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    3/26/15 "Intercepted" (SLD)

    by , 03-27-2015 at 09:55 AM (367 Views)
    I'm walking along the street when a shop catches my attention and I start to browse what they have on display. The shop interior is open to the street, separated from the sidewalk only by a waist-high display counter—it's peculiar that storefronts in my dreams are so frequently based on the Bangkok model, even though there may be nothing else distinctly Asian about the products or proprietors.

    On the display counter facing the street is a variety of small bottles of essential oil. I examine the labels, and recognize a few types that I had purchased online recently. Would it have been better to buy them here and save on shipping? But I then I would be stuck with the sales tax, which might work out to even more.

    From the conversation between the couple running the place, I get the impression that business has been slow today. I've spent enough time browsing that I feel like I ought to buy something, if only not to disappoint the proprietors. Besides, it will be good for the local economy. There's nothing in particular that I need, but I'm sure I can find something here I will use or enjoy.

    Looking up from the essential oils on the counter, I see that there are several shelves of shampoo and conditioner on the side walls in front. That would be a practical purchase... but when I see the prices I hesitate. I don't like paying through the nose for bath products. I venture inside the store to see what else is available. The back wall contains a display shelf for books and magazines. Most of them seem to be about yoga. My eye falls on the title of one issue in particular: What Are the Benefits of Yoga Even When Doing it For No Reasons? I reflect that the title is biased; it implies that there is benefit. And the "no reasons" thing reminds me about the attitude so often demonstrated by American Buddhists regarding meditation, the idea that having any kind of reason suggests attachment, so one should meditate without a reason or goal... with the vague assumption that it is somehow good for you anyway.

    Well, I'm not interested in yoga, and I'm certainly not interested in practicing yoga or meditation for no reason. My priorities are quite different, and very well-defined: I'm interested in whatever can help me improve my dreaming.

    Gradually, I make a counter-clockwise sweep of the small store interior. On the left wall, a variety of objects are hanging on display. One catches my eye, a rectangle of black silk printed with a delicate pattern of flower buds. I take it down for a closer look, and note that the silk is pieced together in a curious, distinctive way. "What is this?" I ask the proprietors.

    The man of the couple says, "You could use it for anything. You could even tear it up and just use the cloth."

    I think—but don't say aloud—that the price tag is $90, an awful lot for a piece of scrap cloth! I take another look at the unusual stitching, and it reminds me of something. "Isn't it one of those Japanese cloths used for wrapping?" I'm sure I remember reading about these.

    The woman affirms that it is, and seems surprised that I know about it. She clarifies that it is designed specifically to go around a 10x10x10" package. The art of making them is hardly practiced anymore, she says. I wonder if she means doing the wrapping properly—if the cloths were so rare, why would there be a random one for sale in this shop? And I'm sure I've seen them for sale before, if only in a catalogue.

    I decide not to purchase the cloth as I don't have an appropriately sized 10x10x10" box to go with it. I'm about to peruse the essential oils again and pick something at random, when we are interrupted by a government raid. There is a moment when I wonder if I should avert this plot point entirely, but I let it happen—after all, what is the worst they can do, try to lock me up? And that won't amount to much. Instinctively I am aware of my invulnerability.

    The scene shifts here, and now we are outdoors on a paved area, like a wide driveway, on top of a hill. However, I am aware that I am not far from the shop I was visiting; it is right at the bottom of the hill.

    That agent is back again. What is this, the third time? He has threatened me before, but it has not gone well, so now he is threatening my host, the male shopkeeper. "I'll investigate every client," he warns. "No one can stand up to that kind of scrutiny."

    I feel obliged to defend the poor guy and intervene. The agent should be dealing with me. I'm the real target; he has no business taking his frustrations out on random people who are accidentally associated with me. I get in his face and confront him.

    "Why do you keep getting involved?" I still remember distinctly that this is the third time we have met, and that the previous two encounters have not ended well for him. This won't, either. I conclude my train of thought aloud: "You like it. You must like being humiliated."

    The agent lies down on the ground, as if in demonstration of my point. I am annoyed and start berating him. I forget what I said initially, but I conclude, "And there's your shit-kicking foot." To make my point perfectly clear, I enact the metaphor literally. The agent's left leg extends to impossible length, his shoe and sock disappear, and his bare foot kicks a shit in a high arc away from us. To emphasize what has just happened, I ensure that it leaves a stain on his foot.

    Afterwards the agent gets up to go, and I re-emphasize the pointlessness of his continued investigation of me. "My activities are confined to this circle. I'm not involved in anything in the wider world." I am aware that the 'wider world' is not even real for me; that I exist here within the circle of my own attention. This doesn't fully manifest as dream awareness, just the sense of my ontological difference from everyone else in this environment.

    The agents, about four of them in total, all turn to go. They have three dogs with them. I laugh when one dog darts aside, seemingly smelling something in the bushes, and scarfs it down. Knowing the appetites of dogs, I assume it must have found the shit that was kicked.

    I want to get back to the narrative from which I was so rudely interrupted; I still have business in the store at the bottom of the hill. I decide to fly for speed—and figure if the agents see me flying overhead, they might take my arguments more seriously and think twice before trying to interfere again. I swoop downhill at great speed, thinking about how I use the word "swooping," but when birds of prey dive like this, it is called "stooping." I realize I'm not sure precisely how such birds break their fall, so when I reach the bottom of the hill, I circle counter-clockwise twice to regain control before lightly letting my feet contact the ground again. The whole flight felt very graceful, and I am proud of myself, convinced that I am starting to get good at this. I'm not just flying anymore, I'm flying with style!

    I momentarily wonder if the proprietors of the store will be startled to see me flying. As I reach the ground, however, I realize that I have lost interest in the original narrative—which was incredibly mundane, let's admit—and now want to write my report on what just happend. I still don't have a clear sense that I'm dreaming, as such, yet I understand distinctly that I need to wake up. It takes a bit of deliberate effort to push through the layers—they feel almost like a physical fog—that divide me from waking consciousness, but I persevere until I am sure I am definitely awake... at least as sure as one can ever be.
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