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Am I Awake?

May 21, 2013

For the life of me, I cannot figure out whether I am awake or asleep.

At 6:00 this morning, an alarm interrupted my peaceful slumber.  Still hazy from the night before, I stumbled out of bed.  I figured that it was probably a bad idea to go to work drunk, so I turned off the alarm and went back to sleep.

My phone rang at 8:00.  It was my husband calling to say good morning.  “I can’t talk right now!  I’ll call you back,” I exclaimed before hanging up on him.  The phone rang again.  “Is everything okay?” he asked.  I insisted that I would call him back and hung up the phone.  I screamed as the bedroom door crashed open.  It was 8:30 and my husband was standing in the doorway.  As I sat in bed terrified, he replied, “I rushed home to make sure you’re okay!”  Irritated, I went back to sleep.

I had a dream. I arrived to work at 10:00 and was walking toward my office when a teacher ambushed me in the hallway.  He pulled a table out of his pants and forced me to sit down.  As I sat in front of the office door flipping through a textbook, the walls changed colors.  The door covered itself in bright pastel-colored rectangular blocks.  The dim overhead lights became brighter as grass sprouted from the floor.  The colorful door inspired me to ditch class and get breakfast.  As I wandered toward the kitchen, a desperate mob of people cut me off and fought over a TV mounted on the wall.  Foiled, I returned to the office.

I stopped at the colorful entrance to badge in, but I could not open the door because there was no handle.  Someone had cut a large hole in the door where the handle used to be.  The hole was not large enough for me to crawl through, so I searched for another door.  As I traversed the hallway, my mother called and asked whether I had bought the growth hormone balls to put in the playpen.  I did not have time to figure out what that meant so I hung up on her.

I found a door with a handle.  It led to a secure area so I could not take my phone inside.  Fancy new phone storage lockers commanded attention near the door.  I held down the power button on my phone but it refused to turn off.  Coffee appeared in my hand.  Horrified, I struggled to remove the phone battery without spilling the coffee.  The hallway became very crowded with people entering and exiting the office but no one would help me.  A maintenance worker pushed me as he passed by, shouting at his colleagues to follow him.

As I threw the phone into a locker, a consultant emerged from the office to assist me.  She was short and blond.  When I closed the locker door, it tripled in size and grew steel bars.  The lockers rearranged themselves, moving my phone further up the wall until it was out of reach.  I jumped up at the phone jail but it was futile.

The alarm woke me up again.  It was 9:00 and my head was pounding.  Punishment for drinking a bottle of rum out of boredom.  I had to get ready for work, so I zigzagged to the bathroom.  As I brushed my teeth, a huge roach materialized in the center of the mirror.  I gurgled for my husband to “helf me” as I jabbed my hand toward the intruder.  He grabbed a roll of paper towels and chased the bug around the bathroom, striking the mirror, cabinets and floor until the bug was obliterated.

My hero walked me to the car.  I drove through traffic, weaving around aggressively slow drivers.  Suddenly, two birds flew out of a tree.  One changed direction and eagerly crashed into my car.  My stomach churned as I heard the definitive thud.  My car was an accessory to suicide.  I had a moment of silence for the troubled bird.

At work, I inspected my bumper for signs of impact.  Maybe the troubled bird had merely knocked himself out.  When he awakened, he’d be grateful to have a second chance at life.  He would be a proud survivor and push other birds to believe that life is worth living.  Or maybe he’d torment himself with thoughts of “I’m such a failure, I couldn’t even end myself.”  They were equally possible.

I floated around the office, “working.”  It was difficult to function while the building rocked like a cruise ship on the ocean.  I pondered how I had made it to work while feeling so unstable.  I began to wonder whether I was still asleep.  I typically don’t feel weightless when I’m awake, but everything in the office seemed normal.  Too normal.  I had to know for sure.

First, I would jump on my coworker’s desk and can-can his business proposal to the ground.  Next, I’d knock my boss’ lunch from his hands and smash it with the fax machine.  Then I would barge into the CEO’s board meeting and flip the table, screaming, “THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”  If no one noticed, then it was probably a dream.  If I beat it, I could wake up from this nightmare.

As I stepped away from my cubicle, I considered the consequences if I was not dreaming.  I panicked as I realized that I’d worn jeans to work again.  Startled, I looked down to confirm that I was in fact wearing business pants.  Uneasy, I sat down without causing a scene.

Things remained iffy until lunchtime, when I ate a bagel that brought me back to reality.  Slowly, the room became clearer and the floor stopped moving.  My paranoia began to slip away as I became mostly confident that I was awake.

How can you ever be certain that you’re awake?

inception

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2013 4:02 pm

    Good God, where have you been?! Nevermind, it doesn’t matter, you’re back, and drunk. I love it!

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