Sunday, March 16, 2008

Someplace I Have Never Been

Last night I had an odd dream--of returning to an old job and an old apartment from 30 years ago. In the apartment, the TV played the same sequence of shows I remembered from when I first moved into the apartment in the 1970s--a coincidence I discuss with my new roommates--who are the same as my old roommates (only the same age as they were 30 years ago).

At school, I visited the site of a big student rally I had witnessed decades before and remembered vividly. I ate familiar food (a reuben sandwich, I think, with thick french fries) at a student hangout. I revisited the offices of the faculty I used to know--but the faculty themselves had been replaced with new faculty.

But here's the weird part--all the familiarity was fake.

I never had an apartment like the one in the dream, I never have seen shows like the ones on the TV, I never had roommates like the ones in the dream (at any age), I never witnessed a student rally, the hangout was unlike any grill I have actually been in, and the university offices were not arranged in any pattern that I recognized (except that the layout was vaguely similar to where I am presently).

So it was déjà vu in a dream--the illusion of familiarity--the sensations of returning someplace I have never been.

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