Janet (j4) wrote,

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A brief odyssey

I woke up very slowly today, and by the time I'd come to full consciousness I felt exhausted, as though I'd spent the night trying to tear my way through the fabric of my dreams. The bits of the dream that I remember involved sleeping with one of my colleagues; he's married, and in the dream I knew this, and as I was kissing him I could hear a kind of narrative in my head from his point of view: "I had a sordid affair with this girl at work, but it didn't mean anything..." In the dream I carried on regardless, until his kisses started choking me, and when eventually I managed to make him stop I found that my mouth was still full of some kind of nameless stuff which was still choking me, and I was spitting the stuff out, reaching into my mouth and dragging it out, but there seemed no end to it. Then I remember the radio in the bedroom in the dream (which was my bedroom at home, that is to say at my parents' house, my old single bed by the window) playing Abba's "The Winner Takes it All", and I think that was when I started waking up, because I think Wogan really did play that on Radio 2. Though I can't be sure.

I really didn't know whether or not I was still dreaming for at least the length of another song; I was lying in bed with my eyes closed, and my mind was still sure that it was in my bedroom at home, while my body could tell that it was awake and therefore I must be in my bedroom at home, the other home, that is to say in Cambridge. There didn't appear to be a contradiction here, though; I was just in two different realities at once, and the radio was playing in both of them.

Trying to disentangle myself from sleep gave me an unfortunate flashback to Saturday's episode of extreme paranoia, and the infinite dimensions of existential uncertainty -- like those of the Chinese philosopher, but with crawling, gibbering madness instead of a butterfly, and heaven knows what earthquakes that would awaken on the other side of the chaotic universe -- yawned before me for a few nightmareish seconds. I tossed and turned restlessly in an attempt to wake up, conscious that this was mirroring last night's restless tossing and turning in the pursuit of sleep, and worrying momentarily whether I would accidentally go to sleep instead of waking up. I think this was what woke me up. There's only so far you can sensibly go, really.

By the time Wogan played "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" I was fully awake, at least awake enough to appreciate the song. This boy's too young to be singing the blues, hitting the high note on "blues" that I could never sing unless I sang it all an octave lower, at which point the top note wouldn't be that awesome falsetto, it would just be somewhere around the middle of my vocal range. Instant mediocrity, in the comfort of your own living-room.

I was 20 minutes late for work as a result of picking up my newly-mended violin on the way into work. The peg-holes have been bushed, which now I come to think of it amuses me slightly because they looked pretty well all in before. It also has a new bridge, and new strings, which were long overdue as the old strings (and lack of adjusters) were damaging the old bridge (in so far as a lack of anything can damage a thing, if you see what I mean), and -- in summary, the fiddle is fixed, and fit as a cliché.

Walking along the corridor at work towards my desk, I suddenly felt as though I was back in a dream, but this time my recurring anxiety dream -- which is, unsurprisingly, about being late for work. I looked at the clocks (which gave variations on a time of about 10 to 10) and the time didn't appear to make any sense, I couldn't resolve the reading into reality. Just like in the dream. And the corridors were eerily empty, and I wondered for a moment if the whole place was going to turn out to be deserted, though in retrospect I blame Stephen King's The Langoliers, which I read relatively recently, for that fleeting fear.

Something in the emptiness also made me feel as though I was arriving late at school after a doctor's or dentist's appointment, that feeling when everybody is already in lessons and you know that at some point you will have to knock on the door of your classroom and make stumbling explanations for your lateness, backed up with a letter from your parents, but before the bubble bursts there is a wonderful feeling of solitude, of being the only moving part in a momentarily-stilled machine, and you wonder whether you could in fact just remain in the corridors of the world for ever, never emerging into the open spaces.

The feeling of school reminded me, too, of last night's orchestra practice, when something in the air -- the sense of imminent performance, I think, combined with the smell of resin and school halls -- made me think of ballet exams, and all the fidgeting and hairspray came back to me in a flurry of feelings. Memories of memories. Funny that the Associated Board music exams which were taking place at the String Gallery, where I picked up my violin this morning, didn't have any such flashback effect, despite the fact that I've taken far more music exams than ballet exams. I saw the examiner, briefly; she gave the impression of being a clarinet teacher, and probably somebody's mother as well, insofar as she gave an impression at all, for I can't remember a single detail of her face, her clothing, her hair; only an overall sense of olive-green and beige.

A parcel arrived for me at work today. It contained presents for other people, but still felt as though I was getting some kind of present myself. I like finding things, buying them, opening them, looking at them. I don't really need to own them. I'd like to be a professional beachcomber, I think. There was a man in the news a few years ago who had found over 300 pounds on the streets in odd pennies and tuppennies over the last year. You can't make a living out of it. You'd have to start "finding" bigger things. People's stereos, their cars unlocked. I wonder how long it would be before you convinced yourself that you really were just finding stuff that had been left lying around? That it was all just redistribution, ebb and flow, the tides throwing up their twisted treasures and reclaiming whatever takes their fancy in return? Wrack and ruin.

It's so dark outside.
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