Dreamed 1993/6/26 by Chris Wayan
My friend Cecy is graduating from the California Institute for Integral Studies, a New Age school in San Francisco. I'm glad she invited me, along with our mutual friend Fred. I've had fantasies of coming here myself for a degree. Now I can see what the people are like.
The school hasn't got a large enough hall, so they hold it in the San Francisco Unitarian Church on Cathedral Hill. A light, open, informal hall with open beams--the architecture smiles and welcomes free thought. A good choice.
But... must EVERY speaker quote Rumi? Not bad quotes, mind you, but it's like Laurel and Hardy's slow slapsticks, where a little irritant ever so gently grows to a war. As Rumi said: "A day will come when deans will quote me at graduations, though I am dust--so let us now get sloppy drunk." Oh sorry, that was Omar Khayyam. Wrong generational fad.
Rumi's an adequate fad as fads go, but all these deans slather his rhetorical salsa on so thick because their own word-chips are so limp and stale. I can't believe it--a wacko New Age school, and STILL the graduation speeches are boring! I expected bad, they're always bad. But I hoped for entertainingly bad.
Still, I endure it till they start in about "the Kingdom of Heaven." I bristle as this dean goes on about kings and lords--Nobodaddies in the sky. Every time they haul out their kings, two speeches later they're burning someone suspiciously like me. For a New Age school, it's sounding awfully Old Age.
After the speeches, though... the student body is another matter. Full of gorgeous women with clean smart auras--and I go by a person's energy as much as a dog does. Always have.
Fred and I, who are both single, are eager to be introduced to Cecy's friends... But she carefully avoids all the cute women, at least when we're around! I'm a lone wolf, I feel socially pretty ignorant, so rather than get angry my first thought is "Am I acting strange, am I embarrassing Cecy?" rather than "Does she think I'm not good enough for her friends? Is Cecy ashamed of me?"
Fred notices my growing shyness and says "Don't buy into it! You think you're ugly or stand out as someone to avoid. Wrong! Cecy's acting weird."
Indeed, rather than bask in the attention, Cecy herself seems shy and subdued. Something's on her mind. At last she corners us two and whispers "I don't know what to do. I think our dance teacher has been coming on to me!" Fred and I are skeptical: we know the guy, and haven't seen a hint of it. She's hovered around him; he's been polite.
Unsure what to say, we both hesitate. Cecy slowly turns red. We look at each other. She growls "Thanks for the support!" and stomps off to the bathroom. Fred waits till she's out of earshot, and hisses "Well, should I say, 'Cecy, he's married, but if he WANTS to cheat on his wife and risk his career for a student... he has his choice of HUNDREDS of dancers, young and gorgeous, and frankly, you're neither--and you're insisting he fell for you, only no one else sees it? Girl, your ego is GIGANTIC.' Should I be that rude, spell it out? Seems to me she won't believe me even then."
I hesitate, then admit "Well... true. She likes him, she's projecting, but she'll never admit it. She'll just act hurt." When she comes back, I stick to the facts. "I haven't seen any evidence he's flirting with you, let alone coming on to you" rather than "You're projecting, YOU want HIM, and you want me to say he wants YOU as a sort of fantasy graduation-present, but that's just setting you up for a fall and I won't do it."
So Cecy goes home with her crush crushed, and I go home without meeting anyone.
Makes you wonder what a degree in psych is for.
1: EROS IS THE DEVIL!
I'm Mr. Spock on a bicycle... eternally balanced, eternally logical.
But I'm chasing a dangerous god--a god named Eros. Up a long slope... at last I'm getting close enough to ready my weapons. It's a duel, you see, between Eros and me. For a moment I'm just a watcher, shouting helplessly to Spock "Your bow, stupid! Get READY!" A bow's a terrible weapon for a biker, since it takes both hands, and a bike's not a horse to mind the path on its own--it wobbles with every bump so my shots go wild. But I'm stuck with it--my only long-range weapon. Cars, light-poles and pedestrians get in the way, it's a complex obstacle course I must weave around and through, steering the bike with my hips, steadying the arrow... I don't think he's spotted me yet--we Vulcans have sharp senses--but Eros is, after all, a god. The old human god of love, I believe. I'd better fire now--even if his senses are merely human he'll spot me soon.
I release the arrow and hit him, but not vitally. Aim and fire again. And again. He fires back now, with his own arrows. We weave between columns and cars... at one point turn my body to the left, edge-on to my enemy, because I sense his next shot will hit me. Does, but just a slight wound in my arm, bouncing off the bone, not the deep body blow it might have been. I can still shoot! This close, my enemy looks more like the Christian devil! Can't be sure. But a very powerful being.
Still, I keep firing and HITTING him. Having an effect. In fact, despite my injury, I'd guess I'm winning.
Against Evil? Or against Love?
NOTES IN THE NIGHT:
LATER THAT NIGHT...
I'm Batman, in a canyon, at night, trailing two criminal masterminds. At first, I hover like a hawk, watching them from far above by moonlight: Catwoman and the Devil, who are in love.
I have to admit I dig this midnight intrigue, I'm not so different from them. In fact, I'm have quite a crush on Catwoman. If only she had empathy, I'd come on to her. But I can't take her ruthlessness. Could I TEACH her to care? If only she'd love me! But unfortunately, she loves the devil, and both of them know I have a soft spot for her. They've used it against me shamelessly, over and over.
When I pin them down at the head of the canyon, they switch from space to time. They flee into the future... twenty or thirty thousand years!
