Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Dream Journal

Recently, I wrote that Zulieka had been blogging her fascinating dreams, and bemoaned the fact that recent environmental and personal changes had deracinated my own to the point of tedium. Because my new dreams are so much less engaging, seem so much less a part of my imaginative life (which is, of course, an illusion), I have fallen out of the habit of participating in them, of waking, sometimes smoking a cigarette, spooling the film back onto the platter and playing the dream again, and once again, in an effort to imprint it on memory. When you dream that your bicycle saddle needs to be tightened because it's shifting annoyingly, why would you care to retain it?

I have been catching up on a little sleep, the past two nights. Hitting the sack by 12 or 12:30, well-fed, satisfied with what the night witnessed me accomplish, reading myself toward the entrance to night's oubliette, drinking a last glass of water, turning out the light. Both nights, I have awakened in the early morning -- yesterday morning around 4; this morning nearer to 5:30 -- bladder full and the taste of one of my old Borgesian dreams synesthetically on the tongue of my mind.

Yesterday morning, I simply could not recall the dream. I agonized, picked at every shadow in my consciousness, overturned stones to see what slithered in fear from the light, and found nothing, no trace. But even without remembering any of the events or images of that dream, I simply knew I had an old-fashioned dream, the sort I miss and covet. Sadly, I imagined it was going to prove sui generis, at least for the time being, and I wouldn't even have its memory to add to my memories of so many powerful dreams from my past.

Last night's dream wasn't quite as superficially unusual as I tend to prefer, but there's no doubt as to the genre to which it belonged. Genre in my dreams is about tone, atmosphere, the visceral sensation of my internal response to a dream's offerings. This dream, somewhat normal to appearances, was anything but. And this time I was ready, ready to pay attention, to participate.

The gist -- and that's all I have time to share -- was that I was back where I was a week or two ago in principle, weighing two disparate job offers, sure of what I should do but not sure what I would do. Oddly, the employer's offering me the more remunerative position, made me an offer that was obviously less generous than their original offer, strangely in some attempt to lure me away from the public sector job: they offered me three quarters of a typical first-year salary. Amazingly, I took it seriously. I asked them whether it would return to the normal formula when I hit my second year, and they indicated that it might. Might!? Yes, might. But they assured me that in the meantime my lowly salary would incrementally increase over time by some nebulous bookkeeping magic to which I wouldn't be prithy.

Amazingly, I swung that way, asked when I'd start, and they told me training was that Saturday, 9AM. I woke up, that Saturday, just before 9AM and freaked. For some reason, I ultimately arrived at training closer to noon (what interceded eludes me, but something else happened), and far from being villified for my untimeliness, the partners agreed that I hadn't missed much, smiled warmly, indicated where I should go.

And there, among all the automata dutifully taking notes and watching some instructor, I suddenly realized that I had already accepted the public sector job. Amazingly, I decided that the only way out of this ethical bind was to explain to the PS employer that I'd decided to chase the money; I omitted to mention that the money, starting out, wasn't even much more than I'd make in the PS position.

For the duration of a cigarette I tried desperately to discern what this all might add up to. I drew a blank. I'm out of practice. I'm quite certain that I'm at peace with last week's employment decision. Indeed, I really couldn't be happier about it. But obviously I'm turning over some facet of it for further scrutiny. Too bad I can't figure out what. Yet.

For now, however, I'm content to recall fondly the mental exercise the past two nights have brought me, and to hope that whatever I did to reinstantiate the standing invitation to the oddest dreams my imagination can conjure continues to be effective. I feel better rested and more alive after a long night's journey into day.


Anonymous Heather said...

Perhaps the dream is because your subconsious feels guilty that audience is still wondering which job you took..

12:02 PM  

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