Every so often you have a wacky enough dream that you want to tell people. Fortunately, I have a blog to serve as an outlet when that happens.
The dream begins in medias res (as dreams often do) as I’m going about my business when a lady and a gentleman, both dressed smartly in suits, come up to me and tell me I’m late for my public reading of a Graham Greene novel for a small group of influential and rich English benefactors (benefactors for what is not made clear). Flustered, I follow them into a small meeting room at a luxurious hotel and am handed a copy of the book. Two dozen elderly folk are sitting in their chairs looking peeved at having been kept waiting.
I fumble with the novel. “How much of this am I supposed to read?” I ask. “All of it!” the lady and gentleman hiss back. All of it? It’s a two hundred page novel. Who would want to sit and listen to this? Clearly not this crowd, I think to myself, as I look out and see the sullen faces glaring back at me.
I open the book and start to read. The book is full of strange place names like “Ainderby Quernhow” and “Ashby-de-la-Zouch” and “Briantspuddle”. I stumble over each one while the crowd goes restless.
To make matters worse, the font keeps changing. I turn the page and find the text is suddenly written in a silver Old English font that glistens in the light of the room, making the book all but impossible to read.
Suddenly I start getting some traction with one paragraph. People begin to look slightly engaged. Then the paragraph ends and I realize in shock that I had just read an excerpt printed on the cover of the book. I open the book and begin to fumble to find my place.
The lady and gentleman then pull out a big toy box and whisper to me that while I read the book I should begin to assemble skyscrapers with building blocks, the purpose being to recreate the cityscape described in the novel while hopefully retaining the audience’s interest.
At this point the dream (or my recollection of it) mercifully ends.
I know Freudians could have all sorts of delightful speculations with dubious veridical value. But what fascinates me endlessly about dreams is how the human mind is able to go on autopilot and construct such fantastical, farcical, and downright stressful scenarios at the very same time that the captain of the ship is asleep. My mind certainly is mischievous, stressing me out like that when I was simply trying to get some rest.
They say New York is the city that never sleeps. The human mind is the same way, for even as the body rests, the mind works to spin ridiculous storylines for itself. That phrase which Churchill famously invoked to describe Russia is a fitting descriptor of the human mind as well: a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.