Posted by David
on Jun 15, 2003 in Upside-down Hippo
| 0 comments
Last night, I had the strangest dream. And since I just woke up remembering it, which is rare for me these days, I thought I would type it here.
I lived across a narrow street from a restaurant, which swept about a hundred small searchlights across the sky every night. They were for nothing in particular, not a temporary promotion: this was just the custom of that particular restaurant. I was working on a project, and I cannot remember what, but I think it was some sort of reading. (In real life, it could not possibly be a reading because I read out loud about as well as I did in third grade–and I did not do so particularly well then–but in the dream, I believe I was giving a reading.) Worrying that all of those lights would distract people away from my event, I walked over and asked the manager if they might focus just one of them–just one percent of the lights–on what I was doing. He refused. We had an extended argument about it, but he would not change his policy of shining the searchlights into the sky and at other random things. “Get your own searchlight,” he said, not very nicely. It actually seemed as if he was panicking.
(It occurs to me now, as I type this, that I did not actually want a searchlight; I wanted him to use one of his searchlights as a spotlight for me. I suppose that could be symbolic of outward vs. inward direction of blah blah blah blah. Back to the dream.)
“OK, fine. But I don’t know where to get one,” I said. “Will you tell me?”
I stormed out of the restaurant and climbed up on the roof, determined to force one of the lights in the direction of my event. It seems I had a Wile E. Coyoteish scheme, but nothing would work. The lights would not budge.
Dejected, I roamed the neighborhood and found a kit for a searchlight at Radio Shack. It was too heavy to carry home, so I stole a shopping cart. When I got it home, I spread out all of the pieces and realized that there were no assembly instructions–and it did not seem as if all of the parts were there anyway. I tried all night, but I could not get it together. In the morning, I found a flyer from the restaurant on my porch it said something like, “We want to be here for the people in our neighborhood. Come on over if you have a problem.” I went over to speak to the manager again, but there was a line of people, also clutching flyers, who had arrived first. When I finally made it through the queue, I told him I had bought a searchlight of my own but that I did not know how to make it work. Would he help me?
“But what about your advertisement about helping people in the neighborhood? You helped everyone else, why not me?”
“That’s just people we want to impress,” said the manager.
“Fuck you,” I said. I turned on my heel and stalked out, determined to get that searchlight working come hell or high water.
“Wait!” called the manager.
“Come in and have some soup.”
I was hungry, so I did. It was delicious soup. As I finished, the manager came back. I wondered how he could take the time away from all of the other people who had come in with their flyers, but then I noticed that this was some sort of duplicate of the manager. The manager himself was still over at the head of the line, helping the people he wanted to impress. Or maybe that was the duplicate over there; it was hard to tell.
“What do you want?” I said.
“To see if you liked the soup.”
“It was not bad. Are you going to help me?”
“No,” he said.
“Because I don’t want to. And because there’s only enough electricity in the world for my searchlights, so yours will never work.”
“Zero sum,” I said.
“I’m going to try anyway,” I said. I stood up, determined to do so. “If I get it working, will you come to my reading?”
“No, I don’t have time.”
“Thanks for the soup.” And I left.
Then another dream started about trying to fit on a bus to Annapolis, Maryland, but that is another story.