Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dream-like state

Reality plays a wicked game with our dreams.

We were in Munich. It looked like summer. My groupmates and I, we still had one free day before the Berlin conference, so we strolled along the streets, saw blocks of concrete buildings of exact geometric measurements, roamed around the busy marketplace, took lots of pictures. I saw friends I had met before; they were attending that convention, too. I even greeted my Indian roommate I had met in Leiden.

We were a crowd. We visited museums. We even rode what looked like a boat which took us around the city. The place was a fusion between the Thai riverside marketplace and Venice canals. It felt so real, so tangible. I could even smell things.

We had some time left, but we decided to leave for Berlin anyway. For some reason I couldn't comprehend, we went to the airport and bought plane tickets when we could have easily taken the train. Do we get stupid in our dreams? An immigration officer, a strern-looking German lady, asked for my passport. I handed it in. It was as if time slowed down. She looked at me disapprovingly.

"I can't let you get in any further," she said, in excellent English. "Your passport. It's no good."

I asked her—my voice sounded serious—if this meant I was to deported. I pleaded with her, "But I can't leave my friends." I looked around, but my friends were already buying tickets, and they were nowhere to be found.

"This happens a lot," said the lady, "so I'll spare you from all the paperwork. This is what you do: run to Switzerland, buy a ticket to Manila, and don't ever do something like this again."

Her advice, although preposterous in real life, sounded logical in my dream state. Dreams corrupt even our wisdom. "Thank you, I owe you my life," I said as I hurriedly made my way out.

Cutting across the sea was a white, narrow strip of land connecting Germany to Switzerland. What happened to the fact that Europe was a big land mass, not an archipelagic continent? But I had no time to think about geography. I ran. Literally. I was catching my breath. Along the way, I saw old people swimming along the banks, people who looked a lot like this. Clearly enjoying themselves, they paid no attention to me.

snowy swim #4

I carried on until I was in the Switzerland airport. It was winter time, and I felt cold.

Like a lamb waiting to be slaughtered, I took off my shoes, went past the metal detector, and there he was: the Swiss immigration officer, a tall, bearded man, who asked for my passport.

I was about to hand it to him when I heard the muted honking of horns somewhere. It didn't make sense. And then it occurred to me: I was in Manila. I had a class to catch at 8 am.

It was only a bad dream, after all. Willing myself to continue the truncated impossible dream set in Deutschland was close to impossible. The feeling was similar to watching a TV series you really like, only to be told that the final episode will never be broadcast.

I didn't know what I'd do. Would I be locked in prison? What kind of excuses would I make?

I agree. Reality plays a wicked game with our dreams. But isn't it also true that our dreams affect our reality in more ways than we can imagine? 

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