Sunday, May 23, 2010

Exactly As Is

If yesterday was a blast back to LJ and then an exhausting shopping expedition, then taken together my brain must have decided that I wanted to think about memory and corporate architecture even more clearly while I slept. Specifically, I wanted myself to think about tiles and store layout.

Thus, my brain gave me a dream about the Brazos Mall in which I was just aware enough of the dream state to try to dredge up memories of the layout and tile design from the 70's & 80's while my brain gave me goofier layouts than necessary for the "present day" mall. Apparently, "present day" involves lots of glass, open plan clothing stores, and dark-paneled fish & chips restaurants with surly counter people. The weird part was that I was desperate to recall the specific tile design on the floor; the size of the tiles, the shape of them, and the shades. And the dream made it difficult. Most of the stores that I remembered were closed, but I knew that I was dreaming and therefore theoretically capable of perfectly recalling the structures of those dead stores (except that the ones I was focusing on aren't dead--they're still in the mall to this day).

The tension between it's-there-in-my-head and I-can't-bring-it-out got progressively weirder until the dog woke me up this morning--craving Luby's and trying to remember if Wyatt's really did have floor tiles the color of Heinz 57. I guess when you're little you just spend more time so far below the level of the conversations around you that you're constantly in the perceptual equivalent of the kiddie pool. Or my dislike of carpet has just invaded my subconscious.

I'm still thinking about how much I miss when I write descriptions. It's not just the idea that every detail is missing, it's the idea that you find details upon which to hang your emotions. I spent lots of time as a kid trying to make sure that I only stepped on those dark brown tiles separating the wide sections of tan tiles that were little block, longer block (like a square footprint) facing the direction I was going. It felt like confirming the direction in which you were walking, as if the tiles were some kind of test of whether you understood where you were going. Stepping on a backwards pair was like a mental cramp. Wrong way.

If this was a story, dreaming about the tiles would be dreaming about recognizing a path contained in path with which I was already familiar. And this does faintly tie in the with a short story on which I'm working, so I'm going to pretend that all that driving and sleeping added up to a productive way to spend the day.

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