Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears The Crown

Logged: 16 October 2019

Dreams are pitiless exercises in unreason. I keep a short list of my worst and compare notes with someone about them just to give me a benchmark of how lunatic they can be. For over a year my reigning crackpot dream was a freakish tableau where I was detonating small amounts of explosive charges in a cupboard in an hotel room. Someone else in the room was watching, and I became anxious when one of the charges blew a small hole through the wall into whatever lay beyond (and who knows what lies beyond in a dream?). The most relevant question I could think of at the time was “How am I going to cover that up?” Perhaps a more rational question would have been “is there a good reason you shouldn’t stop doing it before you blow a hole in the wall, or yourself?” Reason of course has no place in dreams, any more than it has in politics or mainstream media today.

More recently a legitimate challenger emerged that took the crown from my dreamland incumbent. I won’t dwell on the swirl of details leading up to the key part of my new dream. Those are just the foothills. Instead I’ll concentrate on the key part itself because, like mount Everest seen from a distance, it has a certain majesty and grandeur. All dreams are fundamentally crackers. A dream’s insanity is directly proportional to how much effort is made to understand it. The harder anyone attempts to reason it out, the madder it gets.

In touching upon my most recent dream, I have to take a deep breath and dive back into the jumbled landscape of a mishmash building that somehow I recognised, but at the same time was not strictly anywhere I knew. I found myself in a large office building filled with items of office furniture that were familiar, but inside a structure that was a vast atrium as wide as 4 large sports fields shunted together. I and some others were making our way to a meeting there. The roof must have been over 300 feet from the floor. It was like the Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Canveral.

Along the way as we weaved between desks and cabinets, we passed a number of meeting “guidance” LCD screens. These were blank until looked at. A second or so after being looked at, they appeared to tap into the thoughts of whoever was going to a meeting, and indicated with an arrow in which direction to proceed. I recall thinking “that’s clever, but if it ever goes wrong and starts showing what’s actually on our minds at any given time, there’s going to be trouble.” Anyone who has worked in a corporate environment will understand what a weapon of career destruction inadvertent truth can be, especially in relation to the management, or the HR department. In some companies that’s just the left and right forks of the same tongue. If thoughts like that are released unguarded into the wild, someone will be clearing their desk under the stern watchful eye of security the same day.

Our destination was a long rectangular glass topped table, surrounded by tubular chrome metal chairs. There was seating for about eight. As we took our places I saw there would be a seat vacant at the far end of the table. Abruptly a short portly figure dressed in a well made light grey pinstripe suit came huffing and puffing up hurriedly, evidently a bit late for the meeting. Instead of taking the vacant seat, unaccountably he sat cross legged on the carpet at my end of the table in silence. I recall thinking a little petulantly “I’m not going to keep leaning over to hand down stuff to you there when it’s being circulated.”

Now I’m awake and my reason has un-docked from the fog of insanity that dreams are, I can say with absolute objectivity I didn’t find it extraordinary that this late arrival sat on the floor with his eyes below table top level. I just thought it was stupid. I rationalised it didn’t matter, however. He’d be able to see up through the glass top of the table for any PowerPoint presentations. I didn’t find it extraordinary that nobody paid any attention to him. Curiously, I didn’t even find the most extraordinary feature of the dream at all extraordinary. This late arrival in a grey pin stripe suit had the head of an elephant, complete with big flappy ears, an articulated trunk, tusks, and tree-trunk sized arms and legs that ended in flat elephant stumps. The single thing I did find extraordinary, bordering on actually outrageous, was that the elephant didn’t take the vacant seat at the other end of the table.

The implication here is I was absolutely fine with an elephant arriving late to a meeting in an office, dressed in a pinstripe suit, and sitting cross-legged (with some difficulty due to the very stout legs) on the carpet at my end of the table. But when it came to an elephant arriving late to a meeting in an office, dressed in a pinstripe suit, and sitting cross-legged on the carpet at my end of the table when there was a vacant seat available, that crossed a line. Judgmentally I thought Oh…that’s a bit weird.”

I remember looking at the elephant as it sat in silence with its trunk held just above the rim of the table, and thinking “There’s a seat you can use at the other end. What do you think it’s there for? Keep up.” It’s a perfect illustration of how logic in a dream is a chain that’s only as strong as its weakest link. Mine had snapped at the first gentle tug, and was left dangling and clanking in the breeze of irrationality. It led to a coronation, with the old champion of madness leaving the throne to a new champion. The crown had been passed.