I had a strange dream before waking this morning. My house had been turned into a manufacturing plant for cotton and it was filled with slaves working the machinery. The slaves weren’t all the same color, some white, some black, some old, some young, some professional people, some blue-collar. But we were all slaves together and I was one of them. At the end of the day, I swept up the loose bits of cotton and thought to myself,
This big cotton plant used to be my house.
But the times when we had a regular income, when I was legitimately my own person was so long ago that I could hardly remember what it felt like. I felt like the last emporer of China, calling his subjects Comrade, or Napoleon banished to the island of Malta, muttering and plotting his new plans, or the Prince and the Pauper, commanding allegiance while in rags. Interesting … at least two of those characters were considered mad by others. Is it madness to want to rule your own world, to establish your kingdom, to erect yourself as the monarch of your destiny?
In my dream, I saw a drug deal going on and the rolls of cash being made. I decided to get in on it. I did a large deal, handing over the drugs in a purple, crocodile-skinned, Italian-made, leather bag, and walked away from my house with a roll of bills in my pocket, feeling guilty about participating in such a dirty business, but justifying that I wouldn’t get caught up in it.
This is just to get me out of here. It is a means to an end. All’s fair in love and war and this is war. I’m getting out of here, one way or another.
Then I woke up.
Watching or reading the great stories of the world is one of the greatest gifts to mankind. But living a story is far more difficult. When the letter arrived to vacate the premises in ten days, I told Paul,
This kind of drama is great for the blog, but it’s tiring living it. When we get on with our lives, I’m moving into fiction. I’m going to make my characters squirm and suffer and experience sorrow from the comfort of my couch — right before we head out to surf.
Paul laughed at this. We both laughed with a hint of bitterness, wondering if there was truth in it or we were destined to this life of unknowing and wandering forever.
What choice is there but to wander on — chasing mirages in the hopes that one of them will turn out to be real? Who is to say that the feeling of seeing the water on the edge of the desert is the only joy and the stumbling over the hot sand is reality and life?
But I must remember that there was another time when I was my own person, the emporer of my fate, the Napoleon of my world, the Prince of my life. I will believe in oases even if they don’t exist. I hope I don’t get involved with any drug deals to experience it again, but I plan on getting out of here, one way or another.