Dreamed 6/9/1996 by Chris Wayan
I'm a woman in my twenties working an information desk in the library of a future city, all curving ramps and towers. I have mixed feelings about my job. People come in with two general classes of problems. One looks hard, but I can solve them effortlessly. The other looks no harder, but I flub them every time. Maddening.
The hard problems aren't word-riddles, but physical objects that appear in the sky and reach down to land, a bit like tornados. They even have a helical structure. But they're not wind--something solid. A tilted widening cylinder with a spiral ramp coiling up around it! You can climb it. Where does it go?
People ask and ask, haunted by these stairs that follow them round... and I can't answer.
At last, a really huge riddle-helix touches down in our area, and a man needs help with it. I go face it and try to climb its stairs.
Interesting. The structure generates a vicious pessimism inside me, so strong I don't even look for solutions! I just accept the funnel as a given, despite the mood it radiates.
You know, all these riddle-tornadoes have done this, but I never noticed--maybe because I'm rather pessimistic on my own. But this is strong even for me, and reasonless. Induced!
Yet... as soon as I notice and set aside this helix-generated despair and self-criticism, the solution to the insoluble puzzle just pops out at me! I'm incredulous--but suddenly it's childishly easy.
And it wasn't from defeating my pessimism, or even from fighting it--all I had to do was merely notice it.
Uh...lesson? What lesson?
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