, are exactly not the ones coming tonight (in fact most of the people in the dream were mere acquaintances).
Michelle is back from China, but she is staging in LA at her parent's house because she's sick and wasn't up for the drive home. Ben returned last night. This morning the phone rang, woke me up, and whoever it was hung up. Garrett*'s in town this week, on his way to burningman.
The intermission has ended, my life's show resumed.
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