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FREE WAY? DETENTION FOR YOU!

Dreamed 1997/2/14 by Chris Wayan


A freeway entrance. An open-top car jammed with young men roars by, very fast. Painfully loud. I resent them.

I start out on the freeway myself, but my car seems underpowered, won't get up to speed. Then I realize it doesn't respond to my foot on the gas pedal, but to my expectations. So I expect it to go fast--and quietly.

It does all right! It disappears entirely. I find myself zooming silently along the freeway, levitating, wrapped only in my bedsheet! I worry the friction where the sheet drapes down to touch the asphalt will wear out the sheet and tear it. I have so few.

I worry I'll freak the other drivers, cause rubbernecking, maybe a pile-up. Hardly! No one on the freeway has a car. Businessmen with brown suits and ties stand calmly as some Magritte painting, as they zoom a foot above the lanes at a mile a minute. Though we all slow down a bit, as more floaters pour in at each interchange. No one gets off and the traffic gets more crowded. The freeway narrows and slows to walking speed. Traffic eddies like a levitating cocktail party, pools, and settles to a stop.

We're in a crowded classroom. Not here to be taught--punished with detention. "The free way is off limits! Detention's not enough for you. You need punishment." The principal or teacher in charge decides to torture us with painfully loud noise. The loudspeakers start to shriek.

No way am I letting some principal damage my ears! I start upending desks to form a fort. Flimsy, but it reflects a lot of the high-frequency sound. Others see what I'm doing and join me. Their bodies absorb more sound so I welcome them. We survive the attack without hearing loss.

The principal himself comes in, furious I avoided my punishment. Rather than defy him directly, I say

"Your rules were posted in red letters on a green notice, and I have red-green color blindness, so I couldn't read them. I'm not to blame. If you want us all to obey your rules, post them so we all can read them." What's this bullshit? I'm not red-green colorblind. I wait for him to catch me: "So you drive around blind to stoplights?" I have an answer ready: "That's why I go on the free way. No lights."

But it's a lie. Why won't I fight openly against this Principal of Punishment?

NOTES

THE NEXT DAY

Friends invite me to the new film version of HAMLET. My reluctance to challenge the principal is echoed on screen, in Hamlet's fatal reluctance to challenge his uncle the usurper! The central issue in Hamlet is procrastination. For a year now, my dreams have been warning I must tackle this issue--it's my fatal flaw too.



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