Sunday, September 9, 2007

Obsessive-compulsive dream about Paris

No, not that Paris. The other one.

The dream was multi-part and stretched across the entire morning. Each time I woke up and went back to sleep, the dream picked up where I had left off. I was visiting Paris. It was evening; 7 p.m. I had to be ready in two hours. I was not prepared. I made a quick mental inventory of what I needed: my phone charger, my Canon, my contact lens solution. I was not happy with the lack of preparation time; as a true obsessive-compulsive, I take hours, days, to plan my trips. This trip was hasty, and I knew that I would forget something.

Strangely enough, I don't remember actually visiting Paris in the dreams. This is quite characteristic for me.

At about 8:30 this morning, on my last dream, I had arrived back home. I was gassing up my truck at a service station. I met an old buddy, and I told him, "I got some great photos of Paris." And then I remembered--where was my camera?

I couldn't find it. Dug through the truck... looked everywhere. Gone.

What would I do? I didn't know... Maybe this was a good opportunity to buy that Nikon I was looking at, I thought.

An absurdist dream, of course (though not my most absurd). I know what prompted it: last night, I was digging through my negatives, searching for lost photos to scan and post. I was looking for a particular series--the black-and-whites that I had made in 1974; they are among the best I have made in my life, but the negatives were buried in the jumble of plastic sleeves in the large binder that I keep them in. I kept telling myself, "If I could just find these and post the whole series, people will think that I'm actually a good photographer." But as I searched through the pile, I was continually distracted by lost images from my past, which I pulled and scanned. And I stumbled upon one that I had made of the river Seine. Crystalline, classic. And I remembered.

Probably, I won't visit Paris again--at least, in this lifetime. For one thing, there are so many other places that I need to visit before I die, and for another, I want to learn French. And we all know that it's impossible for an American to learn French to the satisfaction of a Parisian. So I content myself with my dreams. Let's hope that next time I dream of Paris--the place, not the person--I remember it.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Springtime for Bush

In August of 2004, I logged on to AOL and was greeted by the following item:



A George W. Bush action figure. Only a year into Iraqi Freedom, but the sheen had already left that misadventure. AOL had not gotten the word, however. (And still hasn't, actually.) I made a screen shot to preserve this particular cultural artifact.

It would be easy to mock this peculiar Rovian exhibitionism, but it appears that while AOL was politically insensitive to the many opponents of the Iraq war as well as the growing number of dead, they recognized this as a definite collectible. eBay is currently listing Mr. Bush for $31, with three bids and four more days to go.

Ten years from now, it will end up in a chapter called "Neo-Conservative Kitsch." Swastika swizzle sticks, anyone?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Dream this morning


Civilization was gradually collapsing from some unknown cause. People were leaving, but it wasn't a frantic process. We had stopped at a store to pick up some things. There was a buffet line on the second floor; we were walking across; the floor seemed rickety. I did now know how long the food line would be open, or what we would do when supplies were exhausted.


What does the dream mean? I'm not sure; I simply know that it's been a recurring dream of mine for over twenty years. I was reading about how, two years after Hurricane Katrina, there are large swaths of New Orleans that have not been rebuilt. Americans seem to have learned that, while their government is very efficient at declaring wars against third-world countries, it cannot provide the essential needs of its citizens in a time of crisis. What we prefer not to think about, however, is how likely such a crisis is bound to strike, either a community, or a nation.