But I have a time machine too, and I follow. Track them to the sumptuous hall they live in, in the future. Great sculptures and paintings crowd the place. They're quite rich, here in the future. I talk to them, don't try to fight. Try to act as if they could reform, when I know they won't--they see my ethics as limiting, quaint, hilarious.
And Catwoman sees my love for her as merely... useful.
Before I can face them--and my feelings--other Powers enter the hall. A Christian-like God's sent a band of angels to capture and punish us all! I'm insulted, and join Catwoman and the Devil in defending ourselves. BIFF! POW! Two minutes of gritty fighting, and the stained glass windows shatter. Damn. I liked those. For thieves, Catwoman and the Devil have great taste.
Strangely, when the dust settles, the angels seem to overlook me. I've become a mere observer. And the Devil's slipped out, the weasel, leaving Catwoman captured--and judged on the spot. The archangel in command says "You've been wicked, but you have... potential. We give you the choice to be forgiven, and fly with us to heaven, giving up your mortal life for salvation, NOW, or... never. Cling to these things of the the flesh, and hell will be your only home. Choose!"
The rank and file are already packing up. She gets five minutes to decide her eternal fate! "Snap Judgment Day" I think sourly. Catwoman looks tormented: "I can't just give up life without a fight! And how can I live with angels? I'm a loner, I don't believe in love. Yes, I have good in me, never denied it; but I can't just drop all my armor and history and be forgiven and FORGET it."
"Choose," says the angel.
Sadly, she says "I just can't go. I'm not ready for your heaven."
And so, the angels soar through the empty window-holes, leaving Catwoman in the ruined, echoing hall. She breaks down and cries, grieving over the opportunity she can't take.
The Devil slips in and says "That was great, baby! You chose Me."
She looks at him coldly. "Where were YOU when I was captured?"
Hurt, he blurts "If that's how you feel, you can just NOT go to hell!"And out he walks. Touchy! No loss, I think.
Catwoman sits alone on the rubble. The Cat who Walks Alone! Rejected heaven and hell...
Secretly, perched high in the shadows, I feel hope at her tears. She's acknowledged what she wants, the qualities she was tempted by: good, not evil! Those angels were just too rigid, in a hurry--and didn't listen. The Devil? Ha. She needs... a dark knight? Well, maybe. But she's grieving... is this really the time to intrude? Give her time.
But that she doesn't get. Horns in the distance! Louder, louder. Martial chants. Then heralds with long trumpets enter the hall and announce the arrival of... Alexander the Great! Centuries, and he's still wandering, claiming and conquering every land he finds. As his recruitment slogan says: "Beat all that you can beat."
Alexander enters the ruined hall, and in a long, polished speech (oh, but he's had lots of practice) he annexes it in the name of... I'll spare you.
His steward sets a dinner table up on the angel's battleground. Scythian chalices of gold... nice tableware for a camp! Not loot, but brought along from home. He likes certain amenities and you can't be sure the foreigners you rob will have decent taste. Though, really, he needn't have bothered. The Devil knows his stuff--except for catwomen.
So the King dines, and judges his prisoner in the grand archaic manner. "And thou, O Defeated Queen! Thou art Fallen--Evil--yet wondrous Fair. I shall teach thee the Right and the Good." There's nothing grand, though, about the iron collar his soldiers clasp around her neck. Will he keep her as a slave? As a concubine? She's still busy grieving (the old Catwoman would NEVER have let Alexander the Great just catch her--this is Catwoman!), but she's starting to get a little annoyed. She stayed on Earth and renounced Heaven just to work out her feelings, not to let some king yell in her ear about morality.
I have urgent business elsewhere, but I'll be back as soon as I can. For Catwoman's not lost any more--she's found a purpose.
In Alexander the Great's future, I see claw marks.
Now I sail back centuries more, to stand in the same airy, beautiful hall, but long before the tall windows were shattered by a war of angels, devils, and a lonely Catwoman...
A man passes by. No devil, no angel, a plain man, in fact an ugly man: a tall skinny eagle-beak with a droopy long mustache and stringy black hair. He looks suspiciously like Frank Zappa with his hair down. No, no, we're centuries too early. I know who this is! Or will be--he's destined to become a great poet. That's Rumi!
Only it's up to me, Batman, to MAKE him a poet. I hold a bowl of cherries out toward him--split and double cherries. I must split this man open somehow, like the cherries, so his Rumi soul can burst out. He's too narrow, I must make him Rumi!
Sorry. It's that kind of night.
I lock eyes with him--man, is he ugly!--and along the high-tension wire of that stare, I send a psychic blast that bugs his droopy eyes out, shocks that lanky hair. I start chanting "Roooomeeeeee...." and wiggle my fingers at him, oh so very mystically. Hey, this is New Age magic--lame is the game! And I sure can't think of any more I can really do... I mean, tell him he's gonna be famous? Spoon-feed him the poems he's gonna write? No way! Rumi will do fine on his own.
I'm heading back to someone who needs me, even if she doesn't know it. Someone on a quest between darkness and light. And (I'm starting to admit to myself, as I travel centuries more to find her) someone I need back.
NOTES NEXT MORNING
Cecy and I go hiking in Golden Gate Park. I tell her the whole Batman dream. She gasps and says "My boyfriend Mark and I BOTH dreamed of Batman the same night YOU did!"
I still don't know who was picking up whose dreams... and I guess it doesn't matter.
What matters is, who's picking up whose values.
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