Fin in a Waste of Waters

"These moments of escape are not to be despised. They come too seldom....Leaning over this parapet I see far out a waste of water. A fin turns....I note under 'F.,' therefore, 'Fin in a waste of waters.' I, who am perpetually making notes in the margin of my mind for some final statement, make this mark, waiting for some winter's evening." (from Woolf's THE WAVES)

10 August 2006

Dreams, bodies, terror

Last night, I dreamt another of the "house" dreams; this time, the house was my childhood home, where I am staying right now with my parents (though the only room in the dream that was true to life was my dad's office, I knew it was this house); and again, the house was seized from me. Not only the house, but ultimately, implicitly, my body itself in the dream (usually, I only lose the house). I think that a lot of this dream is pretty self-explanatory: in a way, at least my room in the house in real life has been taken over in a way; it's completely different, and I don't feel as though I fit in it anymore. My autonomy here is threatened by my mom (which sounds terrible; I hate that I feel like this right now, as we normally, and still mostly, get along really well, but neither can I oppress it), who is incredibly controlling about everything (example: the photographer from the RR Star came to get a photo for the article yesterday, and she was telling him how to do his job, what to include in the picture and where to take it, and then after he left, she chastised me for even letting him in the house). Also, something I completely didn't expect, but which is happening, is that I'm experiencing culture shock coming back to the States. It's little things. Like the food. At first, in D.C., I just thought it was that they were serving buffet-style dorm food most days, and that's why I didn't want it. But I have absolutely no desire to eat most of what we have here at my house, either. I've only been legitimately hungry twice in the 3 and a half days since I've been back, and then, I start eating, and the appetite goes away. My dad was really helpful at first, and said I could put stuff on his grocery list that I wanted, but when I did, he got mostly different stuff (next time, I'll have to go with, I think). I don't know if it's the taste, but I think a big part of it is that it's harder to get organic food here. You can get organic everything in London. My environmental scientist friend Kari tells me that they're waaaaay ahead of the States in this respect. But I just don't want to eat. Breakfast, I'm good, but after that, it gets tricky. Maybe I'll just eat breakfast food all day.

But this dream. I don't remember too much of it, but perhaps as I write, more will come back. What I remember first is that Rasheed & I are at a bookstore in Champaign, just browsing. Then, for some reason, I start helping out, likely because I'm just used to working at bookstores. I start putting books back in order, and then clean up some trash that people have left around. Rasheed begins helping me. Then, apparently, I throw the wrong kind of trash - the core of an eaten plum - into the wrong basket, and the owner apprehends me: "Was that food-trash? Did you just throw food-trash into that can?" Annoyed because the man is so ungrateful for the gratis help, I say nothing, but jerk the trash bag out of the can: instead of just retrieving the fruit from this can and throwing it in another, I will replace the liner entirely. And then he says something along the lines of how he hates how rude people are in America and how he wishes he could move to London. And then, I drop the bag at my feet: I've been to London! We talk for a few minutes, just about London, I think, and the dream here becomes unclear...

Next I know, I'm bringing the trash to the back to throw it out. There is a truck delivering a shipment of books. There is snow on the ground. There is something sinister about the open back of the truck. I drop the trash on the warehouse floor - I will not go by the truck to take it to the dumpster - and bolt back into the store. Rasheed is gone. I go back to the warehouse. My friend Brian is there for some reason (in dream logic, I guess it makes sense, since I'll see him today when I go to Champaign, and he's taking me to visit some former fellow Pages comrades), and takes me home (I'm reminded of the "Berkeley Night" when he came to pick me up from Valente's office on campus - left work to come pick me up in the rain and then bring me home and wait with me until my brother arrived).

When we get to my home, though, we are only safe for so long. I'm not sure who they are, or why they want my house, but strangers begin infiltrating the upper floor. At first, Brian and I stick together to defend ourselves, though I cannot now remember how. Eventually, I run down to the basement, where I know my dad has the sheriff's phone number taped to the bookshelf mounted above his desk - I can visualize it, written in red-inked block capitals. I hesitate to call 911, as I'm not sure who these people are, and so if it constitutes a real emergency. Yet, I feel my personal safety distinctly threatened. I need the police there, or at least the promise of their imminent arrival. I cannot find the number. There are innumberable little white squares of paper taped along the length of the shelf, all roughly the same size and shape as the sheriff's number should be, but none with red ink. Until I see it! But it is too late -

The office is invaded. A couple of women. I run. At the bottom of the stairs (which suddenly resemble the real-life stairs), I am caught, this time by a man coming down them. He is blonde; he wears pressed kakhi shorts; there is a sinister smile curling his thin, ironic upper lip; his penetrating eyes gleam. I do not recognize him at first. He grabs my wrists and forces me to the floor on my back, his body between my legs. Only then do I recognize him - T.J. from JKC. When I recognize him, I cease to fight. I sense the betrayal this means to Brian, still fighting for my house upstairs; and somehow to Rasheed, though this assault is not my fault. But here is where the fighting stops, and here is where the dream ends.

And now. Now I have looked at the news. Oh God. Why aren't we all having dreams like these? The uncovering of the terrorist plot in Britain. Possibly Al-Q. The plan to explode 10 planes over the Atlantic, where there is nowhere to ground them. No target, such as the Pentagon or D.C. So the ultimate goal becomes the loss of those lives on the planes. Estimated it would have 3000. Thank God they caught it. They've raised the security alert to red for intl flights; orange for domestic. I am terrified. Rasheed flies back to the UK possibly in less than a week, possibly at the end of the month (they extended his thesis deadline, so he might stay longer) - I need for this to be cleared up before he gets on a plane. Then I fly over in just over a month. (The cynical/cope-through-bad-humor side of me says: maybe now the plane ticket that I haven't bought yet will now be cheaper.) I know that we'll probably both be fine, but I hate that we and so many are forced to travel in a world where we - no longer our goverments, but we, suddenly such small humans - have become the sole target. Not simply the tragic but unavoidable byproduct of war. When I visited the "Crimes Against Humanity" gallery at the War Museum in London, this is what I learned: at the beginning of the 20th century, the loss of life was 90% soldiers, 10% citizens. At the end of the century, that figure had reversed. It makes me sick with fear.

But here I am, writing about dreams. God I am self-centered.


At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Holly said...

First, you gotta eat. If you need me to come and get you and take you to a few farmer's markets or something I'm cool with that. On the pratical side (sorry, mom mode) not eating messes up your chemical balance and you will be more prone to seizures. That would totally suck, right? :-)

I have dreams similar to what you wrote about on a weekly basis. Hiding, running, survival, not being safe in a house that has been my safety zone for years. I have intricate, detail specfic dreams about how I would evacuate 3 dogs, 3 cats and my computer in less than a minute. I think it's something not out of the norm during these times.

As I just got through explaining to Karl, who is supposed to fly to Phoenix today, it may be a pain, but you'll be safer now than you ever were on a flight. Let security do its job and try and be patient. I have to admit that I was SO glad that you were here in the states when I heard the news today.


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