It is an odd feeling, to hope that reality isn’t real, and this is all a dream. Usually, if a person is hoping reality is actually a dream it’s a nightmare being hoped for, when there is some horrific accident or some sudden death of a loved one. A woman once told me she kept expecting to wake up and discover her life intact because on the day her husband left her that was the same day her teenage son was injured after diving into a log at the river. This was before cell phones so she didn’t know how to contact her soon- to- be- ex, and really, an event like this will burn a bridge. I have no idea if he wanted to go back to her after finding out their son nearly died, and would carry damage for the rest of his life, but for a wife , for a mother, to hold that alone for the first part of the journey is too much to ask for the sake of an affair. He didn’t know, that is true, but he left the door open and what came through, unexpected and unforeseen, is still something with his ethical DNA. The bastard child of emotional dalliance screams long into the night.
All things considered it is a pretty night. It is late enough for the neo-Summer air to be a little cooler than it was last night. The first of May is now July, at least according to the heat and humidity, and I remember last year late May seemed too hot for comfort. Each year I try to see how long I can last without turning on the air conditioner. Two years ago I made it to the middle of June. Last year it was the last part of May, and this year it looks like it will be sometime this week. I can stand most of the heat for most of the day but trying to sleep at night is harder than it usually is when it is hot. It’s cool right now but I suspect I am not sleeping. I am standing on the deck behind the back porch and I’m naked.
I sleep nude so if I’m sleepwalking this makes sense. I do sleepwalk, but I’ve never left the house and it is disconcerting to discover myself outside. Yet I’m not fully convinced I’m awake. It is possible I’m still asleep but unlike the woman with the wounded son and the damaged husband, I have no ways and means to determine if I’m awake or not. This is a well worn path I walk here. In so many dreams I’ve run through a checklist of sights, scents, sensations, and people to ascertain dream state or reality only to awaken later to discover my dreams made up the very checklist I was using. This is paramount to asking your drinking buddy to field test you to see if you’re too drunk to drive. There isn’t a way to configure a test in reality to get results from another world; to take a test drawn up in the alternate world is to fail it if I take it.
Have you ever wondered about those people signing at Interstate exits and panhandling on the streets? Not all of them are mentally ill, but the same predicament I describe is faced in normal situations by people who just do not fit the definition of normal. If a person works in a factory and the job is to put a part on a widget on an assembly line, how long a lapse in reality will it take to get that person fired? I find myself standing outside in the moonlight nude, wondering if I am awake or asleep, and what if I decide I’m asleep and start walking around? Out here in the woods it might be unwise, but in a town or city a person may feel as if they are not a part of the reality existing for most people and suddenly the cops are there and someone has been arrested for indecency.
You may think this unlikely but how many times have you awaken from a nightmare still frightened, or dreamed someone had cheated on you and awoken angry, and not be able to shake that anger for a while? If your mind makes these things real to you, and it makes these feelings real for you, what is the difference between you and someone standing along the road who can’t seem to hold a job because reality isn’t making any sense sometimes? How many people have a “real job” and it makes no sense at all to that person, but the money is good or there are obligations or no one ever questions if having a real job is the right thing to do? The right thing to do as opposed to what?
You might be certain you don’t want to live under an overpass and sign for a living, or even so much as take a part time job and just get by but have tons of spare time, but at the same time, is what you are doing for a living producing anything at all but security for you, and a lot of money for someone else? You are tied down to working most of your life and then wondering what the hell happened to the time you were allotted. This is reality?
I step too far to the left, dodge a tree branch and fall. Right before I land I see the moon, silver and perfect, then I wake up. I’m in bed, the moon is still outside, but it’s two in the morning again, and here I am awake again. I have to get up in a couple of hours and go to work. I’m not sleepy now, and I’ll try to sleep, and in a few hours I’ll be sleepy and try to stay awake.
The way I live my life makes me question where the real nightmares lie; in the light or in the dark?