Saturday, 22 September 2012

In Your Dreams, Man!

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In my waking world I am a slave to rules, routine, and tiresome responsibilities. The people are stuck up and boring, so anxious to make the right impression. My surroundings are wishy-washy shades of grey. No, give me my dream world any time.
In my dream world I’m on a well-lit movie set, vibrant with colour. Anything is possible, everything is just waiting to happen. The freedom is breathtaking. The people can be unpleasant, downright weird, or just plain defective--but never boring. And I ask myself, now who in their sane mind would rather live in their waking world?
When I was 13 my dad took me bear-hunting in the Himalayas. We climbed to 14,000 feet and trudged through old snow in the middle of summer. My dad had a .375 Magnum Winchester rifle that went off like a cannon, but we never shot any bears. I’m glad about that.
In the night we slept in an empty shepherd’s hut. At that height the sky is crystal clear, the stars a dense carpet of pulsing pin-prick lights. Everywhere it’s almost as bright as a football stadium. Forget the moon. You hardly notice it.
While my dad snored in his sleeping bag I lay reading about how Sherlock Holmes set about attacking The Speckled Band with nothing but a thin, wooden cane. But so magical was the night that after a while I put my book aside and simply gazed up at the dazzling, swirling, canopy of stars. It’s unbelievable how many satellites were wandering past. I began imagining that one of them was a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado, just about the most beautiful car in the world, cruising sedately along a diamond-strewn highway.
But in the end even this sublime moment couldn’t keep me away from my dream world.
Besides, I was really tired. So my eyelids drooped shut and I dreamed, as always, of faraway places and fantastic goings-on; fierce creatures in dense jungles, tank brigades swooping across rolling battle-plains (you’d be amazed at how fast a modern tank can go!). Of riding a 1200cc Yamaha bike with my babe sitting behind. When I accelerated powerfully she clutched me tight and gasped and squealed in my ear. Then I was deep sea fishing with blisters blooming on my hands as I wrestled, Ernest Hemingway style, with a giant marlin at the end of a heavy-gauge fishing line. Hang gliding over war-torn mountains where bearded outlaws fired up at me, their spent bullets only reaching far enough to clink harmlessly off the aluminium struts of my glider…I couldn’t believe it when morning came and our guides spoilt it all by shaking us awake with steaming mugs of tea. I’d been having such fun! My dad smiled sleepily and pointed at the horizon. Ice cream mountain-tops were turning to pink sugar confections under a honey-gold sun. It was my turn to gasp (I try not to squeal too often!), because I had never seen anything so mind-blowingly lovely.
 On the way back down we breakfasted off cherry trees and later we caught trout from a mountain stream. They tasted fantastic after we’d tossed them in flour and fried them in butter.
 Yes, this was the only time in my life when my waking world managed to be every bit as good as my dream world. I’ll never forget it…if only there were more moments like that then I wouldn’t get tired of my waking world so often.
Sometimes in my dreams I can fly. Yes, fly, simply by climbing an invisible staircase and just sort of, well, taking off from the top. Once, half awake, I got up from bed and stubbed my toe when I tried to climb. It really hurt!
I find anything is preferable to the disappointing reality of my waking world – –  but I can only sleep so much. So what about when I’m not sleepy any more? Well, I have this marvellous companion called a lapdog. Lapdog? Sorry, laptop, which has far more interesting worlds nestling within its cute little 14 inch face than all the spreading vistas of human struggle outside my front door. Hey, listen, it might not be for everyone, my kind of life. Or even good for everyone. I think I can handle it, though; my books, my sheets of lined, A4 paper for writing stories...stories that just keep tumbling around inside my brain. A warm kettle and a nearby bed are everything else I need. And to anyone who says to me, hey, get a life, man! I say, thank you very much, I already have one. And you, man?

Don't miss my next new post on Friday 28 September, called 'Gaby The Go-getter'!

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