Saturday, June 4, 2016

Monochromatic noir- strolling in the rain. (dreams)

This image is a publicity shot and is therefore in the public domain.
Publicity still of Humphrey Bogart


I bear a striking resemblance to Humphrey Bogart, although I'm not a man. I've even inherited his trench coat. I'm going to an opera with an old friend. We enter the lobby. Triangles splash compass patterns across the walls and ceiling. The opera house was built in the 1800's, but it's been renovated in bright reds and yellows and rich, chocolate browns for the present: the late 1930's.

My friend is gussied up, but she looks tired.

This isn't how I remember her from early childhood, I say to myself. But she just doesn't care as much for opera as I do. 

But deep down inside, I know we're getting older and the cares of life are running us down.

I bring all my homework into the concert. I have to be carrying 20-50 pounds worth of calculus. I do my homework while the soprano on stage sings. I check in with my friend. She seems to be okay with things, generally, and is enjoying herself somewhat, but she mainly seems happy not to be running around feeling like she has to contain a tornado. She's practically falling asleep.

After the show, we meander down that part of the city in the rain. Everything is black and white with vivid highlights in primary colors. She wears a red dress and red lipstick. The color flatters her. I can't remember her wearing it like tonight.

We chat about the old days and how it's hard for her to get out now that she has a baby. I'm glad I have work to do, but it's also hard for me to get out because of it. She gets into a cab and we say goodnight.

I walk around the city a little more, just to get out the jitters from that last high note. A horse-drawn cart clops by. Another old friend pops out. He's wearing an 18th century tweed suit, complete with cape and cane.

I'm surprised! I'm even more surprised that it flatters him! We walk and talk the rest of the way home.

It starts to rain harder. I look back at myself- Humphrey Bogart. That's what I physically see, but I know I'm looking back at this old friend. And in a sudden flash, I know that I am my friend. We've swapped essences and I am in his body looking at me, and I feel the way he feels in my presence. There's no doubt about his feeling of comfort and affection for me. He has a very nice calm compared to the background sensations of my body- or Humphrey Bogart's body. Or my old body- however you'd want to describe it. But I know this feeling my friend has could change, and powerfully. And for longer. I respect this difference and enjoy the observation of it. I reenter myself and a serenity passes over me- my favorite flavor of happiness.


I wake up and my kitty is in the crook of my left arm, purring. Her chin is laying on my neck. Rain has a soft, regular rhythm, sort of like a purr. It's so nice to have whatever frequency kitties purr at running through the liquids and wave functions in this burdensome physical form of mine that we must all be thankful for, maintain and endure.

My body allows me to exist on this plane, but I certainly do have a love/hate relationship with it most of the time. I would prefer to exist as a sentient, peaceful being without material form. I wonder if that's possible.

My backpack full of homework has been killing me. The 50-60 pounds of calculus at the opera  I brought out is laughable- I am certain my textbooks and other accoutrements must weigh closer to 100 lbs.

Other influences include how Ilsa is Bogart's old "friend" in Casablanca, and there's a sense of warmth, loyalty and shared memories between Bogart and Captain Renauld at the end. The film was about the French Resistance, we're about to watch a French noir in class, I'm watching an MIT course done by a man with a French accent, and one of my favorite calculus instructors had a French accent.

This was a nice dream to have though because people around here have been driving me crazy lately. Just overhearing them lately has been driving me crazy. I hear the following conversation behind me right now:

"Marilyn Monroe is a world leader, but she shouldn't be! She should be kicked out! There's nothing real about her. She's not a real person. Marilyn Monroe wasn't even her persona. She had lips, a chin job, a nose job... She was so insecure she needed someone to come with her on set to assure her she was a good actress!"


"She told me I had Autism because I wasn't looking her in the eye!"

Buh-hah! I get annoyed when people use Autism or Bipolar or other diagnostic labels as insults. Many of the finest people I know have Autism, Bipolar disorder, etc., and they are aware of and defy the stereotypes quite beautifully too.

I don't think think that people who use psychological terms as insults are aware that anyone can be diagnosed with a mental illness. I mean that literally. A philosophy of unconditional acceptance for human nature is mandatory to effective clinical practice. Psychology is worthless without it. Putting the ideas of  psychology into practice without having ingested ideas like I'm Okay- You're Okay is like trying to do calculus without knowing the unit circle.

I feel that that using psychological jargon in SoCal has become a really trendy thing for people trying to get away with being nasty without getting in trouble for it, or for people who are unusually adverse to feeling confused to quickly end those uncomfortable feelings. In polite society, we know it's morally incorrect to use theories designed to help people to attack them. Psychological ideas should be premise by premise arguments leading up to conclusions which should be able to predict peoples' behavior, if those ideas they are accurate. But person A doesn't necessarily look away from person B during a conversation because person A has Autism.

When I was 17 and started my psychology program, I always wondered how the people in my books came up with what they did, but I believed that they were grown ups in a huge institution with tons of people to help test and refine their ideas, and that I was young and didn't know enough to be able to say they were wrong. Unfortunately, I don't know how I would have known that psychology was a poor career idea for me, personally, without learning a certain amount about it first.

I was thinking about how our interactions with other people are so often done with the goal of inducing an emotion in them. Sometimes, that's great. It's often really nice to try to make people feel happy. But that also causes huge problems when we take that principle and hope to shock, awe or induce fear in others in order to get our own way or to silence people when we don't understand how to articulate our ideas. Those two scenarios are equal opposites, but everything contains its own opposite. So they're the same thing, in some respects. I think that things might work out better in the comments of trending articles, YouTube, etc. if our interactions were driving us towards friendship with each other instead of moments of emotion. But then again... I'm not so sure, because our friends sometimes hold us back from doing what makes us happy or can influence us poorly.

I still can't get the phone company to send me my phone bill to the correct address because some psychology genius in their customer service department is convinced that I have this long-running story about not receiving my bills in order to avoid paying them. Not so! For a while, I did not remember what date, amount or address to mail my checks to and they wouldn't take my card online. And so the infamy of SoCal's holier-than-thou customer service lives on. With a twist.

I miss caring about people. I miss the people I've cared about sincerely and without reservation (like in the opera). It's irritating having to care about people strictly on principle for as long or as often as I've had to these past two years or so. I miss feeling a sense of trust and goodness in another person. I miss feeling that caring can be easy, safe and good.

My usual joy in eavesdropping has been leaving me cold. I'll listen to people's conversations and the snark rises within me. Perhaps that's why I'm dreaming about people and things I've cared about before. It reminds me that this is just a small bubble of all possible experiences.