I invite any and all interpretations and analysis of what I am about to tell you.
It was a dream. A really weird and especially vivid dream that went through my mind behind the wall of sleep. If you've been reading Esoteric Synaptic Events for a while, you know that I have an interest in the concept of consciousness. Given that predilection, I really must wonder how all of these elements came to be lodged in my subconscious, thereby producing the dream I shall soon impart. I am especially perplexed as the main players in the dream are people I never think about and the location is one of which I know precious little. That said, please read on...
I was in Pittsburgh. Let's be clear, I have only been to Pittsburgh once and that was in the airport, hardly in the city as those of you PA natives might well know. Speaking of Pennsylvania, I have only been through the state once and that was back in 1985.
My reasoning for visiting Pittsburgh was work-related. And by work, I mean the place I was at before I happily accepted my current professorship. On break from the conference I was attending, I decided to roam the countryside in search of people and things to write about. Because the "countryside" is only a mile or two away from the city center of Pittsburgh as anyone knows, right?
In my foot travels, I came to a small town within a pastoral setting. It was basically a collection of two-story buildings and not much more. One of these buildings appeared to be a garden shop of sorts with a wide attachment of land that featured a number of trellises and racks for growing plants. It was muddy. I could smell the wet dirt. An adolescent Asian boy played among the plants. He wore a plastic space helmet and fired a toy laser "blaster." His grunts were nonverbal and his age indicated he was developmentally challenged.
The owner of the garden store was James Taylor. Yes, the singer. He wore a blue flannel shirt. We talked as he loaded tubular hoses onto a wagon. He explained that he was having trouble making ends meet with his store in a bad economy and fewer public funds to help him with the learning disabled child he and his wife had. I remarked that it was poignant story how even he, as a musician that most would believe just rolled in dough, struggles with mere survival these days. He said he'd let me write his story and I wandered on into the town.
I came to an antique shop. It was owned and operated by Art Garfunkel. Yes, you read that correctly. He wore a toga. I followed him through his store as he checked and priced old timey items, lifting them up onto shelves. He told me that he also was having trouble with his own shop. I said that I'm certain he was already aware of this, being in the same small town in Pennsylvania and all, but James Taylor was down a few streets and struggling with his own garden shop. They might want to commiserate. Maybe compose songs about their trials.
Art Garfunkel instructed me in no uncertain terms that if I ever see James Taylor again that I am to "kick him squarely in the nuts."
"We got into a car accident a little while back right here in town," Art told me. "Minor bump, not even a scratch, couldn't even see dust that had been rearranged. But Taylor gets out of his car and goes all asshole on me. Getting up in my face, telling me I'd better have good insurance. Telling me I'm gonna pay, etc. etc. Never talked to me since."
Then Sally Field walked into Art Garfunkel's antique store (never thought I'd write that sentence.) She wore a plain blue sweatshirt and had bought a chest of drawers that she needed help getting it into her car. Art enlisted my help and we went outside to the curb. We got it into the trunk and as a reward for my efforts, Sally Field offered to drive me back to my hotel in Pittsburgh. After all, she was already driving the gentlemen in the back seat to the city. He was introduced to me as a theater critic named Victor Chirez. No idea who that is but Art Garfunkel agreed to come along for the ride. Sally Field's car had no passenger side door but I accepted the ride anyway.
We drove on through a swirling mist of muted yellows and spiky oblong shapes. Sally offered me a jar of pickles to snack on, but I politely declined. In time we came to my hotel, which looked more like a theater than a lodging, a marquis out front and sloping facade that came to a pyramid point rather like the Luxor in Vegas. I thanked them for the ride, told Art Garfunkel I love "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," and went inside to pack. I seem to recall fearing I would miss my flight out of Pittsburgh. I hailed a cab, one that was driven by Gollum from Lord of the Rings. On the flight to Indianapolis, I would write all of this down.
Ok, I honestly have no idea where any of that came from. I mean, William Burroughs would probably shrug his shoulders at it.
Suffice to say, any of the piddly online "dream interpreters" haven't any category even close to this but then again the odds were slim. So I go for the big guns: a book by the Dali Lama himself.
In The Universe in a Single Atom, his holiness examines the parallels between scientific and spiritual development. Most germane to our discussion here, he speaks of neuorbiology and the nature of consciousness. The Lama, as it seems from my mere skimming of the text, argues that consciousness does not reside within any physical location, such as in the brain as we automatically assume. Rather, consciousness resides in a more spiritual realm.
Say what you will, but that actually makes sense to me in this case. I have made attempt after attempt to scrutinize my day yesterday in an effort to ascertain where any of these 1970s celebrities might have gotten into my head. Thus far, I have come up empty handed. If consciousness is a much wider, non-localized reality, then perhaps it stretches outward and overlaps with other areas while I am wholly unawares.
Sure, you can say I heard Pittsburgh, Art Garfunkel, and James Taylor somewhere within the course of my day yesterday. If I did, I would love to know when and where. That said, I think my theory is more fun.
My e-novella, Hound of Winter is available for only 99 cents
Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets