Friday, November 07, 2008

At the Optician's: A Dream

I often have vivid recollections of my dreams. Still, many details get lost, and as I retell them to myself upon awakening they are formed into a much more coherent narrative than the dream itself. This is likely due to a mix of inherent memory and linguistic limitations as well as my own inclinations as a storyteller. With that said, here's last night's dream, or at least a version thereof, streamlined here and padded there as the writer overtakes the dreamer:

The left arm of my eyeglass frames had come off due to a loose screw. So I walked into an optician's shop to have it fixed. The guy behind the counter, a young guy in his twenties, fixed it. Then he started writing something. It turned out to be a bill, on an official invoice form, for $3.95. I was surprised, because this is usually a free courtesy service, even if it's not your own optician. Nonetheless, I opened my wallet and pulled out a $5 bill. I was about to hand it to the guy but I changed my mind, thinking: no way, this is a ripoff. "I'm not going to pay this," I said. So the guy snatched the glasses out of my hand. He took the screw out and handed my wounded frames back to me.

"This is an outrage," I screamed.

A man and a woman, somewhat older than the guy behind the counter, came out of an office to see what was going on. I explained what had happened. "Come with us," the man said, "and we'll try to get this thing straightened out."

I followed them back into the office. I sat down and the man opened a compartmentalized box that looked like a large box of chocolates. Most of the compartments had very expensive looking pens in them. The man pointed at each one and started giving very complex and confusing explanations of what they were, none of which seemed to have anything to do with pens. I was becoming anxious and upset. "You're not giving me any context," I complained.

"Just bear with me," the man said. "Everything will become clear."

Then he got to another compartment in the box and I noticed that it contained a miniature white pistol. "Now you can become a junior secret policeman," he said, and handed me the box. "I trust none of this will go beyond these doors." So, it's a bribe, I thought.

"Don't worry," I said, "I'm not vindictive." After a pause I said, "Actually, I am, but that's another story."

I brought my glasses back to the counter. The original guy was gone, and another guy replaced the screw. "Thank you," I said, and left the shop.