The other day I was taking a nap before having to go to rehearsal, and I hit some serious REM sleep, because I started dreaming very, very hard. I don’t tend to remember very many dreams for some reason, but this one was a doozy; I remembered everything. It really was meticulously detailed, which was truly unfortunate. Not because it was a scary dream. Unless you find “hopeless banality” scary, because it was the most boring dream possible. Luxembourgian geopolitics are less boring than this dream, if Luxembourg has any geopolitics to speak of, and I’m already weak with boredom even thinking about that, but it’s still a flaming-hoop act, excitement-wise, compared to that damn dream. Anyway.
As it starts out, I’m in a plain white room with a brown carpet. (Good God, even that first sentence makes me want to put my head into a paint shaker. You already know you’re in for a thrilling Cavalcade of Boredom.) It is evening, around nine o’clock, but I only know that because of dream-logic; the room is too uninteresting to feature anything as pulse-quickening as a clock. The only other person in the room is a mildly pretty saleswoman standing by a table with about a dozen cell phones on it. She’s kind of packing stuff up, because it’s the end of the day. I guess. The oppressive boredom makes it difficult to ascribe reason to the situation.
All of a sudden, I realize I have a vast, consuming need to purchase a cell phone. So I start talking to her. She really just wants to go, but is stuck dealing with the weird dreaming guy who’s just way too into the minutae of cell phone plans, but she starts describing them anyway.
In lengthy, excruciating detail. X number of minutes for Z dollars a month; roaming costs; year-long plans vs. open-ended contracts, all kinds of stuff that my brain must have been manufacturing. And I was eating this stuff up, I simply couldn’t get enough of this brain-choking bullshit. All the while I’m picking up phones and excitedly examining them. Let me stress again how lame and prosaic this dream is. Because as I examined the phones, I didn’t find any with incredible features or doodads, like a concealed switchblade, or a rhino whistle, or a Jim Carrey proximity alarm or anything. They were just . . . phones. I heard myself saying terrible things: “What can you tell me about this red one?” “Wow, I don’t know how I’d use all those minutes! (Wild laughter)” “What about the ones with the flip-down mouthpiece?”
It went on like that for a while; in dream time it seemed like hours. Finally I guess my brain had simply had enough of this, because I’m pretty sure it got bored by itself. The reason I say this is because of the idiotic way it ended: I was jabbering away about some awful phone detail, and the salesgirl, without a word, simply turned away from me and walked out the door. I just stood there watching her leave, clutching one of the phones, feeling very plaintive that I was being treated so shabbily, and maybe she’ll come back? I’m still interested in many of these phones!
I woke up then. I kept still for a few minutes, reviewing the dream bit by bit, marveling at its detail, marveling at its startling vacuity, marveling at the cinematic scope of its breathtaking dumbness. It was like watching a Warhol film on IMAX or seeing a Grand Guignol play performed by catatonics.
I know now I will never, ever be able to buy a cell phone in my life because of this.