Dreamed 1989/11/16 by Chris Wayan
Hi. I'm a tuna fish going to college. I got a Stanford scholarship for minorities. Scholarships always come up a bit short, so I work part-time in the library for pocket money. Well, not pockets, but you know what I mean.
I swim around campus, in a sea that's in a parallel cosmos, coterminous with the land here. If you don't know what coterminous means, look it up in a geometry book. For now let's just say I can go anywhere you walkers can go... only my "wheres" aren't quite your "wheres."
How'd a tuna learn words like cosmos and coterminous? Well, how'd you think I won a scholarship? Motivation! I was tired of being in a crowded, dangerous school, OK?
Naturally, the first class I sign up for is on Inuit meditation. We've always admired the patience and serenity of those hunters sitting by ice-holes waiting for seals...
The first class is held in the campus theater. The announcing system says "Sit in the front-center seats and contemplate the stage." I swim down the aisle and hover, one eye above the carpet, staring at the stage: a luminous pond with a pine tree reflected in it: long-needle clusters, silhouetted by a brilliant sky. I think "No Inuit shaman would see this! It's too visually rich and distracting. This is a southern fantasy." The wind gets wilder (from whirring offstage fans): a storm comes up stage center. Lightning, loud fierce and plausible! The audience breaks out in applause.
Thank you, Drama Department.
Face it, this isn't the place or the crowd to trance out in. Oh well. At most, I'll learn techniques, and practice them later, in deep water. That always calms me. Blue is so serene, don't you think?
After class, I cross campus with Miso, a co-worker from the library, talking about the lesson, me from the water of my otherworldly sea, she walking on asphalt paths across the lawns. But when a parallel-world ship sails up within range, looming between the buildings, plowing through the lawn, I play it safe--even if I have a student card, I'm still a tuna, and those guys are notoriously sloppy about who they catch and kill--as any porpoise could tell you. Any surviving porpoise.
So Miso picks me up and carries me. Her aura disguises me--I pass for human, from a distance at least. Once the trawler passes, I revert to tunahood and dive back under the grass, surfacing only to play in the fountains.
So many distractions on this campus to snare you! Not just the Drama Dept and fishing nets and fountains. Today's the regatta! Over a hundred yachts racing through campus. Of course they manifest as bicycles zooming across lawns and plazas. But reefs and rocks are everywhere, manifesting as railings and statues and kiosks. The racers can't get any long, free runs... smart maneuvering, not speed, will win the Cup.
They better not run over me! I'm a tuna, not some wussy manatee...
But the dream ended there. I suddenly woke, and never did learn if I became the first fish to earn a Stanford degree, or if instead I achieved a darker distinction--the first fish killed by a bicycle.
A NOTE YEARS LATER
Later generations of adoring fans should know that one of the profoundest proverbs of the 1970s feminist movement (and it was profound, since it ended up on T shirts, bumperstickers, even tarot cards! You can't dispute success--not in America) was:
A woman without a man is like
a fish without a bicycle.
The dream already was full of excess and redundance--a wealthy college, a tuna getting a scholarship, overlapping twin worlds, the overdone staging in the Drama Dept... So I'm pretty sure that under the surreal humor there's a message here about, um, overstimulation? Keeping it simple?
Damn. And I thought I had such a pure sample of the Fun but Meaningless Dream! Back to the notepad...
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